Romney slams Obama in six economic categories

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden, Colo., Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
Mitt Romney
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

(CBS News) DENVER - After a foreign trip that received its fair share of criticism, Mitt Romney is steering his campaign back to what he hopes is the more comfortable topic of the U.S. economy.

In his first campaign event since returning from Europe earlier this week - and his campaign's first event in Colorado since a tragic movie theater shooting two weeks ago in nearby Aurora - Romney on Thursday unveiled a "presidential accountability scorecard" he says he will use to measure his expected success in office while attacking President Obama for failing to achieve goals he set as a candidate.

"When the president was here as a candidate accepting the nomination four years ago in Colorado, he laid out the report card upon which he hoped to be judged by," Romney told a crowd of more than 1,000 enthusiastic supporters in Colorado. Pointing principally to the high unemployment figure, he added, "All measures he laid out are measures that have gone in the wrong direction."

The campaign passed out copies of a six-category scorecard: jobs, unemployed and underemployed, unemployment rate, home prices, budget deficit and family income. A column marked "Obama Record" shows arrows demonstrating negative movement in each category, while two columns marked "Romney Record Massachusetts" and "Romney Plan Goals" show green arrows for positive movement.

(Romney unveils "accountability" report card.)

"If I am elected president of the United States of America, my promise to you is I am going to get all those arrows green again," Romney pledged.

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Despite his unrelenting criticism of Mr. Obama, Romney touted his ability to work with Democrats in Massachusetts in a nod to the need to appeal to independent voters. Instead of advocating the my-way-or-the-highway approach of many House Republicans, he called for someone who can go to Washington and "[bury] the hatchet" to bring the two parties together to create jobs.

The announcement of the scorecard and reintroduction of Romney's economic plan, part of the campaign's push to appeal to the middle class, also is intended to partly counter a study by the Tax Policy Center released on Wednesday. The study from the nonpartisan joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution found that Romney's plan would result in a net tax increase for lower- and middle-income taxpayers in order to cut taxes for the highest earners. The Romney campaign took issue with both the study's methodology and authorship, calling it a "joke."

Romney himself said in his speech Thursday that his overall economic plan will add 12 million jobs to the economy. The candidate promised to achieve North American energy independence by 2020, improve education and skills training, expand American access to international markets for trade purposes, cut the deficit, and champion small businesses.

None of the proposals are new; instead, the campaign says they are highlighting policies Romney first unveiled a year ago and creating contrasts with the president as voters tune into the general election.

In addition to talking politics, Romney took a moment at the beginning of his speech to acknowledge the Aurora shooting. Before the event, he met with McKayla Hicks, a young woman who was shot in the mouth in the theater adjacent to the one where the majority of the shooting spree took place.

"The trauma here has got to be extraordinary," Romney said. "But across the country, people are thinking about Aurora and the tragedy there and the lives that have been lost and lives changed forever. We love you and we pray for you. You're in our hearts and you're in our prayers."

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    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.