Romney Targets Obama after Three Big Wins
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The Fiscal Times
April 4, 2012

A triumphant and increasingly confident Mitt Romney stepped up his assault on President Obama Tuesday night, telling a cheering crowd of supporters in Wisconsin that the president’s policies have shortchanged the economic recovery, driven up gasoline prices and undermined America’s image abroad.

As he celebrated three important primary victories in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia, Romney eagerly engaged in a tit-for-tat exchange with the president as a prelude to the fall campaign. 

With growing signs that the former Massachusetts governor has all but sewn up the Republican presidential nomination, Romney ignored his GOP rivals and aimed his toughest salvos at the president.

“Under this President's watch, more Americans have lost their jobs than during any other period since the Depression,” Romney said in Milwaukee. “Millions have lost their homes, and a record number of Americans are living in poverty. And the most vulnerable have been hurt the most -- over 30 percent of single moms are struggling in poverty. New business startups are at the lowest level in 30 years, and our national debt is at a record high. And when you drive home tonight and stop at a gas station, just take a look at the prices and ask yourself, ‘Four more years?’”

Responding in kind to Obama’s claim that Romney and the Republicans are out of touch with middle-class Americans, Romney said of Obama, “It's enough to make you think that years of flying around on Air Force One, surrounded by an adoring staff of true believers telling you what a great job you are doing, well, that might be enough to make you a little out of touch.” 

Earlier in the day, Obama delivered a stinging rebuke to a new House Republican budget plan that was endorsed by Romney that calls for deep cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other social safety-net programs while providing deep tax cuts for the wealthy. The president charged that his Republican rivals were attempting to impose a “radical vision” on the nation by creating a form of “social Darwinism” that pits the nation’s poorest families against the rich.

For the first time since launching his reelection effort a year ago, Obama mentioned Romney by name, mocking him for  describing as “marvelous” the House-passed budget drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Ryan has campaigned with Romney in Wisconsin in recent days and has been mentioned as a possible runningmate.

“This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class,” the president said. “I can’t remember a time when the choice between competing visions of our future has been so unambiguously clear.’

In his speech last night,  Romney sought to draw a sharp distinction between what he called Obama’s “government-centered society” in which government is called upon to raise and spend more and more revenue for its citizens and Romney’s opportunistic society in which government cuts taxes, eliminates out-of-date regulations and encourages its citizens to succeed on their own.

“In Barack Obama’s government-centered society, government spending always increases because, well, why not? There is always someone who is entitled to something more, and is willing to vote for anyone who will give them something more. . . .And it leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt and stagnant wages. Begins to sound familiar, isn’t it?”

Washington Editor and D.C. Bureau Chief Eric Pianin is a veteran journalist who has covered the federal government, congressional budget and tax issues, and national politics. He spent over 25 years at The Washington Post.