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Romney to Obama: 'I'm here to collect'

PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Call him the collector.

AP

Mitt Romney (R) speaks to workers at New England Small Tube in Litchfield, N.H.

Citing an appearance on NBC’s TODAY show -- shortly after President Obama's inauguration -- in which the president said if he hadn't turned the economy around in three years it could be a one-term proposition, Mitt Romney said, "I agree with that. And I'm here to collect."

He made the comments in a town hall here focused on the economy before a friendly crowd of about 60, mostly seniors, on this dreary stormy day. Most of the questions had to do with tax and energy policy.

Despite his criticism of Obama, Romney did say, "I know he loves America.”

In a speech more heavily peppered with personal anecdotes than usual, the governor quoted from a Samuel Walter Foss poem he found stirring, “The Coming American”:

"Bring me men to match my mountains / Bring me men to match my plains / Men with empires in their purpose / And new eras in their brains."

This morning Romney spoke to employees and reporters at a small tube factory in Litchfield, N.H., where he delivered sharp criticism of the president's current bus tour, which his campaign has called the "Magical Misery Tour."

"I think the American people would rather see him in Washington working on getting this economy going again," Romney told reporters. "He seems to be more intent on trying to save his job than to try and create jobs for the American people."

Asked repeatedly for his impressions about the newest competitor in the race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Romney did not directly critique Perry, but did once again underline his own private-sector experience in contrast with Perry's 26-year run in elected office of some kind.  

"I can tell you that my jobs record is not just from four years as governor,” Romney said, “but from 25 years in the private sector."