By NBC's Garrett Haake
NASHUA, NH -- In his most forceful language yet, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney today assailed President Obama, saying the president's lack of leadership will be to blame if the congressional Super Committee fails to generate a workable debt plan before Wednesday's deadline.
"What's most disappointing about that is that our president has had no involvement with the process," Romney said. "I find extraordinary that there would be set up a committee with such an important mission as finding a way to provide fiscal sanity in America and with the penalty if that fiscal sanity is not found of a $600 billion cut to our military."
He added, "I would have anticipated that the president of the United States would have spent every day and many nights working with members of the Super Committee trying to find a way to bridge the gap, but instead he's been out doing other things -- campaigning and blaming and traveling. This is, in my view, inexcusable."
As he wrapped up his speech to employees at defense contractor BAE Systems here, Romney used even more rhetorical flourish to decry the defense budget cuts that would occur should the Super Committee fail to reach a deal.
"They set this trap by saying we're going to cut the military by $600 billion," Romney said of the automatic cuts that would happen if the Super Committee did not reach a deal. "With the world that's a dangerous place, we're going to put the military on the chopping block. It's like holding a gun to your own head. I can't imagine the circumstance that ever makes any sense at all. Then with that as the possible outcome, you have a president who didn't get involved in the process."
Yesterday, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt pushed back against Romney's repeated attacks on the issue, saying the former Massachusetts governor had let Congress off the hook for their failures, and that policies which Romney supports led to the debt crisis in the first place.
"Mitt Romney rejected asking the wealthiest for a dime to reduce the deficit -- instead, his plan would give them more tax cuts -- and he would leave our troops in Iraq indefinitely," LaBolt said in a statement. "That's the approach that led to the recession and created the deficit in the first place. While President Obama laid out a balanced approach to reduce the deficit by $3 trillion, Mitt Romney now wants to absolve Congress of any responsibility to act."
The back-and-forth between Romney and the President comes one day before President Obama visits the Granite State, where Romney's campaign has largely been centered, and where he picked up another congressional endorsement today.
Rep. Charlie Bass, of New Hampshire's 2nd District, announced his support from Romney this morning, becoming the second of the state's three-person Republican congressional delegation to do so in the last 48 hours. Sen. Kelly Ayotte endorsed Romney at a rally in Nashua yesterday.
(Interestingly, Bass today told reporters that he supports getting new revenue out of debt deal. He added that he and Romney don't have to agree on everything.)
Speaking to a group of some 75 employees of BAE, Romney focused his message on defense and foreign affairs. He praised the controversial -- and costly -- next-generation Joint Strike fighter, whose electronic systems are built by BAE, as an "extraordinary piece of equipment" and "desperately needed" to keep America's potential enemies at bay.
Romney also painted a dark picture of a changing world, with a "fragile" Pakistan on the verge of failure, a rising China and a resurgent Russia, and called for President Obama to halt any future defense cuts before they lead to a "doomsday" scenario.
"In a setting like this, this is no time for the United States of America to withdraw its commitment to a powerful and strong military," Romney said. "And a doomsday scenario for our military is not the right course, given where the world is headed. I actually think that there is a battle going on among the various players on the world stage to reshape the planet in their own way, to their own liking."