WASHINGTON, June 13 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney Wednesday told the nation's top corporate executives Barack Obama is one of the most "anti-business, anti-jobs" presidents in U.S. history.
The former Massachusetts governor and likely 2012 Republican presidential nominee told the chief executives of 100 of the biggest corporations in the country Obama has advocated "the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of policies in modern American history," The Washington Post reported.
Romney, speaking at a Business Roundtable event in Washington, said his proposals to repeal Obama's landmark healthcare legislation, remove roadblocks to oil and natural gas drilling, reduce regulation and lower taxes are the only way to get the economy going again.
He dinged Obama for saying last week the private sector is "doing fine," saying the remark is an indication the president is out of touch with everyday Americans, a charge that traditionally has stuck to Romney, who has said he is "not concerned about the very poor" and once described the $374,000 he received in speaking fees as "not very much."
"The incredulity that came screaming back from the American people, I think, has caused him to rethink that," Romney said in a "prebuttal" of a major campaign speech on the economy Obama is expected to deliver Thursday in Ohio.
"I think you're going to see him change course when he speaks tomorrow, where he will acknowledge that it isn't going so well, and he'll be asking for four more years," Romney said. "My own view is that he will speak eloquently but that words are cheap, and that the record of an individual is the basis upon which you determine whether they should continue to hold onto their job.
"I think this election is a watershed re-election, which will determine the relationship between citizen and enterprise and government," Romney said, asserting if Obama wins a second term he will "stifle" the economy with burdensome regulations and taxes.
"Government has to be the partner, the friend, the ally, the supporter of enterprise, not the enemy," Romney said. "Too often you find yourself facing a government that looks at you like you're the bad guys, and if you're hiring people and employing people and paying taxes, you're the good guys. I want you to do well. …
"I don't want to raise the individual marginal tax rate from 35 to 40 percent," Romney said. "I know there are some who think that that's a great way to go after rich people, and uh, first of all, shame on anybody who thinks we're going to divide the country based on success."
"In another in a long line of 'major' economic speeches, Mitt Romney made dishonest after dishonest claim about the president's record and failed to offer any new ideas of his own on how to improve the economy and strengthen the middle class," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement.