Milford, New Hampshire (CNN) - Mitt Romney cast himself as a fighter for the middle class Monday at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire and mocked President Barack Obama for creating a "Where's Waldo economy."
But the former Massachusetts governor also defended Wall Street and said the financial sector is not entirely to blame for the nation's economic slump.
Romney, campaigning on the same day a poll showed him with a commanding lead over his Republican rivals in the key primary state, opened his remarks by flagging a New York Times story on how median household income has declined by nearly 10 percent since Dec. 2007.
"Those who are working are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet," Romney said. "This is the definition of a failed presidency."
Debuting a new line, he called the Obama economy "a Where's Waldo economy."
"Finding a good paying job in this economy is harder than finding Waldo in one of his books," he said.
Romney promised to be firmly on the side of the middle class, even those in labor unions, if elected president.
"I am not running for rich people," he said. "Rich people can take care of themselves. They are doing just fine. I am running for middle class Americans."
Romney, who made a fortune running a private equity firm before entering politics, was asked by one voter if Wall Street financial institutions were to blame for the financial collapse in 2008.
He said bankers made mistakes in the run-up to the economic crisis, but was careful not to blame them alone.
"Are there bad actors on Wall Street? Absolutely," he said. "Are there
bad actors on Main Street? Absolutely."
Romney faulted low-income individuals for taking on home loans they could not afford, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for making those mortgages available.
"I don't consider these bad people, or people on some kind of, you know, corrupt effort," Romney said. "I see them as people who made extraordinary errors."
He said the financial sector should be regulated to track "what's going on in the market and track derivatives."
But he also said banks help make the Americans economy "the most powerful in the world" and said President Obama should not make Wall Street a "scapegoat" when the government and individuals were also to blame.
Romney said Obama should "stop blaming" others for the sad state of the economy.
"Be a Truman Democrat, say the buck stops here and do not blame the American people," he said.