Seeking to elevate his candidacy back to a general election fight against President Barack Obama, Mitt Romney accused the president of hampering the nation's "economic freedom" and slowing the nation's recovery by proposing tax increases and expanding government bureaucracy.
In a speech at the University of Chicago, where Obama once taught law, Romney insisted the nation's "status" and "standing" are at peril because of the Obama administration's policies.
"The Obama administration's assault on our economic freedom is the principal reason why the recovery has been so tepid—why it couldn't meet their projections, let alone our expectations," Romney said. "If we don't change course now, this assault on freedom could damage our economy and the well-being of American families for decades to come."
The speech, delivered just one day before Illinois' Republican presidential primary, made no direct mention of Rick Santorum, Romney's chief rival for the GOP nomination. But Romney used the moment to double down on his argument that he's the best-equipped candidate in the race to defeat Obama and lead the nation's economic recovery.
The former Massachusetts governor accused the Obama administration of standing in the way of Americans who are trying to build their businesses. He suggested that "pioneers" like Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs would have found it "much more difficult, if not impossible" to carry out their dreams under regulations enacted by the Obama administration and Congress.
'Some of America's greatest success stories are of people who started out with nothing but a good idea and a corner in their garage," said Romney. "Too often today, Americans look at what it takes to start a business and they don't see promise and opportunity. They see government standing in their way. The real cost isn't just the taxes paid and money spent complying with the rules. It's the businesses that are never started, the ideas that are never pursued, the dreams that are deferred."
In a question and answer session after his speech, Romney repeated a statement that he's made several times recently—insisting that he doesn't understand how young people could vote for a Democrat for president. Among other things, he attacked Obama and Congress for not proposing any concrete measures to make Social Security solvent for future generations.
"You may not like my ideas, but at least I put ideas out there," Romney said.
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