Joe Hanel/Durango Herald
Joe Hanel/Durango Herald
GRAND JUNCTION – In his most extensive remarks in Colorado of the presidential campaign, Republican Mitt Romney dug into President Barack Obama on Tuesday, repeatedly calling him a liberal who doesn’t understand how the economy works.
Romney spoke for nearly 45 minutes and took more than a dozen questions from about 800 people at Grand Junction’s Central High School gymnasium.
“We are falling further behind under this presidency,” Romney said.
Romney used the town hall to hit back at Obama’s tax plan, which the president announced Monday. Obama wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for most Americans, but end them for people earning more than $250,000 a year.
Romney said that isn’t a tax cut for anyone, but it’s a tax increase on “job creators and small businesses.”
“I just don’t think this president understands how our economy works. Liberals have an entirely different view about what makes America the economic powerhouse it is,” Romney said.
The topic of outsourcing of jobs – a persistent Obama campaign attack on Romney – came up several times, and both candidates attempted to apply the “outsourcer-in-chief” label to each other Tuesday.
Romney said Obama should own the label because a number of the renewable energy companies he supports buy their equipment from foreign countries. That brought a rebuke from Obama for America spokeswoman Lis Smith, who said Romney’s previous business, Bain Capital, was a pioneer in the idea of outsourcing.
“There’s a stark difference between where he and President Obama want to take this country. Mitt Romney’s plans encourage outsourcing. Barack Obama wants to end incentives to send jobs overseas,” Smith said in a news release.
Romney spent half an hour taking questions from the crowd. He treaded lightly when the questions addressed social issues.
When a young man asked what appeared to be a question about gay rights and women’s rights, Romney encouraged everyone to respect each other.
“I, for instance, believe that when it comes to a very tender issue, which is the issue of abortion, well-meaning Americans come to different conclusions on that topic. Some like myself attach importance to the unborn child,” Romney said, drawing loud applause from the crowd. “I think we should show respect to people who come to other conclusions.”
Romney also said the American people should decide whether abortion should be allowed, and it should not be left to the Supreme Court.
He got the loudest applause when he vowed to cut regulations on coal and natural gas and to repeal Obama’s health-care law, which the Supreme Court upheld last month.
Romney was in Aspen on Monday for private fundraisers and went to Colorado Springs later Tuesday for an unannounced event that was not open to the press.
It was Romney’s third public appearance in Colorado since the February Republican caucus, which he lost to Rick Santorum. The other two were in small towns, Fort Lupton and Craig.
Evan Vucci/Associated Press