Rather, Obama argued, it was Republicans who ran up the tab through two wars and a series of tax cuts and stuck his administration with the bill.
“We’re sitting there at the restaurant wondering what do with all the steaks and martinis,” Obama told a crowd of more than 2,000 at an exhibition hall decked out with two huge American flags and the campaign slogan “Forward” on a giant poster.
Romney’s speech was a “cow pie of distortions,” Obama said. What Romney did not mention, he added, was that the presumptive GOP presidential nominee wants to enact a tax cut for wealthy Americans that would only add to the debt.
“That is like trying to put out a prairie fire with some gasoline,” Obama said. “I refuse to let that happen to our country.”
The impassioned address, which drew enthusiastic shouts and chants, came at the end of a two-day road trip during which Obama continued his assault on Romney’s record as the former head of Bain Capital, a private-
equity firm. During several fundraisers in Colorado and California, Obama argued that while Romney is a patriotic American who should be proud of his private-sector success, he has learned the wrong lessons about the economy to become president.
The strategy made clear that the Obama campaign intends to continue to make Romney’s time at Bain a central campaign issue, despite misgivings among Republicans and some Democrats who have criticized the president for attacking private equity as an American institution.
Even Obama’s decision to appear at the fairgrounds was calculated to inflict maximum damage on Romney, who suffered one of his most ignominious moments here last summer when he said that “corporations are people” during a contentious exchange with Iowans at a state fair.
That comment has haunted the former Massachusetts governor as he attempts to sell his own economic message to independent voters. On Thursday, the Obama campaign distributed a new video clip featuring Romney’s Iowa appearance last summer, and the president pointedly repeated Romney’s line during his own speech, drawing boos from the crowd.
For his part, Romney has touted his business success as helping to prepare him to improve the U.S. economy, and he attacked the president for failing to speed up economic growth. The national debt stands at $15.7 trillion. During a visit to Des Moines two weeks ago, Romney described Obama as a reckless spender whose policies have contributed to “a prairie fire of debt sweeping across Iowa and our nation.”