Mitt Romney Directs New Attack at Rick Perry, Telling Him ‘Deficits Matter’

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Rick Perry will face a new round of criticism Thursday from Mitt Romney, who will stress a simple economic message to the Texas governor that “deficits matter.”

Romney’s new line of attack comes days after Perry suggested he is less concerned about how his economic plan will affect the federal deficit in the short term and more focused on creating incentives for job creators to spur hiring in the country.

“I’m less worried about whether or not we’ve got some budget holes to fill in the early years than I am getting the confidence of the job creators that they can actually go out and risk their capital and have a chance to have a return on their investment and create jobs,” Perry told the New Hampshire Union Leader in an interview Friday.

“If Rick Perry thinks deficits don’t matter, then he’s no different than President Obama. Deficits matter,” Lanhee Chen, policy director for Romney for President, said in a press release. “His opinion shouldn’t surprise anyone, though — in Texas, Governor Perry covered up his massive budget deficit with billions of dollars from the very same Obama stimulus he claimed to oppose. Governor Perry’s deficit-expanding plan is not what Iowa or the rest of the country needs at a time of trillion-dollar budget shortfalls and exploding national debt.”

In an interview on Fox News Sunday, Perry dismissed the suggestion that “even conservative think tanks” argue his “Cut, Balance and Grow” plan, which centers upon an optional 20 percent flat tax, will actually expand the federal deficit, and he defended any loss of revenue which might occur as a result of the plan.

“There’s nothing wrong with lower revenue. I think Americans are ready for Washington, D.C. to quit spending money,” Perry said, adding that his plan promises to balance the budget by 2020.

“No one else on the stage is laying off on a plan. Mitt Romney basically just nibbles around the edges. He leaves the rates where they are. Mr. Cain’s plan, it creates two new sources of revenue. I don’t want more revenue in Washington, D.C.’s hands. I want more revenue in the private sector, job creators’ hands, and American citizens out there. I guarantee you, they’ll make better decisions about how to spend that money than Washington, D.C,” he said.

Critics have called Perry’s economic proposal a “deficit buster” and one that will force the deficit “into the stratosphere.”

When he has not honed in on critiquing President Obama, Romney has directed the majority of his attacks this campaign cycle towards the Texas governor, despite Perry’s drop in the polls and lack of solid debate performances.

The former Massachusetts governor has gone after Perry, who the Romney campaign characterizes as a “career politician” on issues such as in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants, Social Security, and the high unemployment rate in his home state of Texas.

Perry has reciprocated the criticism, most recently hitting Romney on hiring a company which employed illegal immigrants and for supporting a cap on CO2 emissions while serving as governor of Massachusetts.

As he jabs at Perry for not stressing the importance of the deficit, Romney is focusing the end of his week on outlining his fiscal policy, which will be previewed at a speech in Exeter, New Hampshire Thursday, where he also will receive the endorsement of New Hampshire State Senator Russell Prescott.

On Friday Romney will deliver a fiscal policy speech to the Americans for Prosperity “Defending the American Dream Summit” in Washington, D.C.

Perry campaigns in Iowa for the remainder of the week, hosting a town hall in Johnston, Iowa Thursday and participating in the Republican Party of Iowa Ronald Reagan Dinner in Des Moines Friday evening.