St. Louis, Missouri (CNN) - Calling it a 'moral failure of tragic proportion,' Mitt Romney argued free enterprise has weakened under President Barack Obama in a speech Thursday.
"But sadly, it has become clear that this president simply doesn't understand or appreciate these fundamental truths of our economic system," he said before hundreds at Production Products, a small minority-owned business that provides ground support equipment to the United States military.
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"This is not just a failure of policy, it is a moral failure of tragic proportion. Our government has a moral commitment to help every American help himself - him and herself - and that commitment has been broken."
The Republican Party's all-but-official presidential nominee touted the fundamentals of a free enterprise system as the answer to reviving the economy.
Romney charges that Obama not upholding these values has led to Americans losing their jobs, disappearing from the work force and living in poverty.
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"That same system has helped lift more people out of poverty across the globe than any government program or any competing economic system. That success of our economic system, of our free enterprise system, has been a bright beacon of freedom for the people of the world. It has signaled to oppressed people to rise up against their oppressors, and it's given hope to the once hopeless."
Obama's campaign said in a statement to reporters that Romney "offered no new ideas and no new policies that would actually grow the economy and strengthen the middle class."
"Mitt Romney has promised to use his experience to turn around the economy, but all he has offered to date are negative and dishonest speeches tearing down President Obama," said Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman. "And we know why- his focus in both the private and public sectors was never on creating jobs, it was on helping the wealthiest prosper by any means necessary, even if it meant undermining workers and middle class families."