Mitt Romney on Thursday returned his focus from his fellow Republican presidential candidates to President Obama, blasting the president for being a "crony capitalist" and a "job killer."
Romney, speaking at an event in Salem, New Hampshire, laid into Mr. Obama for taking what he called the "extraordinary" step of bypassing Congress for three appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on Wednesday.
"Yesterday the president did one more thing, an extraordinary thing, that convinces anybody who will go elsewhere that maybe they ought to go elsewhere," Romney told the crowd. "And that is that he said 'I ought to put more labor stooges on the National Labor Relations Board.'"
Presidential recess appointments are not unusual. According to the Congressional Research Service, former President Bill Clinton made 139 recess appointments during his two terms as president, and former President George W. Bush made 171. As of December 8, 2011, Mr. Obama had made just 28 recess appointments during his tenure as president. But Wednesday's action is unusual because Republicans have deliberately kept the Congress open officially, even though no legislative work is being done, in an effort to prevent Mr. Obama from doing what he did.
Romney decried the appointments as crony capitalism, and claimed the president's move would drive jobs out of the country.
"Capitalism, free enterprise works. Crony capitalism does not. This president has engaged and is engaging in crony capitalism. It's happening with the National Labor Relations Board where he's paying back the big unions that helped his campaign," Romney said Thursday.
"This president is a crony capitalist. He's a job killer."
"Inserting himself, inserting government into the machinery of free markets -- that is going to cause businesses of all kinds to say 'let's go somewhere else.' I want to keep them here. I don't want jobs to leave," Romney added.
Republicans had fiercely opposed the appointment of the three labor appointments, which were sent to Congress for consideration in December, on the grounds that the NLRB leans too far in favor of unions.
During his remarks, Romney also referenced the president's ties to Solyndra, the energy company which went bankrupt after receiving a loan from the federal government for more than $500 million.
The former Massachusetts governor, who is campaigning with John McCain in New Hampshire ahead of the January 10 caucus, is heavily favored in the state among the Republican field: According to a daily tracking poll by Suffolk University, he leads with 41 percent support. The next in line is Ron Paul, who earned only 18 percent, followed by Rick Santorum, with eight percent. (Both Paul and Santorum saw small jumps, four percent and two percent respectively, following their third and second-place finishes in Tuesday's Iowa caucuses.)