Lansing, Michigan (CNN) - Mitt Romney invoked former President Bill Clinton during a campaign speech Tuesday in an effort to paint President Barack Obama to the left of the two-term Democrat.
"President Obama chose to apply liberal ideas of the past to a 21st century America. Liberal policies didn't work then, they haven't worked over the last four years, and they won't work in the future. New Democrats had abandoned those policies, but President Obama resurrected them, with predictable results," Romney said during an address in Lansing, Michigan. "President Clinton said the era of big government was over. President Obama brought it back with a vengeance."
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The Romney campaign also used Clinton references on a campaign conference call before the candidate's speech.
A campaign official said Obama "really turned his back" on the policies Clinton supported during his 1992 campaign, which they said included changes to welfare and middle class tax cuts.
Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, blamed Obama for expanding the role of government, including more benefits and more spending, which he said have contributed to the current state of affairs.
Romney referenced "The Life of Julia," a web tool released by the Obama re-election campaign, which charts the character from age 3 until age 67, detailing how one woman's life would be impacted by Obama and Romney's policies.
Julia's hypothetical life is positively impacted by equal pay, a reference to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Obama signed into law and her ability to receive full Social Security benefits at age 67.
But Romney said Julia's story is evidence of how Obama sees the role of government.
"Julia progresses from cradle to grave, showing how government makes every good thing in her life possible," Romney said. "What does it say about a president's policies when he has to use a cartoon character rather than real people to justify his record? What does it say about the fiction of old liberalism to insist that good jobs and good schools and good wages will result from policies that have failed us, time and again?"
The Obama campaign used Romney's return to his native Michigan, his first visit after narrowly winning the primary on February 28, to highlight the GOP candidate's position on the auto bailout.
'Mitt Romney didn't have the courage to bet on American workers and instead said that we should 'let Detroit go bankrupt,'" Obama campaign spokesperson Lis Smith said in a statement. "Now he wants to bring back budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and letting Wall Street write its own rules-policies that President Clinton compared to the failed economic policies that created the crisis, but 'on steroids.' The American people won't be fooled – they know that this is the same economic scheme that crashed our economy and punished the middle class in the first place."
Romney met with middle class families prior to speaking at Lansing Community College Tuesday. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, calling Michigan the "comeback state" before he introduced Romney, said his state's economic recovery was a "role model for what needs to be done" to grow the middle class.