Romney: Obama's Policies Slowed The Recovery

After a week full of campaigning across several battleground states, Mitt Romney delivered an economic policy address in Ames, Iowa, on Friday.

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And we begin this hour with politics and the economy. President Obama spent the day at the White House after wrapping up a 48-hour cross-country campaign trip. He got what seemed like positive news today. The economy grew a bit more last quarter than experts had predicted, but the growth was tepid enough that Mitt Romney tried to use it to his advantage. In Iowa, he delivered what his campaign billed as a major speech on the economy.

NPR's Ari Shapiro was there.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Mitt Romney has campaigned in Iowa through a summer that transformed into winter and another summer again. Now, in the last days of this race, he climbed to a podium on a day that feels like one more winter is fast approaching.

MITT ROMNEY: It's a little windy, a little chilly, but we're just getting started, aren't we? It's going to be a great winter.

SHAPIRO: This speech had the trappings of a major address, prewritten remarks, a teleprompter, grandiose entrance music, but most of the content came from the stump speech that Romney has been giving for days. This close to the election, his campaign wanted to present a sort of economic closing argument.

ROMNEY: President Obama frequently reminds us that he inherited a troubled economy. But a troubled economy is not all that he inherited. He also inherited the greatest nation in the history of the earth.

SHAPIRO: Romney said President Obama has failed to take advantage of American resources and ingenuity, and that Americans are suffering today as a result.

ROMNEY: You know, the problem with the Obama economy is not what he inherited, it's with the misguided policies that slowed the recovery.

SHAPIRO: As the latest evidence that this economy is not what it should be, Romney pointed to new economic figures showing 2 percent growth for the last quarter. The Obama campaign says this growth is proof that the economy continues to recover. Not fast enough, says Romney.

ROMNEY: After the stimulus was passed, the White House promised that the economy would now be growing at 4.3 percent, over twice as fast. Slow economic growth means slow job growth and decline in take-home pay.

SHAPIRO: That 4.3 percent figure comes from a budget projection three years ago. Romney delivered this speech outside a business called Kinzler Construction Services. The company got almost $700,000 in stimulus money. The owner also received a small business loan from the government for $1.2 million. The Obama campaign says that evidence cuts against Romney's argument that the stimulus slowed the recovery.

Romney's campaign also spent part of today cleaning up after one of its co-chairmen, John Sununu. Last night on CNN, Piers Morgan asked Sununu about former Secretary of State Colin Powell's decision to endorse President Obama. This was Sununu's reply.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT")

JOHN SUNUNU: Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that's an endorsement based on issues or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.

PIERS MORGAN: What reason would that be?

SUNUNU: Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.

SHAPIRO: Colin Powell and President Obama are both black. Then, on Fox News, Sununu said this.

(SOUNDBITE OF INTERVIEW)

SUNUNU: He's created more racial division than any administration in history.

SHAPIRO: Shortly after midnight, Sununu responded to the growing negative reaction. He told The National Review online, quote, "Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president's policies." It's not the first time Sununu has had to backtrack from provocative remarks. In July, he apologized for telling reporters: I wish this president would learn how to be an American.

Sununu was scheduled to record an interview with NPR today. This morning, Romney campaign officials said he would no longer be available. Ari Shapiro, NPR News, traveling with the Romney campaign.

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