(CBS News) Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Sunday vowed to "never dramatically slash spending by a trillion or two trillion dollars as I came into the White House," telling C-SPAN host Steve Scully there's a lesson to be learned from Europe's unsuccessful austerity measures.
"I would look to eliminate programs which, over time, are going to be growing and taking up a larger and larger scale of our economy," Romney said. "Get rid of some of those programs, like Obamacare -- that's the easiest one to get rid of -- and thereby balance our budget. But don't cut it all in the first year or you could in fact cause a slowdown of our economy."
As one element of balancing the budget, the former Massachusetts governor cited Medicaid, food stamps, and housing vouchers as programs he'd like to send back to the states to hold down their rate of growth.
Romney also criticized the current White House for "dropping the ball" on bipartisan legislation, allowing constant gridlock to bog down solutions to a $16 trillion debt.
"I think it's virtually impossible for a group of 535 people to make decisions -- you need to have a leader," he said. "President Obama is a very nice fellow, according to people who know him well, but he's never served as a leader before. He's never run a state or a city or a business. He's kind of learning this leadership thing on the job."
In his own quest for the presidency, Romney said after a day on the campaign trail, "you come away with more energy and less. And at the end of the day, I usually have a hard time falling asleep -- not because I'm worried, but because I'm so energized from the people that I met."