Updated 5:20 p.m. ET
MONROE, Mich.--Mitt Romney told businesspeople here, including two tea party members, that Republicans in Washington have been "acting like Democrats" and he will stop it because he is a different kind of Republican. Later in the day, at a another campaign stop, Romney collected the endorsement of Gov. Rick Snyder.
At the business roundtable in Monroe, Romney did not mention surging rival Rick Santorum at the roundtable, but his critique echoed the charges he's been leveling at Santorum in their pitched battle to win the Feb. 28 primary in the state where Romney grew up.
When the GOP held majorities on Capitol Hill, he said, "Republicans started earmarking like crazy. Republicans spent too much money, way above the rate of inflation. Republicans didn't send programs back to the states. Republicans didn't eliminate programs, we added programs. We were doing exactly what the Democrats have done. And we can't keep doing that."
By contrast, said Romney, "I'm going to Washington not as the next step in my political career, because I don't have a political career. My life was spent in the private sector." He said he would make Midwestern states, including his home state of Michigan and neighboring Ohio, into destinations for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Romney's life has not been exactly devoid of politics. He ran for the Senate in 1994, he was governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, he ran for president in 2008, and of course he's running again now. His father, George Romney, served as governor of Michigan and ran for president in 1968.
At a stop Thursday in Farmington Hills, Romney picked up the endorsement of the state's present governor, Republican Rick Snyder.
Snyder, who like Romney was in the private equity industry before entering politics, said, "When I look at the challenges of Michigan, one of the greatest things holding us back now is Washington. It's holding us back. It's time for leadership that's going to move us forward."
Snyder commended Romney's economic plan as a "jobs and economic growth plan that I strongly support that talks about more and better jobs, that talks about a tax system that is simple, fair and efficient." He added, "He's a Michigander and that's another source of particular pride."
Neither man mentioned their disagreement over the 2009 federal bailout of hte auto industry, which Snyder supported but Romney opposed.