APPLETON, Wis. – Seizing the mantle of the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney on Friday sought to frame the general election contest as a battle to restore America’s promise and said the sputtering economy is the legacy of “Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society.”
(Steven Senne – AP)
In a formal speech here, the former Massachusetts governor delivered a passionate defense of America’s free enterprise system, which he said had been under attack by an administration that considered businesses as “the villain and not the solution.”
“In Barack Obama’s Government-Centered Society, the government must do more because the economy is doomed to do less,” Romney said. “When you attack business and vilify success, you will have less business and less success.”
Romney, stopping short of labeling Obama’s policies socialism, said: “President Obama is transforming America into something very different than the land of the free and the land of opportunity. And we know where that transformation leads. There are other nations that have chosen that path and it leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt and stagnant wages. Sound familiar?”
Romney’s 24-minute address here at Lawrence University amounted to a new version of his stump speech, which he and his aides reworked from the ground up. Romney sought to place his economic prescriptions of looser regulations and lower taxes under the broader banner of American freedom and renewal.
“I’m not naïve enough to believe that free enterprise is the solution to all of our problems,” he said, “but nor am I naïve enough to doubt that it is one of the greatest forces of good this world has ever known.”
Romney was introduced here by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the latest in a string of prominent Republican leaders to endorse him in recent days.