Obama strategist David Axelrod criticized Mitt Romney’s record while governor of Massachusetts during a rally today outside the Massachusetts State House.
Obama strategist David Axelrod criticized Mitt Romney’s record while governor of Massachusetts during a boisterous rally today outside the Massachusetts State House.
Glen Johnson/Globe Staff

With the State House once occupied by Mitt Romney as his backdrop, Obama strategist David Axelrod on Thursday denounced what he described as Romney’s failed record as Massachusetts governor.

“After selling himself to Massachusetts as an economic savior, the Massachusetts record was alarmingly weak,” Axelrod said. “As you’ve heard, under Governor Romney, the state was 47th in job creation—fourth from the bottom.”

But the campaign event played out more like a battle for political turf than a discussion of policy histories. Though he was in Romney’s home state, Axelrod opened his remarks by declaring “it is great to be in Massachusetts, Obama country!”

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Indeed, the president leads Romney in the Bay State and is expected to win it comfortably in November.

But on Thursday morning, Romney backers—many of them young—outnumbered Obama supporters at the State House. They hoisted signs that read “Obama isn’t working,” traded chants with the Obama faction, and yelled throughout speeches delivered by Axelrod and Massachusetts Democrats.

One Romney enthusiast wore a metallic-silver space suit costume and helmet and held a sign that said “Obama’s debt: astronomical.”

Axelrod, shouting to be heard, teased the demonstrators: “These may be the only voters right here for Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.”

He went on to challenge Romney’s economic credentials, saying the successful businessman is a poor public servant.

“Governor Romney’s singular claim to the presidency is that his career in the corporate buyout business imbued him with insights that will grow our economy, creat jobs, reduce the size of government and reduce debt,” Axelrod said. “And if that sounds familiar to you, it’s because the people of Massachusetts have heard it all before.”