Mitt Romney. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
Mitt Romney stresses he can meet the challenges of high unemployment amid a slow recovery.
Mitt Romney stressed on Friday that he can revamp the economy on a scale to meet "the challenges of the times," as he seeks to convince voters he will be a better steward of their money than President Obama.
In remarks to voters in the swing state of Iowa, the GOP presidential nominee emphasized his credentials as a former Massachusetts governor, Olympics chief and businessman to highlight he is better equipped to handle the economy.
"This is not the time to double down on trickle-down government policies that have failed us," Romney said in Ames, Iowa. "It is time for new, bold changes that measure up to the moment, that can bring America's families certainty that the future will be better than the past."
Romney's remarks came as a new government report showed the economy had a slight uptick. The economy grew 2% from July to September, up from 1.3% in the second quarter. Romney called the report on the nation's gross domestic product "discouraging," while the Obama administration heralded the growth as "evidence that the economy is moving in the right direction."
The speech, billed as a major address, repeated some of the same themes Romney has sounded throughout the campaign. He vowed to cut federal spending, keep taxes low, overhaul Medicare and Social Security, and curb rising health care costs.
Romney argued Obama does not have his eye on the big picture. "Four years ago, candidate Obama spoke to the scale of the times," Romney said. "Today, he shrinks from it, trying instead to distract our attention from the biggest issues to the smallest -- from characters on Sesame Street and silly word games to misdirected personal attacks he knows are false."
Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, said Romney did not say anything new in his remarks. "True to form, Mitt Romney's most recent 'major policy speech' included dishonest attacks and empty promises of change, but no new policy," she said. "That's because all Mitt Romney has a one-point economic plan that he's been running on for two years: the very wealthy get to play by a very different set of rules than everyone else."
Polls show Romney has an advantage over Obama when it comes to handling the economy. A tracking poll by ABC News/The Washington Post this week showed 50% of likely voters say they trust Romney on the economy vs. 44% for Obama.
Obama carried Iowa in 2008. He leads Romney by an average of 2 percentage points in Iowa polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.