BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney lashed out at President Obama Wednesday for campaign comments made about entrepreneurs who have achieved business success.
"If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen," Romney quoted the president as saying at a Virginia rally on Friday. "What he's saying is if they built something, they didn't really built it. It was the government that takes responsibility."
The comments came during a town hall meeting at the Bowling Green Community Center in northwestern Ohio attended by an estimated 600 GOP supporters. Romney spoke for 15 minutes, then took eight questions from audience members.
It was Romney's 13th campaign appearance in the Buckeye State and many more visits are expected before votes are cast in the fall.
The president's comment took center stage during the Romney rally. Romney had men and women that started businesses stand and be recognized. Many carried signs critical of the President's words. Romney had his own take on the matter.
"To say that means Steve Jobs didn't build Apple Computers, Bill Gates didn't grow MIcrosoft, Henry Ford didn't build the Ford Motor Company," he said. "America's economy runs on freedom. It is not driven by government. It's driven by free people pursuing their dreams."
Romney again said President Obama has thrown a number of hurdles at businesses to keep them from growing. Taxes are too high, there are too many regulations and it's tough for business owners to get credit.
"His policies have hurt job creation, not helped," he said. "This is the height of foolishness. He's out of touch. He's out of ideas. He's out of excuses and that's why in November we've got to get him out of office."
When it came time to outline what a Romney administration would look like and what his agenda would contain, Romney repeated five areas he's mentioned several times before.
* Open up U.S. energy exploration for oil, goal and gas.
* Create new markets for goods
* Pay down the federal debt and balance the budget
* Make sure today's workers and kids in school have the skills they need
* Restore economic freedom
"This election about the soul of America is whether we're going to believe in an America that's dominated by government -- we're going to have a president that believes government is at the center of America, the nucleus of our economy, or whether we're going to have a president like me who believes in the vision of the Founding Fathers who gave us our rights and those rights include our freedom to pursue happiness as we choose."
The eight audience questions ranged from restoring the home construction market to the status of Social Security and Medicare for senior citizens.
One woman wanted to know who Romney was going to pick as the vice presidential nominee because she wanted to make sure that person was a fiscal conservative who believed in the principles of the Tea Party.
"It will be a conservative who will believe in conservative principles," Romney said, adding he hasn't yet made up his mind on the choice.
Many media outlets reported Wednesday that Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Terrace Park will be the nominee.
A mother raised her hand and stood next to her son. She said he created his own business that grew into a string of stores and many employees.
"Then in this awful economy Obama created, he had to lay off people and close stores," she said. "The guy in the White House is a monster who has no business trying to destroy what my son created."
Romney replied that the Obama years have not been good for business with few exceptions -- one of them being if you're a large campaign contributor you might get a government guarantee or loan.
"If I'm president I'll go to work every day to make sure our economy comes back," he told the mother and son.
Answering a question about Social Security and Medicare, Romney said both are going to be there for senior citizens or those who have retired. Then, he pointed to a pair of young children and said the programs won't exist for them until changes are made.