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.
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Mittens has once again taken both sides of an issue. To a republican, fighting FOR the middle class means shipping their jobs overseas, eliminating their social security and medicare, and expecting the middle class,who have financed the wars, to come up with more taxes so billionaires get a little more relief. With friends like Mittens and the republicans, you certainly do not need any enemies.
What in the hell does Mittens know about Middle Class ? Obama was on Food Stamps. His Father-in Law got up & worked a Blue Collar Job for 40 years. Who's the "Elitist " ?
Nah – Romney is 100% a candidate for corporate representation...American individuals, you are on your own with this guy. Look at his track record over decades in both the private and public sector. Listen to his agenda. There is nothing for the middle class there. Nothing.
None of " Waldo's ", Mitt Romney's five sons did any military service !
"Where's Waldo ?
I doubt whether these idiots of GOP know what Middle Class looks like, or else, they do not ship jobs overseas, for cheap labor, nor invite cheap labor into the nation for cheap labor....ha...be they Hospitals, or Computer guys...o.k, I think we need to stop all illegals, for a while...
There was money to be made in sub-prime mortgages, and it was the lack of will by both Democratic and GOP andminstrations in allowing the regutaions to be changed that allowed this happen. Regulations are like a fence: they exist to prevent this kind of crap from happening. That being said, firms had a choice to stay out of that business or get into it, and they made the mistake of getting into it. Obviously the ethics classes in MBA programs never took. For Romney to defend the banks for taking advantage of lax oversight and badly written laws deregulating the banks rings hollow in light of how he made his money.
Low income people don't "take mortages" they can't afford. They didn't "Take" anything. Mortgage companies and banks with bad business practices gave mortgages to folks who under a different set of rules would not have qualified. They'd have been told, as many folks were in decades past, you need to save more down- payment money or get into a smaller mortgage for a starter home. What they needed was truth and ethics from these banks and they got neither. The banks, however, could sell off their security interest in the loans and take no risk – no skin in the game so what would they care? Many young people starting out in their first home would never know the difference between these unscrupulous loan practices of the this past decade and the way it was 20 years or so ago. For Romney to say these bankers are not bad people but people who made extraordinary errors is beyond the pale. Talk about drawing fuzzy lines between right and wrong.
Actually Mitt, my first grader mocks 'Where's Waldo' as they are incredibly easy. What's your next slogan – "Finding a job is like reading 'The Cat in the Hat'...?"
Anyone who thinks corporations are people is NOT fighting for the middle class. Sure you can be pro-business and want to advance the agenda of keeping the CEOs and fat cats on Wall Street happy but know that comes with a price. This post Citizens United Political system should be opening people's eyes as to who is turly fighting for them. Any time a party fights tooth and nail to keep TAX PAYER subsidies for oil companies making record profits but is ready, willing, and able to cut Medicare and SS for people who need it the most are WAYY out of touch with the public. Reform the systems to strengthen them sure but outright cuts no way no how.
Mitt you can not serve two masters and love them both! Mitt Romney made a career in corperate America by down sizing business you know firing the middle class or laying the off. More of the same status quo I think Americans have learn this lesson before? it time for a new direction its the RP Era feel the Revolution?
He is a Republican. He fights for corporations and the wealthy people who own them. The vow to fight for the middle class is a lie to fool members of the middle class into voting for him.
This is the same guy who said "Corporations are people too."
The person who believes corporations are people does not have any interest in the middle class people
typical romney flip flopping.. Admit it romney your a conservative democrat. you should switch parties seeing as yours is giving you so much hassle about your faith when there are more important issues like JOBS! you would not flip flop on so many issues if you switched sides so you could do and say what was in your heart, rather then what your party wants you to. Obama 2012
Mittens lies again. He cares only for the greedy and not the needy, just like the rest of his GOBP deathcult. He has yet to back a position that favors the poor, the elderly, the working class, the middle class or the environment at the expense of his wealthy Big Buisiness backers.
I love the false dichotomy that so manny commentators have. You either love Wall Street and hate main street, or you love main street and hate Wall Street.
I hate Wall Street myself, but lets face it. Even many in the Anti-Wall Street crowd (I don't mean the "Occupy Wall Street" protests) have close ties to it... Even President Obama has close ties to Wall Street, though you wouldn't know it with his rhetoric.
you can't have it both ways herman monster.
Tell me Mitt, what doe the middle class look like, have you even been in some of the neighborhoods?
I am truly amazed of the really dumb posts here. Talk about biting the hand that feed you. That's what a lot of people did so the jobs dissappeared. The Republicians and Mitt didn't screw you. You did it to yourself. Obama won't fix the problem so what are you going to do next election? Vote stupid again?
Dude, you cannot have it both ways. Oh yeah, that is right: you are Mitt the Flip Flipper...just cannot tell what side or Who side you are really on.
By the way, your record of creating jobs in MA, as gov., was nothing to crow about: 48 out of 50 states. Buddy, 12 straight months of private sector job gains...The Labor Dept. revised Aug. figure from zero to 57,000 new jobs created...Granted/albeit, we need more jobs to get people back to work, I will take this path instead of the 750,000 jobs per month were loosing under your Republican colleagues under GWB. So, stop with the Waldo and learn how to take stand for the first time in your life.
Once again Romney wants to have it BOTH ways and most people will see through this. How can he defend the actions on Wall Street, the great income divide where of course he is in the top 1% and then say he'll fight for the middle class? How is he going to fight? Is he going to tell his wealthy Wall Street and CEO buddies that if he becomes POTUS only then will it be safe for them to start hiring people again? I doubt very seriously if Mitt Romney knows how it feels to have to live paycheck to paycheck. Then again he claims he too in unemployed so maybe I'm wrong about that.
You weren't fighting for the middle class as CEO of Bain Capital shipping American jobs overseas Willard. You're a phony. And you're going to lose because your a mormon. Hate to bring up your religion, but "cults" don't fly in the TEAvangelical south.
@ray e. 10 of the poorest states in our country are republican. I think they did create this mess and obama is trying to keep that epidemic from going nationwide! 10 poorest and least educated republican is all adds up my friend. wal-mart & exxon own your precious repubs now. they are not the grand old party anymore face it
What a joke. Romney is probably personally responsible for eliminating more American jobs and destroying more American companies that anyone running for President. American workers are just pawns to be sacrificed at the alter of Corporate profits. He couldn't give a hoot about the little people. No one should be fooled by his rhetoric.
I certainly hope the GOP nominates Romney. This two-faced, flip flopping, out of touch empty suit will be easy to beat. Even the voters in his own party dislike him so much they're begging for a better candidate.
No, it's an example of the results of Republican economic policy solely focused on cutting wages and benefits, in order to maximize profits that are then used to ship even more factories and jobs overseas.
Mittens knows all about this; laying off Americans and outsourcing jobs is how he made his millions.
Mittens also thinks that "corporations are people, my friend."
When was the last time a corporation had a mammogram, blood draw, its pulse taken, had an EKG stress test, got its annual flu shot, coughed when the doctor said to?
Republican running for the middle class? Yeh, and pigs can fly too.