SHREVEPORT, LA -- Mitt Romney said Friday afternoon that President Barack Obama should “apologize” to the American people for policies that the Republican presidential hopeful says have created “deficits that are too large” and “jobs that are too few.”
The remarks, delivered at the foot of a natural gas rig in northern Louisiana one day before this state’s primary, took the president to task over delaying construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada through the United States into Texas.
Thursday, Obama said he would speed permitting for construction of the southern half of the pipeline.
“This week he’s been taking credit for the lower half of the Keystone Pipeline being built. If I’m president, we’ll get the upper half built,” Romney said amid applause.
The Friday event was held in an area that has seen a flurry of natural gas exploration of the so-called Haynesville Shale, which runs underneath northwestern Louisiana and east Texas.
The setting seemed chosen at least in part to answer Obama’s own two-day tour this week of key swing states where the president defended his administration’s energy policies amid rising gasoline prices.
“I’m reminded of another tour he took at the beginning of his administration. Remember, he went around the Middle East and apologized for America,” Romney said, referring to a series of trips during 2009 that included a speech in Cairo that drew criticism from conservative corners of the foreign policy world.
“I think he’s got his tours backward,” Romney continued. “On his tour of the states here, where he’s been taking credit, he should have apologized for his policies.”
The event also marked the second time in one day that Romney addressed the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, a story that has ignited a national discussion about race and gun laws.
Calling Martin’s death a “terrible tragedy,” Romney told reporters here in Shreveport that it was appropriate for the district attorney to have called a grand jury investigation into the Feb. 26 shooting in Sanford, Florida.
The shooter, an armed neighborhood watchman, has not been arrested.
“Our hearts go out to his family, his loved ones, his friends,” Romney said about Martin's death. “This shouldn't have happened.”
In a written statement, Romney earlier called for an investigation into the shooting.
Romney’s statements came on the same day that Obama made his first comments on the case. Speaking to reporters from the White House Rose Garden during his announcement of a nominee for president of the World Bank, Obama said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”