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Republican Romney says Obama's policies hurt economy

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									LOS ANGELES, July 20, 2011 (Reuters) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took aim at
President Barack Obama's economic leadership on Wednesday, saying the Democrat's policies were
hurting, not helping, the U.S. economy.

"The president's policies almost without question have caused this recession to be deeper and
longer than it would have been and have made this recovery more anemic than it should have
been," Romney said at a campaign stop in a run-down North Hollywood community.

The former Massachusetts governor assailed Obama's handling of the economy, speaking
against the backdrop of a foreclosed strip mall with mostly empty buildings and boarded-up
windows.

Saying the mall had been "scrapped in part because of challenges of the economy," Romney
accused Obama of being too distracted by other matters to focus on reviving the struggling
economy and vowed that would be his highest priority if he is elected president.

Last month, the Republican White House hopeful took his campaign to a shuttered plant in
Allentown, Pennsylvania, where he accused Obama of failing to understand how to fix the
economy and create jobs.

The early front-runner in the field of candidates competing for the 2012 Republican
presidential nomination, Romney has zeroed in on the two issues seen as key vulnerabilities
in Obama's effort to win a second-term -- the sluggish economy and the 9.2 percent jobless
rate.

"Some years ago just weeks after he (Obama) was inaugurated he went on the 'Today Show'
and he said 'look if I can't turn this economy around in three years, I'm looking at a one-term
proposition,' and I'm here to collect," Romney said, drawing cheers from about 40 supporters.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, pre-empted Romney's campaign event
with a dim assessment of the former governor's economic record.

In a conference call with reporters, Villaraigosa said Massachusetts ranked 47th out of the 50
states in job creation under Romney's governorship and had skyrocketing home foreclosures.

"Romney using LA - and I emphasis using LA - to blast Obama's economic policies is
appalling," Villaraigosa said.

Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who is behind most of his Republican rivals in
polls, has also criticized Romney's jobs record as Massachusetts governor and his support for
a state healthcare overhaul that was a model for Obama's federal law.

Asked about criticism from fellow Republicans, Romney would not be drawn into the
intraparty rivalry saying only that he was campaigning against Obama.

								
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