Surrogates for the Obama and Romney campaigns traded barbs over fundamental differences in economic policy and job creation on Sunday.
Former Council of Economic Advisers chairman Austan Goolsbee said the Obama administration did not want a “government-directed approach.”
“We believe the main driver of the economy is the middle class, it’s not very high-income people,” Goolsbee said on Fox News Sunday. Goolsbee said Mitt Romney, in contrast, wants to cut high income earners’ taxes and “crush Social Security and Medicare.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who has endorsed Romney, said the role of government was a fundamental difference between the two candidates.
“We believe in the genius of American free enterprise…instead of raising barriers to success,” said Ryan, who is considered a serious contender to become Romney's running mate. “We have a contrast in visions, we believe in reinvigorating private industry… Obama has feverishly worked to create a government centered society.”
On jobs, Ryan painted the Obama administration as practitioners of “crony capitalism.”
“Obama is gambling with tax payer money… it’s crony capitalism, corporate welfare,” he said. “They take taxpayer dollars...and take bets on private companies. That’s wrong.”
Goolsbee fought back, saying Democrats’ goal was a balanced plan of tax increases and spending cuts. “Picking of winners is absolutely not the Obama philosophy,” Goolsbee said.
Romney's campaign also seized on a comment by Goolsbee in which he didn't dispute that the budget deficit had increased under Obama. "It's nice to see that the president's campaign isn't disputing the facts, for once," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. "President Obama has presided over four straight trillion-dollar deficits and increased the debt faster than any U.S. president before him."