Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a crowd who had gathered at the Hotel Des Moines in Iowa that President Barack Obama had increased the national debt by $5 trillion since entering the White House in January 2009. The former Massachusetts governor especially criticized the $787 billion stimulus Mr. Obama signed into law a month later.
“President Obama started out with a near trillion-dollar stimulus package. [It] was the biggest, most careless one-time expenditure by the federal government in history. And remember this: the stimulus wasn’t just wasted. It was borrowed and wasted. We still owe the money. We’re still paying interest on it. And it will be that way long after this president’s out of office,” Mr. Romney said.
The former governor also warned that the country could not afford to re-elect Mr. Obama for a second term.
“We can’t spend another four years talking about solving a problem that we know we’re making worse every day. [...] A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and across the nation, and every day that we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and the children we love,” Mr. Romney added.
Following the former governor’s speech, The Associated Press wrote that the increased federal debt load was largely due to lower tax revenues, the bailouts, the stimulus, as well as the George W. Bush-administration’s tax cuts, which Mr. Romney not only wishes to maintain but will also try to expand.
An Obama campaign spokeswoman, Lis Smith, described Mr. Romney‘s speech as “heavy on dishonest claims about President Obama‘s record.” She also pointed out that the former governor had yet to explain how he would finance the various tax cuts he would like to introduce as president.
“Loading the country up with debt while giving tax breaks to the wealthy. America can’t afford Romney Economics,” Ms. Smith said in a statement. In addition, she attacked Mr. Romney’s record as governor, stating that he “raised state spending 6.5 percent each year and left Massachusetts with the largest per-capita debt of any state in the nation.”
On Monday, the Obama campaign launched a two-minute TV ad, a six-minute Internet ad, and a website all attacking former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s role at Bain Capital, a private-equity firm, which he was personally involved in until 1999.
The former governor has repeatedly dismissed such attacks by the president’s campaign as attempts to divert the electorate’s attention from Mr. Obama’s economic record.