In NH, Romney Goes After Obama for Calling America ‘Soft’

Gov. Mitt Romney said today that he was dismayed at President Obama’s characterization this weekend that America is getting “soft” and continued to hammer on the administration’s failure to turn around the U.S. economy.

“It is not that we’ve become soft or become unable to get up and run, it’s that he’s on our shoulders and has become too heavy,” said Romney, speaking at a town hall in Salem, N.H. “We want him off our shoulders so we can run again.”

Romney was referring to an interview Obama did with an Orlando TV station last week in which he said, “The way I think about it is, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn’t have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades. … We need to get back on track.”

Joking that while he didn’t “personally” make the decision to elect Obama, Romney added, “We have not gone soft.”

“We’ve gone soft on the president for too long and it’s time to get hard on him and call him on his own mistakes and replace him and give him what he deserves: a nice retirement check,” Romney said.

But the idea of a retirement check for Obama riled up the audience, who began chanting “no check.”

“OK, no check, no check,” Romney said. “A retirement slip, that’s a better word.”

“It’s time for us to get hard on the president and hold him accountable,” Romney said.

After completing his opening remarks, Romney fielded questions from the audience, a crowd of more than 250 people crammed into the Derry-Salem Elks Lodge. They asked about immigration – Romney reiterated his stance on building a fence along the border – and he told several elderly members of the audience that he’d protect Social Security.

But ahead of his foreign policy speech later this week, scheduled for Friday at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C., there were several questions about his plans for the troops in Afghanistan.

Romney said he’d support the decision of the generals on the ground who advise that the troops involved in the surge would be brought home by December 2012, and the rest of the troops would come home “in the next couple of years.”

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