Mitt Romney, campaigning in St. Petersburg Wednesday, sharply criticized President Obama for doing "almost nothing" to help the U.S. economy.
Romney attacked Obama’s record on job creation, the debt, health care and spending during a half-hour speech at the .
Romney focused on what he says is the key issue of this election: the economy.
Romney, the presumed GOP presidential candidate, also was in Florida to attend a private Tampa fundraiser that is charging supporters $2,500 to attend.
Under cloudy skies, Romney addressed a crowd of supporters in St. Petersburg Wednesday morning:
“I find it incomprehensible that a president can come into office and call his predecessor’s record irresponsible and unpatriotic and then do almost nothing to fix it,” Romney said. “If I’m president I’m actually going to take responsibility and lead.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster had introduced the former Governor of Massachusetts and announced his support for Romney's presidential bid.
He said that Romney knows the large economic picture and the effect of job loss on individuals.
“Gov. Romney understands that when people lose confidence in the economy, people stop spending money,” Foster said. “They either can’t or they won’t. When people stop spending money, people lose jobs. When people lose jobs, cities stop growing. When cities stop growing, cities die. This man gets it.”
The Obama campaign was quick to counter Romney's remarks.
Lis Smith, Obama campaign spokesperson, said Romney does not understand the effects of his economic policies.
Romney "has repeatedly cited his business experience as his chief qualification to be President, claiming he would use it to boost the economy, create jobs, and reduce the deficit. But Romney's business strategy wasn’t about strengthening companies and creating jobs for long-term economic growth. It was about reaping quick profits for himself and his investors at the expense of workers and communities.
"Loading the country up with debt while giving tax breaks to the wealthy—America can’t afford Romney Economics," Smith concluded.
While Obama recently has focused on social issues, speaking in favor of and criticizing the GOP for engaging in a “," Romney did not touch on these issues Wednesday.
He talked about Obama’s record on the U.S. economy. A giant billboard showing the increasing debt served as the backdrop to Romney’s stage Wednesday.
“He said he measures progress by whether people are getting good jobs. Well under this president they haven’t,” Romney said. "By his own measure he has failed.”
“He was very critical of his predecessor for the debts the predecessor put in place. And it serves true that you can’t blame one party or the other for all the debts this country has because both parties in my opinion have spent too much and borrowed too much when they were in power.
"He was critical of his predecessor because the predecessor put together $4 trillion in debt over eight years … and he said he would cut the debt in half if he became president. Instead he doubled it.”
Romney never mentioned former Republican President George W. Bush by name.
Romney received the biggest applause when he said the country needs to end Obamacare.
“This presidency has been a disappointment and the people who’ve been hurt by this disappointment are the American people,” Romney said. “And that’s why we are going to get him out of office.”
Attendees of Romney's event Wednesday morning were met by . One of those protesters was St. Pete resident Bill Hurley. He said "Mr. one percenter" Romney does not understand the needs of the general public.
He said Wednesday's protest was to show Romney supporters what is going on in America.
"Show these people that we are out here struggling," Hurley said. "There’s been times when I couldn’t even afford medicine. Either pay for electric bill or pay for the medicine that I had to have. That shouldn’t be a choice for any American."