May 25th, 2012
01:00 AM ET
(CNN) - President Barack Obama returned to the politically-important state of Iowa on Thursday for the third time this year for a mixture of official and campaign business.
But in all cases, he took the opportunity to attack his presumed opponent.
In remarks to supporters at a grassroots event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, Obama slammed Republican candidate Mitt Romney for his claim in a speech last week that the debt is sweeping across the country like a “prairie fire.”
"He left out some facts. His speech was more like a cow pie of distortion. I don't know whose record he twisted the most: mine or his," the president said.
Romney's campaign immediately responded by saying Obama had “not come close” to keeping his financial promises.
"A president who broke his promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term has no standing when it comes to fiscal responsibility," Romney's spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement.
The president also slammed Romney's financial experience, saying his tenure as CEO of the private equity firm, Bain Capital, doesn't qualify him to be president.
"The main goal of a financial firm like Gov. Romney's is not to create jobs.... Their main goal is to create wealth for themselves and their investors," Obama told a crowd of nearly 2000 on the fairgrounds.
"Now that may be the job of someone who's engaged in corporate buyouts. That's fine. But that's not the job of a president. That's not the president's job. There may be value for that kind of experience but it's not in the White House."
Obama also attacked Romney's comments from his visit to the same fairgrounds last August when he said "corporations are people."
"We believe that risk takers and investors should be rewarded ... . But we also believe that everybody should have opportunity," he said. "We think everybody who makes the economy more productive should benefit. Harder work doesn't lead to higher income ... You can't solve that problem if you can't even see that it's a problem."
The message was a continuation of his earlier speech at a clean energy manufacturer in nearby Newton, Iowa. Without referring to Romney by name, the president criticized Republicans for their economic policies.
"Either they say they don't want to do anything at all, or they don't want to do it before the election, or they want to double down on some of the policies that didn't work and helped to get us into this mess in the first place... when you hear somebody say we should cut more taxes... When you hear people say that we should cut back more on the rules we put in place for banks and financial institutions to avoid another taxpayer bailout - well, we tried that... When people say that we should just wait until the housing market hits bottom and hope that it comes back, hope for the best - well, that's not an answer for people. That doesn't make sense," a reference by the president to Mitt Romney's remarks late last year.
Trying to sell his "To-Do list" for Congress, his first stop was at TPI Composites, which makes wind blades for turbines, located about 35 minutes outside of Des Moines. Obama visited Newton early in his presidency to unveil his energy policy.
On Thursday, he returned to urge Congress to extend tax credits for companies that make clean energy.
"I'm here today because, as much progress as we've made, that progress is in jeopardy. If Congress doesn't act, those tax credits that I mentioned - the ones that helped build up the wind industry, the ones that helped to bring all these jobs to Newton, those tax credits will expire," the president said. "If Congress doesn't act, companies like this one will take a hit. Jobs will be lost. That's not a guess, that's a fact. We can't let that happen."
The president's remarks came after touring the TPI Composites facility and seeing how glass is molded into fiberglass for the wind blades. The White House touts the company as a success story of using the federal Production Tax Credit by creating jobs in clean energy technologies.
The plant was built in 2008 and replaced a Maytag factory, a major employer in the city of nearly 16,000 people. Almost 2,000 people lost their jobs in 2006 when Whirlpool bought out Maytag and closed the factory.