A 2012 Tryout: GOP Hopefuls Gather At Conservative Conference

Romney slams "Obama-style liberalism" as conservatives slam Dems, president.

ByABC News
September 17, 2010, 1:17 PM

Sept. 17, 2010 -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney accused the Obama administration Friday of committing an "assault on American values" and predicted that Democrats would pay dearly for it in November.

"One thing I know: America will repudiate Obama-style liberalism," Romney said at the annual Values Voters Summit in Washington, "and part of the reason for that is the abject failure of his first two years in office."

In a 20-minute stemwinder at the annual gathering of conservatives, Romney laced into the Obama administration for what he characterized as failures of all kinds -- from health care reform to the president's handling of the war in Afghanistan.

The former GOP presidential contender reserved some of his sharpest criticism for the White House's efforts on the economic front, asserting that "the administration has exploited the economic crisis instead of solving it."

"This president and his fellow travelers in Congress implemented the most anti-growth, anti-investment, anti-jobs measures we've seen in our lifetimes. He called it ambitious. I call it was reckless," Romney said. "He scared employers, so jobs are scarce. The uncertainty and lack of predictability that he created has caused businesses to shrink from spending and from hiring. He hasn't helped end the crisis, he made it deeper, longer and more painful."

Sounding every bit the presidential hopeful that he is likely to be in 2012, Romney said government "has declared war on free enterprise." The speech, in which he ridiculed "liberal values" and "counterfeit values," was easily Romney's harshest rebuke of Obama yet and it rallied a crowd friendly to his message.

The three-day conference, organized by the Family Research Council, opened Friday morning with appearances by some of the biggest names in conservative politics, including Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. and Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.

Friday's agenda also included an eagerly-anticipated panel with newly-minted Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, as well as a prime-time speech by Fox News host Sean Hannity.