In Colo., Romney to hit Obama for lack of vision, economy 'shifting into reverse'

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Accusing Obama of "empty rhetoric" and "a lot of excuses," Fehrnstrom said that Romney's five-point economic plan would "contrast with President Obama's lack of any policy agenda at all."

Fehrnstrom also said Romney would introduce a "presidential accountability scorecard" that would measure Obama against promises he made during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Colorado in 2008. 

"Voters in Massachusetts appreciated having a leader who was not afraid of being held accountable," Fehrnstrom said, adding the "scorecard" was based on an endeavor Romney undertook as governor to judge his own term.

The push by the Romney campaign — Thursday will mark the candidate's first stops back on the trail since his weeklong overseas trip — is also intended as a rebuttal of Obama's recent attacks on the Republican candidate's tax plan. 

During a pair of campaign stops Wednesday, the president cited a new report from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that concludes a tax plan similar to the one proposed by Romney "would provide large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers." On Thursday, the Obama campaign released a new commercial citing the study.

But Fehrnstrom blasted the report as "a joke" and said it "doesn't take into effect elements of the governor's plan that will have positive" effects on economic growth.

"There are serious problems with the authorship of that study, and the methodology," the Romney aide added. "It was co-authored by a member of the Obama White House."

Jonathan Burks, Romney's deputy policy director, added that the study used "static scoring" that did not adequately account for other stimulative proposals championed by the governor — but did admit that the campaign wouldn't provide "a 2,000-page tax plan that can be scored."

It remains to be seen whether Romney's middle-class focus will help him repel the attack from Team Obama. Many of the elements highlighted by the Romney team — the presidential scorecard and five-point economic plans — are admittedly a rehash of what the presumptive Republican nominee has already been arguing on the stump.

"We're going to be reintroducing a lot of the policies that came out a year ago," Fehrnstrom acknowledged, saying many voters were just now tuning in to follow the race.

Romney's policy team did make a new pledge Thursday, however, declaring that under his administration, the country would be energy-independent by 2020. Pressed on how that would be possible, Romney's advisers suggested a mix of new energy infrastructure, along with natural-gas and clean coal mining, could make the goal achievable.

"There's a lot of energy here in the United States," Burks said.