Romney, seeking contrast to Obama, says Americans are not lazy

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Obama also noted "there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity: our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture."

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who participated in the event, rejected the used of the word “lazy” during a White House briefing the following day. But the country can “always” work harder to attract foreign business, he said.

Romney’s campaign quickly attacked Obama over the comment, accusing Obama of blaming Americans “for his own mishandling of the economy” in a press release.

“The American people are not lazy, Mr. President — but this White House has been lazy and soft, unable to do anything to turn the economy around,” said Romney’s communications director, Gail Gitcho.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) also slammed Obama for the criticism in a statement on Monday, saying he and other state governors “are working hard to build jobs in this way.”

Scott added, “Every day my focus is on attracting new businesses and jobs to Florida.”

Scott and Romney both blamed the policies of the Obama administration for building what Scott called “obstacles to job creation.”

Romney has emphasized his private-sector business experience as a main pillar in his presidential campaign and has repeatedly pledged to protect the middle class and make it “good” again.

America is “being held down today by a government that is too big,” Romney said, speaking at a campaign stop in South Carolina. “I can't wait to get to the White House to be able to return America to the people of America.”