Spaniards used to one bad economic headline after another have been hit by an unexpected critic: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Romney said in his debate with President Barack Obama that he doesn't want the U.S. to turn into the equivalent of Spain — which has unemployment of nearly 25 percent and a deep recession.

Most Spaniards were asleep when Romney spoke, but his comments made headlines Thursday. Some Spaniards criticized him for singling out Spain. Others were not surprised, saying the country is a poster child for economic gloom.

Romney said 42 percent of Spain's gross domestic product is government spending. The Eurostat statistics agency says it was 43.6 percent in 2011, lower than the 49.1 percent average for the European Union's 27 countries.