HOBBS, N.M. -- Seeking to reset his economic message, Republican Mitt Romney pledged Thursday to create 3 million jobs and more than $1 trillion in revenue by ramping up offshore oil drilling and giving states more control over energy production on federal land.
Romney, reviving a long-elusive goal pushed by presidents and presidential candidates for decades, said his plans would make the U.S., along with Canada and Mexico, energy independent by 2020.
"This is not some pie in the sky kind of thing," Romney told voters in Hobbs, the heart of New Mexico's oil and gas industry. "This is a real achievable objective."
President Barack Obama's campaign also began a new push on the economy Thursday with a television advertisement featuring former President Bill Clinton. In the ad, Clinton speaks directly to the camera and says voters face a "clear choice" over which candidate will return the nation to full employment.
"We need to keep going with his plan," Clinton says of Obama in the ad, which will run in eight battleground states.
The former president also draws a connection between Obama's policies for strengthening the middle class and the nation's economic prosperity during his time in office, when the U.S. economy was thriving. Obama's campaign has been seeking to use Clinton as a reminder to voters that the economy was strong the last time a Democrat held the White House.
Romney has long pitched increased U.S. energy production as a central element of his plans to create more jobs. He outlined new details of his proposals Thursday, including opening up more areas for offshore oil drilling, including in the mid-Atlantic, where it is currently banned. Romney also wants to give states the power to establish all forms of energy production on federal lands, a significant shift in current policy that could face strong opposition in Congress.