Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney assailed Barack Obama for economic mismanagement, in what presumably amounted to an early 2012 presidential campaign speech before the thousands of Tea Party and conservative faithful gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington on Friday.
“President Barack Obama has stood watch over the greatest job loss in modern American history,” Romney said. “And that, my friends, is one inconvenient truth that will haunt this president throughout history.”
He called Obama “weak,” and described his administration’s response to the economic downturn as “the most expensive failed social experiment in modern history,” rife with excess government spending, including $50 billion for a high-speed rail project.
“If I were to decide to run for president, it sure wouldn’t take me two years to wake up after the job crisis threatening America,” Romney said. “And I wouldn’t be asking Timothy Geithner how the economy works or Larry Summers how to start a business: I know.”
Romney, who lost the GOP presidential nomination to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in 2008, enters yet another likely crowded field of potential contenders vying to take on Obama in 2012, including Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who will also speak to the conservative group this afternoon.
Regardless of his competition, Romney faces an uphill battle to convince many conservatives that he is truly one of them. He championed and helped enact a universal coverage health care plan in Massachusetts similar to what became Obama’s signature health care law, and until recently supported abortion rights. Today, he skated over the subject, saying no more than, “liberal social policies have failed to protect the unborn.”
Instead, Romney highlighted his own business acumen –he spent years in leadership roles at Boston’s Bain Capital-- while mocking Obama’s.
“His idea of conservative economic policy is to invite some corporate CEOs to the White House for an evening of table talk,” he said. “I’m sorry, Mr. President, but that’s not a policy; it’s a dinner party.”
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