WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney, speaking before a group of high-powered business leaders on Wednesday, heightened his criticism of President Obama, accusing the Democratic incumbent of implementing “the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs series of policies in modern American history.”

“I want America to be the home to the best job-creating machine in the world,” Romney said to the Business Roundtable in downtown Washington. “Government has to be the partner, the friend, the ally, the supporter of enterprise. Not the enemy.”

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The economy has taken center stage in the presidential race and will be a major topic on Thursday. Romney and Obama will both be in the key swing state of Ohio, and Obama is expected to deliver a speech focused on the economy. His address comes a week after he said that the private sector was “doing fine,” a comment that Republicans have characterized as out of touch.

Romney attempted to disparage Obama’s remarks before they are even delivered.

“My own view is, he will speak eloquently,” Romney said. “But the words are cheap.”

Romney also tried to counter charges from Democrats that his policies are in line with President George W. Bush’s and will only take the country backward.

“I’m not going back to a prior time,” Romney said. “This is a new time.”

But Romney did pledge to undo many of the policies that have been implemented under President Obama. He would repeal the health care law, he said, if the Supreme Court doesn’t rule it unconstitutional first. He would change the country’s energy policies and open up more federal lands for drilling oil. The National Labor Relations Board, Romney said, would either be “restructured” or “repeopled.”

Romney also criticized the Dodd-Frank law that was meant to crack down on practices in the financial sector that could threaten the nation’s overall economy.

“This was an overreach – taking advantage of a crisis to do things that a lot of staff members, and I’m sure legislators, wanted to carry out,” Romney said. He said some regulations should remain in place but didn’t specify which ones.

Romney stayed to take questions. But following his 28-minute address—held at the Newseum, which is situated between the US Capitol and the White House – reporters were escorted out of the room and weren’t allowed to listen to the questions.

Shortly after the remarks, President Obama’s campaign criticized the speech for making “dishonest after dishonest claim.” Obama has recently tried to draw attention to Romney’s record during his four-year term as governor, when Massachusetts ranked 47th in the nation in job creation.

“American can’t afford Romney economics,” said Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith.