Tampa: The two leading Republican
presidential contenders took a short break from hammering one
another, turning their fire on President Barack Obama and
calling his State of the Union speech a rehash of what they
see as policies that have failed to re-ignite the troubled US
Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the House of
Representatives, again assailed the president with the
standard Republican complaint that Obama wants to increase
government power and impose higher taxes.
"We have a crisis of work in this country, and tonight
President Obama proposed nothing in the way of policy changes
that will get us to robust job creation and dramatic economic
growth," Gingrich said in a statement Tuesday night.
"Instead, the president described his conviction that his
big government is built to last and should be paid for with
Romney, who amassed a huge fortune as a venture
capitalist before serving one term as Massachusetts governor,
did not wait for Obama to deliver the speech before lambasting
what he predicted the president would say.
"High unemployment and record home foreclosures," Romney
said, speaking from the floor of a shuttered Florida factory.
"Debt that`s too high and opportunities that are too few. This
is the real state of our union. But you won`t hear stories
like these in President Obama`s address tonight."
Obama "will make the opening argument in his campaign
against a `do-nothing Congress,`" Romney said. "It`s shameful
for a president to use the State of the Union to divide our
Romney, Gingrich and former Sen. Rick Santorum are
campaigning hard in Florida, a critical swing state that votes
January 31 in the state-by-state nominating process toward the
November general election. Florida also is one of the hardest
hit in the recession, with unemployment of 10 per cent.
The fourth remaining Republican in the race, Texas Rep.
Ron Paul, is bypassing the state to conserve campaign cash.
Both he and Santorum are nearly out of contention for the
Republican nomination that has become a brutal political fight
between Romney and Gingrich.