Rod Boshart, CR Gazette –
DES MOINES — Republican Mitt Romney slammed President Barack Obama’s economic record Wednesday, saying the president has failed Americans with policies that have stagnated jobs and incomes.
“This is a difficult time for a lot of Americans. The American people are tired of being tired. This economy has been tough for a long time,” Romney told nearly 500 supporters, who withstood sticky conditions in a downtown school auditorium that lacked air conditioning.
Romney pledged to set an economic course that would foster more jobs and more take-home pay for middle-class workers by removing government impediments to business growth.
He touted a five-point plan that he said would create 12 million new jobs in his first term. He said his approach to build a stronger middle class would hinge on bolstering America’s energy independence, giving adults and children the skills to succeed, cutting the federal deficit, championing small businesses and creating a trade policy that works for America.
However, Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Sue Dvorsky told a news conference that Iowa families — who already have seen their tax bills go down $3,600 on average under Obama — would be worse off if Romney succeeds.
“It’s top-down economics,” she said. “We’ve seen it before. It created the mess we’re in. It didn’t work then. It won’t work now.”
Democrats said they look forward to the president setting the record straight and touting his economic successes when he returns to Iowa for a three-day campaign visit next week.
But during his half-hour appearance Wednesday, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, said Obama has failed to deliver on his campaign promises.
Romney also touched on his latest criticism that the Obama administration had weakened work requirements for welfare reform. He contended Obama opposed the work requirement when he was a U.S. senator and used “very careful executive action” last month that would “make America more of a nation of dependency.”
Former President Bill Clinton issued a statement Wednesday saying the GOP candidate’s contention is “not true.”
“The recently announced waiver policy was originally requested by the Republican governors of Utah and Nevada to achieve more flexibility in designing programs more likely to work in this challenging environment,” Clinton said in a statement. “The administration has taken important steps to ensure that the work requirement is retained and that waivers will be granted only if a state can demonstrate that more people will be moved into work under its new approach. The welfare time limits, another important feature of the 1996 act, will not be waived.”
Clinton said Romney’s attack is “especially disappointing” because the former Massachusetts governor had requested changes in the 1996 welfare reform laws “that could have eliminated time limits altogether. We need a bipartisan consensus to continue to help people move from welfare to work even during these hard times, not more misleading campaign ads.”
During his speech, Romney claimed the Massachusetts Legislature wanted to take out the work requirement but he vetoed that effort and worked to expand it. Romney campaign aides refuted claims the effort came at the request of GOP governors or that Romney sought to weaken the reforms as governor of Massachusetts.