WAUKESHA, Wis. -- Even before President Obama blasted Mitt Romney and other Republicans on Tuesday for backing a controversial GOP budget plan, Romney appealed to the president not to simply blame Republicans for the current state of the economy and nation.
"Instead of standing up and saying, as the president, his policies have not worked, he of course will look for someone else to blame," Romney said while campaigning at a sub shop in Waukesha.
In remarks that appeared to serve as a prelude to the bruising fight expected to come over the next six months, Romney continued: "Maybe he’ll look for the party that had no power whatsoever for the first two years of his administration, maybe he’ll say, 'Oh, it’s the Republicans.' But, you know, he had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate for his first two years. He gets full credit or blame for what’s happened in this economy, and what’s happened to gasoline prices under his watch, and what’s happened to our schools, and what’s happened to our military forces."
Romney's comments came before Obama's speech, in which the president methodically took apart the House-passed budget of Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., point by point and ridiculed Romney for calling the Ryan plan "marvelous." Ryan was at the campaign stop with Romney.
After Obama's speech, the Romney campaign issued a news release continuing to attack the president for his inability to balance budgets while adding to the debt. The press release also noted that the House last week defeated a version of Obama's budget 414-0, although it did not mention the amendment was introduced by a conservative Republican -- freshman Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina -- and Democrats did not regard it as a serious proposal.
In a subsequent appearance on Sean Hannity's radio show, Romney continued to go on the attack, accusing the president of distorting the truth. He called it as "a disingenous fear-mongered approach."
"This is a president who so misrepresents the policies and proposals of our party and of myself as well and then fails to acknowledge the mistakes and the errors in his own record," he said. "It’s astonishing to listen to him. I think the American people will have plenty of time to hear the charges and the counter charges and with the time they’re going to have, they’re going to recognize that what the president is saying about us is absolutely inaccurate."
At the Wisconsin campaign stop, Romney referred to a new Obama campaign ad that blames "Big Oil," which Democrats say is eager to help the former Massachusetts governor because of his support for tax breaks for the industry.
"The president put an ad out yesterday talking about gasoline prices and how high they are," Romney said. "And guess who he blamed? Me! Maybe after I'm president, I can take responsibility for things I might have done wrong. But this president doesn't want to take responsibility for his mistakes. I mean, you talk about someone who is running as far away from Harry Truman's dictum as possible. Harry Truman had the sign on his desk that said 'The buck stops here.' But this president is always looking for somewhere else to point."
Romney told the lunch crowd that he would take responsibility for his failures along with successes as president.
“There may be some things that don’t work out as well as I’d hoped,” he said. “I will acknowledge that. I will say that I take responsibility for what goes well and what doesn’t.”
The Obama campaign refused to back down on attacking Romney, indicating that it is ready to wage war over the issue of gas prices.
"Under President Obama, domestic oil production is at an eight-year high and continuing to rise, and our dependence on foreign oil has hit a 16-year low," campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said. "Renewable energy is doubling, natural-gas production is at an all-time high, and greater fuel-efficiency standards will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”