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Romney hits Obama on economy, S&P downgrade

CONCORD, NH -- At a Chamber of Commerce roundtable and brief press conference beforehand, Mitt Romney wasted no time in hammering President Obama's handling of the economy.

"I'm afraid the president is just out of his depth at understanding how the private economy works." Romney told reporters here.

He also said Obama turned Harry Truman's axiom on its head by placing blame for the S&P downgrade on Congress, saying that the new motto for this White House should be: "The buck stops somewhere else."

In a Q&A session with local business leaders, Romney explained his usual seven-point economic plan, and also maintained his support for New Hampshire becoming a right-to-work state. A bill was passed by the New Hampshire legislature earlier this summer, but vetoed by the state's Democratic governor.

In his remarks today, Romney also landed what also might have been a faint jab at Texas Gov. Rick Perry in discussing his Massachusetts health-care law, which he said would never have worked in some other states -- naming only Texas specifically -- where the rate of uninsured is so much higher.

Romney may also have coined a new phrase for future stump speeches. In criticizing the vitriol that has been a mainstay of Washington debate lately, he encouraged President Obama to reach across the aisle and stop what Romney called the "blame presidency."

And answering a question from reporters, Romney shrugged off criticism that he had been absent during the debt debate in Washington.

"I didn’t react day-to-day to every negotiation, because my position was clear. 'Cut, Cap, and Balance' was the right way for America to deal with this financial distress," he said. "You just can’t keep on planning to spend massively more money than you take in and expect that down the road America’s balance sheet is going to sustain a viable economy."