Bloomberg News

Romney Paints Obama as Economic Recovery Obstacle in Letter

November 23, 2011

(Updates with CBO report on stimulus in last paragraph.)

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney previewed a campaign message today based on portraying President Barack Obama as a failure, releasing an open letter to the man he’s running to replace that says his “policies have actively hindered economic recovery.”

Romney, whose campaign is using Obama’s visit to New Hampshire today as an opportunity to outline the anti-Obama themes Romney would press if he won the Republican nomination, also released his first TV ad of the campaign season there focusing on unfulfilled promises the president made on the stump.

“I will be blunt,” Romney wrote in the letter, which his campaign said would run as a full-page advertisement in New Hampshire newspapers. “Your policies have failed.”

He said Obama’s stimulus measure didn’t keep unemployment from rising and added to the debt, and that his health-care and financial industry overhauls have soured the nation’s business climate. The nation’s unemployment rate was 9 percent in October.

“Far from bringing the crisis to an end, your policies have actively hindered economic recovery. In some cases, they were the exact opposite of what our government should have been doing,” Romney wrote.

Romney has ranked at or near the top of national public opinion polls on the Republican presidential candidates during his second bid for the White House, yet he has failed so far to win enough backing from his party’s socially conservative base to hold off his rivals.

Former Speaker

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the latest Republican candidate to attract voters’ interest, after Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former fast-food executive Herman Cain had all taken their turns competing with Romney for front-runner status.

Gingrich was the preferred candidate of 26 percent of Republican voters in a Quinnipiac University poll released today, leading Romney who drew support from 22 percent.

Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package produced as many as 3.3 million jobs, according to a Congressional Budget Office report today. The nonpartisan agency, which is required to periodically update its estimate, said the legislation boosted the number of jobs by 500,000 to 3.3 million and cut the unemployment rate by between 0.2 and 1.3 percentage points. The stimulus package’s effect on the economy peaked in the first half of 2010, according to CBO, and by the end of September 2011, 90 percent of its impact had occurred.

--With assistance from Brian Faler in Washington. Editors: Laurie Asseo, Justin Blum

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Hirschfeld Davis in Washington at jdavis159@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net


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