In his first Sunday morning show appearance in almost two years, Republican Party presidential contender Mitt Romney sharply criticized President Barack Obama for his failure to revitalize the American economy. “Almost anything he’s done made it more difficult for this economy to reboot,” he said.
Romney, who is considered a moderate and likeliest to beat Barack Obama in a general election, has seen another right-wing candidates surge ahead of him in primary election polls. The latest challenger to his frontrunner status is former House speaker Newt Gingrich whom Romney criticized for changing positions on climate change legislation and chastising a Republican plan for health-care privatization as “social engineering.”
Although Gingrich polls well in the early primary states of Iowa and South Carolina, his campaign lacks the organizational capacity and financial resources to prepare for election battles beyond the month of January.
Romney, by contrast, has the most extended campaign of any of the candidates. He told Fox News Sunday that he was prepared to wage a protracted primary race. “If we go on for months and months, we will have the resources to carry a campaign, to each of the states that will decide who gets delegates and who becomes the nominee.”
The former governor faces criticism from party activist and several of his competitors who openly question his conservative credentials.
Both centrist and Republican voters generally regard him as competent but Romney’s economic reform plan is hardly inspiring. Whereas Texas governor Rick Perry has proposed to levy a 20 percent flat tax, Romney would keep the top income rate at 35 percent. “I’m not looking to dramatically reduce taxes for the wealthiest in our society,” he told Fox News Sunday. “My intent in running for president is to help middle income Americans and a plan that dramatically cuts taxes for the very, very wealthiest is in my opinion not the right course.”
On spending, Romney has also been cautious. Libertarian congressman Ron Paul has proposed to cut $1 trillion from the federal budget. Like Governor Perry, he would eliminate entire departments of government. Romney’s plan cuts $500 billion by the end of a potential first term, in 2016, an approach that he said was “responsible.”
My highest priority is to make sure we get Americans back to work. And that we have rising incomes again and that we have a deficit reduction program in place that convinces the world that we’re on track to having a balanced budget.
Rather than dwelling on the efforts of the other contenders, Romney, as during the presidential debate in Iowa last week, reserved his staunchest criticism for President Obama who, he said, “does not understand how this economy works.”
I do know how the economy works and my policies are designed to get people what they desperately want. Not care for being poor, they want to stop being poor, have a good job and have a bright future.
“There’s going to be every effort to put free enterprise on trial” during the general election campaign in November, Romney predicted. He’s not apologized for his private-sector experience however, rather touted it in the televised debates with the other contenders however. “It helps to have created jobs,” he said in Sioux City, Iowa before the weekend. That’s going to be his pitch next fall. Whether his electability is what conservatives are looking for in a nominee remains to be seen though.