Mitt Romney likened President Obama's support for increased federal debt to a "prairie fire" threatening to consume the nation at his speech today in Des Moines, Iowa -- his first event in the Hawkeye state since the caucuses.
"A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation and every day we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love," he said. "The people of Iowa and America have watched President Obama for nearly four years, much of that time with Congress controlled by his own party. And rather than put out the spending fire, he has fed the fire. He has spent more and borrowed more. "
Touted as a major economic speech by his campaign, Romney spoke before a backdrop of five American flags and a banner reading "Cut the Spending."
He slammed the President's policies on health care, entitlement programs, and his government spending, characterizing him as an "old school liberal" who sees "free market as the villain and government as the hero."
He attacked Obama's stimulus plan, calling it the most "careless one-time expenditure" by the federal government in history, adding that the money was not just wasted but "borrowed and wasted;" adding to a debt the American people will be paying back "long after his presidency has ended."
"Your household's share of government debt and unfunded liabilities has reached more than $520,000 under this president," he said. "It won't be paid off by the adults in your household. It will be passed along to your children. They will struggle throughout their lives with the interest on our debts -- and President Obama is adding to them every single day," Romney stated.
Romney vowed to bring federal spending to 20 percent of GDP within four years, streamline federal programs and repeal Obamacare.
Concerning Medicare and Social Security, Romney said he would propose either a tax increase for high-income retirees or decrease in the benefit growth rate for high income retirees, claiming his proposal would "improve the programs and keeps it solvent."
The Obama camp fired back by pointing to Romney's economic record as Governor in Massachusetts and accusing him of failing to lay out a plan to pay for his tax plan:
"While Mitt Romney's speech today was heavy on dishonest claims about President Obama's record, it was noticeably lacking in any mention of Romney's own record of increasing spending and debt in Massachusetts and his failure to lay out a plan to pay for his $5 trillion tax plan. It's not surprising why Mitt Romney consistently ignores his record as governor on the campaign trail -- he raised state spending 6.5 percent each year and left Massachusetts with the largest per-capita debt of any state in the nation."