DES MOINES, IOWA—Mitt Romney cast President Obama as an enemy of capitalism Tuesday in a speech at Drake University, calling the president an “old-school liberal whose first instinct is to see free enterprise as the villain and government as the hero.”
To illustrate his point, the presumptive Republican nominee referenced the smart phones audience members used to capture his remarks.
“Blackberry got things going, and then Apple introduced the iPhone, and now the Android platform is leading the market,” Romney said. “In the world of free enterprise, competition brings us better and better products at lower and lower cost. That’s the whole idea. Not because they’re all smarter but because there are so many people competing with ideas, trying to come up with better ways to come up with better products. And the customer—that’s us, by the way—is who benefits from all this.”
The federal government, Romney argued, has no serious competitor and therefore has little incentive to be better and more efficient. If the government were the only legal supplier of cell phones, he said, they would not yet be in the market but would be floundering in congressional hearings.
Once approved, Romney joked, cell phones would be “the size of a shoe, with a collapsible solar panel attached to them. And, of course, campaign donors would be lining up to see who could get appointed to become the App Czar.”
They were new words set to a familiar tune. Romney pledged to make the government “simpler, smaller, smarter,” repeating an earlier promise to cap federal spending at 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.
He vowed again to repeal Obama’s health care law and said he would reform Medicare and Social Security, without delving into specific strategies. Romney also railed against government bailouts and entitlements, appealing to the old-fashioned, frontier spirit of the Midwest.
“When the men and women who settled the Iowa prairie saw a fire in the distance, they didn’t look around for someone else to save them or go back to sleep and hope the wind might change directions,” he said. “They knew that survival was up to them. A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and across the nation, and every day that we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and the children we love.”Callum Borchers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.