Fort Worth, Texas (CNN) – In Texas one week after the state helped him unofficially clinch the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of putting politics before a plan to create more jobs.
"[W]ith America in crisis, with 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work, he hasn't put forth a plan to get us working again," Romney said Tuesday. "Now I know we're getting close to an election so he'll come out with one soon, but three and a half years later, we're waiting."
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Speaking at his first campaign event since the latest jobs report was released that revealed unemployment in May ticked up to 8.2%, Romney spoke optimistically about the state of the economy while taking a swipe at Obama's re-election campaign slogan and his accomplishments in office.
"I really hope that things are getting better. And there's some signs things are getting better, albeit at a very slow rate. The president wants to hang onto that twig, that maybe he made things a little better, but the truth is, he did not make things better. If they get better it's in spite of him, not because of him," he said.
"A lot of people in this country are having hard times and in the light of that, it's kind of surprising to me that the president has chosen as his campaign slogan, 'Forward.'" Romney asked rhetorically, "Forward over a cliff?"
Romney echoed recent statements that the Democratic president was blaming the economic downturn on former President George H.W. Bush and Congress.
"After three and half years people have figured out this is Obama's economy, not George Bush's economy," Romney said. "And, he blames Congress, he goes after Congress, but we remember the president's own party had a super majority in both houses for his first two years, so you can hardly blame Congress for the faults that he's put in place himself, and so he's casting about looking for someone to blame and just hasn't been able to find anybody - whether it's the ATM machines or the tsunami or Europe."
Obama's re-election team rejected Romney's "putting jobs first" banner displayed at his rally, adding in an email statement the former businessman's "only goal was creating wealth for himself and his investors."
"Now he wants to bring back the same policies that crashed the economy and devastated the middle class in the first place: budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthiest on the middle class' dime and letting Wall Street write its own rules. Romney Economics didn't work then and it won't work now," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said.
Romney, who served one-term as Massachusetts governor, is on a two-day fund-raising blitz through the Lone Star state. Romney used the rally in Fort Worth, which was held at a Hispanic family-owned Southwest Office Systems, to warn against the United States facing a deeper economic crisis like Greece.
"I happen to believe, by the way, that despite all of the angst and the fear and the uncertainty that is felt around this country today – even right here, the Puente family saying 'look, we don't want to hire extra people right now, cause we don't know what the future looks like. We're concerned,'" Romney said, speaking to hundreds in the warehouse of the office equipment dealer.
"I'm absolutely convinced if we stay on the road we're on with this president that our future will continue to dramatically under-perform America's historic growth and prosperity and perhaps at some point hit a Greece-like wall."
Romney's visit comes days before the Texas Republican Party convention in Fort Worth and according to one official, the party extended several invitations to the Romney campaign before it was declined.
"We would love to have Gov. Romney attend our convention and address our delegates," said Texas GOP Communications Director Chris Elam. "We're disappointed he won't be able to make time in his schedule."
The other Republican presidential candidate still in the race, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, will speak at the Fort Worth gathering, as well as one-time White House hopefuls Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
During his two-day visit Romney will not meet with former presidents and Texas residents George H.W. Bush, who endorsed Romney in March, and George W. Bush, who offered an off-the-cuff endorsement last month. Officials with Bush 41 and 43 tell CNN the former presidents are traveling and not in the state.
Romney referred to the crowded presidential field and thanked Texas for receiving their more than 100 delegates to lock in the Republican nomination.
"Thank you Texas for taking me over the line and helping me get the nomination. Thank you! That was, that was good news and you guys worked hard to get me over that line. I appreciate it very much. Your governor has been a great friend. We had a lot of people in the contest. We all came together because we recognize there's something we've got to do as Republicans - come together to defeat Barack Obama and take back America."