WASHINGTON — Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney Tuesday accused President Barack Obama of doing nothing to douse a “prairie fire of debt” as he previewed a new economic message in a key swing state.
Romney, seeking to make November’s election a referendum on the stuttering economic recovery presided over by Obama, warned Americans would not stand for four more years of “melancholy” economic news.
The former Massachusetts governor accompanied his speech in the battleground state of Iowa with a new advertisement that painted a grim picture of the Obama economy in which unemployed Americans bemoaned their plight.
“A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation and every day we fail to act that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love,” Romney said in prepared remarks issued by his campaign.
“This is not solely a Democrat or a Republican problem. The issue isn’t who deserves the most blame, it’s who is going to do what it takes to put out the fire,” Romney said.
“The people of Iowa and America have watched President Obama for nearly four years, much of that time with Congress controlled by his own party.
“And rather than put out the spending fire, he has fed the fire. He has spent more and borrowed more,” Romney said.
“The time has come for a president, a leader, who will lead. I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno.
“We will stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money we can’t even imagine, from foreign countries we’ll never even visit.”
Romney accuses Obama of inflating the US national debt, which stood at $11.9 trillion in fiscal 2009, the year he took office and is projected to reach $16.4 trillion in fiscal 2012.
Obama also foresees a fourth straight year of budget deficits over $1 trillion.
Democrats, however, say that the explosion in US debt is due largely to deficit-financed wars in Afghanistan launched under the previous administration of Republican president George W. Bush.
They also blame unfunded Bush-era tax cuts for running up the national debt, along with an $800 billion economic stimulus plan framed by Obama in 2009 as the economy slumped into the deepest crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith accused Romney of being dishonest about the president’s economic record and of refusing to detail exactly how he would reduce the national debt and the deficit.
“While President Obama has put forward a plan to reduce the national debt by more than $4 trillion over the next decade, Mitt Romney refuses to say what spending cuts or tax increases he’d make to cover the cost of giving $5 trillion in tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans,” she said.
“Mitt Romney simply wants to return to the same policies that caused the crisis and weakened the middle class… America can’t afford Romney Economics.”