WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of having "the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of policies in modern American history" before a group of about 100 business executives on Wednesday.
Addressing members of the Business Roundtable in a 30-minute speech, Romney said 2012 will mark a "watershed election" that will "determine the relationship between citizen and enterprise and government."
Romney has, throughout his campaign, presented himself as a friend of corporations and repeatedly gone after the president for targeting the nation’s wealthiest individuals. His speech before the Roundtable, a group of chief executive officers from leading U.S. companies, was no exception.
"Too often, you find yourself facing a government that looks at you as the bad guy," Romney said. "Government has to be the partner, the friend, the ally, the supporter of enterprise. Not the enemy."
The presumptive Republican nominee continued his trend of outlining what a Romney presidency would look like, telling the group that he would reverse "all Obama-era regulations," which he said are at the core of the country’s slow economic recovery.
"The reason it has taken so long for this recovery to gain traction and to put people back to work is in large measure because of the policy choices the president made," Romney said.
He repeated his oft-used line that, if elected president, he would repeal Obama’s health care law and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, as well as allow for less regulation and lower taxes. Additionally, he said he would authorize the building of the Keystone oil pipeline and restructure the National Labor Relations Board.
The former Massachusetts governor also called for an end to government practices that favor certain businesses, taking a thinly-veiled shot at Solyndra, the California-based solar technology company that went bankrupt despite more than a half-billion loan guarantee from the Obama administration. "I don’t believe in the government picking winners, or in the case of our government, picking losers," he said.
The president is scheduled to make a major speech on the economy in Ohio on Thursday. Romney predicted that Obama would rethink his approach following the "incredulity that came screaming from the American people" after the president's recent remark that the private sector is "doing fine"-- a line that the Romney campaign and GOP leadership immediately criticized.
Romney added that Obama's speech would be "soaring and eloquent," but urged members of the Roundtable to look at the president’s record, rather than his words. "The record is that we have 23 million Americans that are out of work, or stopped looking for work, or are underemployed," he said. "That is a compelling and sad statistic."
In recent months, Romney has faced dogged attacks from the Obama campaign over his own record at private equity firm Bain Capital and has been branded by his opponents as "out of touch." But the Republican candidate will likely be favored among corporate executives, many of whom have taken issue with the president’s proposed Buffett Rule, which would place a minimum 30 percent tax rate on the country’s millionaires.
After concluding his remarks, Romney took questions from the group in a private session for about another 30 minutes.
Business Roundtable members represent U.S. companies with more than $6 trillion in annual revenues and more than 14 million employees, according to the group’s website. Obama addressed the group at its last quarterly meeting in March.
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