FORT WORTH -- Jobs and a healthy economy are the name of the game for the men who want to be president.
Those are among the issues that Mitt Romney is expected to hammer President Barack Obama on -- taking him to task for his "hostility to job creators" -- during a Fort Worth campaign event this afternoon.
"All of the polling shows that the economy and job creation are the top issues for voters," said Cal Jillson, a political science professor at Southern Methodist University. "They want to know how Romney would propose to get the economy moving forward and spur job creation. He'll argue that Republican prescriptions are far better than what's coming out of the Obama administration."
Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, will speak at 2:10 p.m. at Southwest Office Systems, 13960 Trinity Blvd. The Hispanic-led company has been in business since 1964.
Obama and Romney have been criticizing each other on jobs, especially because the nation's unemployment rate grew to 8.2 percent in May, up from 8.1 percent in April.
Romney's campaign has said that Obama policies are "hostile to job creators" and that measures such as the 2010 healthcare law are expensive and serve as a "job-killing mandate."
"This is a hostile environment for job creation in our economy," Romney senior campaign adviser Ed Gillespie said on Fox News over the weekend. "And that's why, frankly, it adds a sense of urgency in terms of this year's election to be able to turn things around because the only thing that's going to change it are changing the policies, and that means changing the person in the White House."
Democrats and White House officials defend the policies and progress made under Obama, saying that "without the policies the president put in place, we wouldn't have even this level of job creation today," according to former Obama economic adviser Steve Rattner.
Obama's campaign recently released a TV ad in some battleground states saying Romney has "one of the worst economic records in the country." The ad talks about the number of manufacturing jobs Massachusetts lost under Romney's leadership and how the state fell dramatically in job creation.
Jillson said Romney will have to tread lightly in talking about his own economic proposals, so that he's not compared to the most recent Republican president -- George W. Bush, who was in charge when the economy began to fail.
"One of the main themes of the Romney campaign is that the economy could be much more robust under a different set of economic policies coming out of Washington," Jillson said. "He can't make the argument that everything would be better if we went back to Republican policies -- such as low taxes -- because voters still have negative memories ... of where we saw the economic collapse.
"Romney is saying the Obama stimulus, healthcare bill, banking regulations and financial reform are all stifling job creation, so we need to get rid of them and get back to the Republican policies of small government, low taxes, deregulation and personal responsibility."
Not at convention
Texans have contributed more than $5.8 million to Romney's campaign, and while he's in the state, he is expected to attend fundraisers, including one in San Antonio on Wednesday.
Romney, who secured the GOP nomination in Texas' primary last week, did not respond to invitations to attend the Republican Party of Texas' state convention, Thursday through Saturday at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
"That's a problem," Jillson said. "It really does suggest with uncomfortable clarity that he's (in Texas) for fundraising and a quick policy statement but doesn't want to mix with" conventiongoers.
State GOP spokesman Chris Elam said he hasn't heard details about Romney's visit and doesn't know whether any representative from the party will attend today's public event.
But he said he doesn't believe that Romney's plans for the convention have changed.
"I don't believe he's going to address the delegates," Elam said.
Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610