(WOLFEBORO, N.H.) — Taking an unscheduled break from his week-long vacation in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney told reporters on Friday that a lackluster U.S. job growth report for June was “another kick in the gut to middle class families.”
Romney said a stagnant 8.2 percent unemployment rate was “unacceptably high” and argued the president can’t fix the situation.
“The president doesn’t have a plan, hasn’t proposed any new ideas to get the economy going just the same old ideas of the past that have failed,” said Romney, standing with lawn-mowers and metal garbage cans on shelves behind him in the garage of Bradley’s Hardware in the resort town of Wolfeboro.
“I have a plan,” said Romney, ticking off portions of his 59-point economic plan. He mentioned proposals to capitalize on energy resources in America, opening new trade agreements and cutting regulations.
But Romney was pressed to respond to conservative critics like the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which recently accused Romney of playing it too safe and not offering his own specific solutions to the fix economy.
“I don’t say much to critics,” Romney responded. “I put out 59 steps on how I’d get the economy going and I don’t think I’ve seen any from the president that show what he’s planning on doing. I’ve laid out my 59 steps take a look at them, I think you’ll find them very specific.”
The appearance at the hardware store was Romney’s first formal press conference since late May, when he took questions from reporters in California. It came in the middle of a vacation where Romney has spent time with his entire family — including his five sons, their wives and his 18 grandchildren.
Asked whether it’s hypocritical for him to be vacationing while the economy is still struggling — being that his own campaign staffers often criticize President Obama’s penchant for golfing — Romney said he is happy to be able to spend time with his family and wants the same for other Americans.
“You know I’m delighted to be able to take a vacation with my family I think all Americas appreciate the memories they have with their children and their grandchildren I hope more Americans are able to take vacations,” said Romney. “And if I’m president of the United States I’m going to work very hard to make sure we have good jobs for all Americans who want good jobs and as part of a good job the capacity to take a vacation now and then with their loved ones.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Stephen Collinson and MJ Lee, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Ryan Browne and Evan Perez, CNN
Jim Acosta and Greg Clary, CNN