-- Mitt Romney called President Barack Obama's handling of the economy a "moral failure of tragic proportions," suggesting he's failed the American people by enacting policies that have been "muddled, confused and simply ineffective."
Speaking at a campaign event in St. Louis, the Republican nominee said it is "painfully obvious" that Obama was "inexperienced" and "simply not up to the task" of leading the country out of this "great economic crisis."
"We have waited, and waited and waited for recovery, and enough time has passed to pronounce judgment on the economic policies of this administration: They have not worked," Romney told supporters at a campaign event in St. Louis. "Your government has failed you."
The Republican nominee accused Obama of being unfriendly to "free enterprise" and said his administration has failed to deliver on its chief commitment to the country: helping "every American help themselves."
"I do not believe this has been done with evil intent or ill will," Romney noted. "But for a family watching their house being sold at foreclosure, or the family that is forced to spend their kid's college savings just to make ends meet, the results are just as devastating."
Romney vowed to do "everything in my power to end these days of drift and disappointment," suggesting something is "fundamentally wrong" with the country's course when 23 million Americans remain out of work.
"Yet the president tells us he's doing a great job," Romney said. "I will not be that president of deception and doubt. I will lead us to a better place."
Romney's remarks in Missouri expanded on a general theme the GOP nominee has been pushing on the campaign trail in recent weeks. He's argued that the nation's economic struggles are not just a test of policy but a "moral" issue because of the suffering of so many Americans. In his remarks today, Romney used the word "moral" or a variation of it five separate times in pushing the idea that Obama's policies have been a failure for the country.
Echoing a message he repeats regularly on the trail, Romney accused Obama of trying to restart the nation's economy by building up the government rather than helping private business. He called Obama's vision for the country "deeply flawed."
"There is nothing fair about a government that favors political connections over honest competition and takes away your right to earn your own success," Romney said. "And there is nothing morally right about trying to turn government dependence into a substitute for the dignity of work."
Under Obama, the country was on the brink of a "government-led economy," the GOP nominee warned.
"It doesn't have to be this way," Romney said. "These have been years of disappointment and decline, and soon we can put them behind us. We can prosper again, with the powerful recovery we have all been waiting for, (and) the good jobs that so many still need."