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On day of Iowa caucuses, Mitt Romney keeps focus on Obama

January 03, 2012|By Seema Mehta
  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney laughs as wife Ann introduces him during a campaign stop in Clive, Iowa.
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt… (Chris Carlson / Associated…)

Reporting from Des Moines — Mitt Romney kicked off caucus day without the usual obligatory appeal urging Iowans to support him when Iowa holds the first presidential contest in the nation.

Instead, he continued to act as the presumptive nominee and sharply criticized President Obama on Tuesday, saying he has failed to deliver much of what he campaigned on, from righting the nation’s economy to dealing with Iran’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapon.

“There’s a huge gap between the promise and the delivery, the promise and the performance,” Romney said, speaking to a few dozen voters and a crush of media at the Temple of Performing Arts. “This has been a failed presidency. I will go to work to get Americans back to work and make sure that job one is concentrating on jobs for Americans, not just keeping one’s own job.”

He noted that the president, shortly after the inauguration, said that if he failed to turn the economy around, he was looking at a “one-term proposition.”

“I’m here to collect,” Romney said. “He’s out.”

Romney said the nation is at a crossroads, and if it failed to right its finances by balancing the budget and reducing the national debt, the United States could find itself in the position of Greece, with one caveat: “There is no one big enough to bail us out.”

That means that government must make cuts, even to programs that citizens like but can no longer afford, such as subsidizing PBS, Romney said.

“They’re going to have to stand on their own,” he said. “Maybe Big Bird is going to have to have advertising.”

seema.mehta@latimes.com

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