Romney: Obama's performance 'inexcusable'
BETTENDORF, Iowa, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Mitt Romney took his Republican presidential campaign back to Iowa Wednesday where he ripped President Barack Obama, calling him an incapable leader.
"President Obama, bless his heart, has tried to substitute government for free people and it has not worked and it will never work," The Washington Post quoted the former Massachusetts governor as saying. "He said he'd cut the deficit in half; he doubled it. He said he'd get people good jobs; instead, we've gone 42 straight months with unemployment over 8 percent. Twenty-three million Americans out of work or stopped looking for work. It's inexcusable."
The U.S. economy was in an economic free fall when Obama, a Democrat, took over from his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, in January 2009. The economy has added 4.5 million jobs in the past 29 months, including 1.1 million this year, Obama said this month.
Romney said the federal government needs to learn from the private sector.
"It's the nature of the private sector, where if you stand still people will end up rushing by you," he said. "It's also true in the public sector, they just don't know it. If a nation doesn't change the way it does things and improve and find ways to have government become more and more efficient and hold down the spending and balance the budgets, why other nations will run right by them."
Romney called on each of his supporters to go out and "find one person who voted for Barack Obama last time and convince them that we should take a different course."
"Remind them how disappointing it's been over these past three and a half, four years. Find 'em, talk to them, get 'em to the polls," he said.
Ryan: We're in 'Obama imaginary recovery'
WEST CHESTER, Pa., Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy is in the midst of "the Obama imaginary recovery," presumptive Republican vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan said out on the stump Wednesday.
Rallying supporters at SMT Inc., a sheet metal company in Raleigh, N.C., the Wisconsin congressman derided the efforts of President Barack Obama and vice president Joe Biden to resuscitate the crashing economy he inherited from his Republican predecessor, The Washington Post reported.
"Joe Biden said the other day that the middle class is in the midst of a recovery," Ryan said. "President Obama said that the private sector's doing just fine. This is the Obama imaginary recovery."
Ryan showed disdain for the Democratic president's fiscal acumen, saying "Obama and the words fiscal responsibility do not belong in the same sentence with one another."
ABC News reported Ryan, in an interview taped with KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh, stood by his anti-abortion position, which differs from that of presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has said he would allow abortions for cases of rape or incest in addition to when the woman's life is endangered.
"I'm proud of my pro-life record," Ryan said when asked about legislation to restrict abortions that he co-sponsored with embattled Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo. "And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It's something I'm proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration."
Ryan denied Obama campaign assertions the Republican ticket would seek to restrict access to birth control.
"Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody," he said.
The Hill reported Ryan said he is "comfortable with" Romney's position "because it's a good step in the right direction."
Ryan aides earlier found themselves explaining their boss' vote in favor of $492 billion in looming U.S. defense cuts Ryan -- chairman of the House Budget Committee -- now scorns Obama for.
A spokesman said Ryan supported the debt deal as a "process" but did not support the defense cuts.
"Chairman Ryan voted for a process for bipartisan deficit reduction," Ryan spokesman Michael Steel said. "President Obama insisted on these crippling defense cuts and then went AWOL, campaigning full time. He now bears responsibility."
Ryan was referring to predicted spending cuts set to go into effect automatically in January. They are part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which ended the U.S. debt-ceiling crisis that threatened to push the United States into sovereign default last summer.
As part of the deal, a congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, often called the "supercommittee," was required to identify about $1.2 trillion in cuts to reduce the federal deficit. If it failed, then Congress could increase the debt ceiling another $1.2 trillion -- but that would trigger across-the-board cuts, called "sequestrations."
Roughly half the automatic cuts set to take effect Jan. 2 are to come from the defense spending, while the other half would come from non-defense spending.
CBO: Recession in 2013 with no budget deal
WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy will shrink in 2013 if federal government leaders do not reach a deal on taxes and spending, Congress' fiscal watchdog warned Wednesday.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said simply allowing the tax cuts adopted under President George W. Bush to expire and automatic spending cuts to take place would lead to a recession, with the economy shrinking by half a percentage point, The Hill reported. The CBO predicted a rise in the unemployment rate from 8.2 percent to 9.1 percent during 2013.
"The sooner that that uncertainty is resolved, the stronger the economy would be in the second half of this year," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said. "Economic growth right now is being held back by the anticipation of this fiscal tightening."
Republicans in the House have passed legislation that would extend the tax cuts and cut spending. Democrats are pushing for a plan that would extend tax cuts on all income up to $250,000 and cut spending, but not as much as the GOP proposal would.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, accused Democrats of "threatening to drive us off the fiscal cliff and tank our economy in their quest for higher taxes."
"I would urge President Obama and congressional Democrats to work with us to stop the coming tax hike that threatens our economy and replace the looming defense cuts with common sense reforms," he said.
Obama has repeatedly urged Republicans to allow top marginal tax rates to return to pre-tax-cut levels.
"But instead of doing the right thing, Republicans in Washington have chosen to double down on the same failed policies that led to the economic crisis in the first place," he said in a statement released by the White House. "They're willing to hold the middle class hostage unless we also give massive new tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires -- tax cuts we can't afford that would do nothing to strengthen the economy."
Tropical storm threatens GOP convention
MIAMI, Aug. 22 (UPI) -- Tropical Storm Isaac is forecast to become a hurricane and may affect the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., meteorologists said Wednesday.
Watches and warnings were issued Wednesday for Caribbean nations in the projected path of the storm, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
Meteorologists expect Isaac to curve northward, toward Florida and the southeastern United States next week, coinciding with the Republican National Convention, said Alex Sosnowski, senior meteorologist with Accuweather.com.
Isaac, which entered the Eastern Caribbean Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of about 45 mph, was becoming more organized and could intensify into a hurricane by Thursday. A hurricane watch was in effect for Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Haiti, the Weather Service said in its 8 p.m. EDT advisory.
A tropical storm watch was posted for the north coast of the Dominican Republic from the Haiti-Dominican Republic border eastward to north of Isla Saona.
The storm was 65 miles southwest of Guadeloupe and 510 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, approaching the Leeward Islands as it traveled west at 21 mph.
Isaac was expected to maintain its westerly course for the next couple of days, forecast to pass away from the Leeward Islands Wednesday evening and pass near or south of the Virgin Island and Puerto Rico Thursday, before approaching the Dominican Republic Thursday and Friday.
Isaac could become a hurricane Thursday night or Friday.
Tropical storm-force winds extended outward from Isaac's center up to 45 mph.
Isaac could generate 4- to 8 inches of rain over the northern Windward Islands and Leeward Island, the center said. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands could get 1-3 inches of rain with up to 6 inches possible.