GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney used a speech to the National Rifle Association Friday as a de-facto opener for the 2012 general election, assailing President Barack Obama for limiting freedom and opportunity.
"The Obama administration's assault on our economic freedom is the principal reason why the recovery has been so tepid - why it couldn't meet their projections, let alone our expectations," the GOP presumptive nominee said.
Romney's closest rival, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, suspended his campaign earlier this week. Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other top congressional Republicans were all scheduled to speak at the NRA meeting in Missouri.
Obama, who was on his way to Colombia for a Latin America leaders summit, spent part of this week pushing his plan for the so-called "Buffett Rule," which would raise the tax rates for millionaires and somewhat less for households making above $250,000.
At a stop in Florida before he left the country, Obama said the 2012 election represents a "fundamental choice" facing America over taxes.
"We should build an economy where everyone is playing by the same set of rules," Obama said in a speech in Tampa.
These remarks came the same day Obama released his 2011 tax returns, showing he had an adjusted gross income of $789,674 and paid $162,074 in federal taxes. The White House noted that Obama's effective tax rate is 20.5 percent and highlighted the president's own policies would result in higher taxes for the Obama family.
Obama and other Democrats have challenged Romney to release his returns from past years. On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden used a campaign speech to suggest Romney wants a "Romney Rule" that would enrich millionaires at the expense of the middle class.
by RTT Staff Writer
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