CRAIG, CO -- Deep inside Colorado's coal country, Mitt Romney on Tuesday accused President Obama of grasping for a "twig" to hold onto as evidence the administration's economic policies had succeeded.
Romney said that, if he were elected, he would usher in a more business-friendly administration before a crowd of several hundred supporters gathered for a rally in Craig's rustic downtown.
"Now [President Obama's] campaign these days is trying to find a twig to hang on to, some little excuse they can grab and say, ‘Look, things are getting a little better, aren’t they?’ And the answer is yeah, things are getting a little better in a lot of places in this country, but it’s not thanks to his policies. It’s in spite of his policies," Romney said.
The presumptive GOP nominee continued: "You see, every recession ultimately comes to an end, but you’d expect that this deep recession might come back to an aggressive turnaround, but it didn’t happen."
The former Massachusetts governor's campaign has said his focus this week would be on an administration "hostile" to business, and Romney pressed this thesis during today's rally as well.
"Government sees small business and big business as the enemy. We’re not the enemy. Some of these liberals say they like a strong economy but then they act like they don’t like business. An economy is nothing but the collection of all of our businesses together," Romney said. "I want our government to support small business, middle-size business, big business. I want jobs. I want government that’s an ally of business not an enemy of business.”
Romney, who will likely clinch the nomination with the results of tonight's primary in Texas, also continued to lash the president's energy policy; his remarks found a welcome audience composed of roughly 150 coal workers, dressed in dirty overalls and hard hats.
"He said he was going to create some 5 million green energy jobs. Have you seen those around here anywhere?" No, as a matter of fact he's going after energy," Romney said of the president. "He says he for all of the above when it comes for energy, you heard that. And yet he's made it harder to get coal out of the ground, he's made it harder to get natural gas out of the ground, he's made it harder to get oil out of the ground."
But Romney's pessimism about energy and the economy was not echoed by the citizens of Craig (Population roughly 10,000. Elevation: 6,185 feet) who came out in droves to see the Republican candidate, and listen to a local high school band cover pop hits on a glorious Colorado morning. A number of residents described for reporters a recovering economy based on hunting and fishing, and coal mining and oil exploration along the western slope.