By Geneva Sands - 05/24/12 02:07 PM EDT
President Obama continued to hammer Mitt Romney on the campaign trail Wednesday, saying the likely GOP nominee had "drawn the wrong lessons" from his work at private-equity firm Bain Capital.
"My opponent in this election, Gov. Romney, is a patriotic American. He's raised a wonderful family. He should be proud of the great personal success he's had as the CEO of a large financial firm. But I think he’s drawn the wrong lessons from his experience,” said Obama at fundraiser in Denver. “His working assumption is CEOs and wealthy investors like him get rich, then the rest of us automatically will, too."
Obama derided his rival for giving a woman in Iowa an "answer right out of an economic textbook" when she told Romney of her financial difficulties.
"He said, 'Our productivity equals our income.' And the notion was that somehow the reason people can’t pay their bills is because they’re not working hard enough. If they got more productive, suddenly their incomes would go up. Well, those of us who’ve spent time in the real world know that the problem isn’t that the American people aren’t productive enough — you’ve been working harder than ever," said Obama.
Obama's "real world" comment drew laughter from the crowd, as the Romney campaign frequently criticizes the president, as well as Vice President Biden, for their lack of real-world business experience.
"The challenge we face right now, and the challenge we’ve faced for over a decade, is that harder work has not led to higher incomes, and bigger profits at the top haven’t led to better jobs," Obama added.
Romney hit back on the "productivity" remarks Thursday morning, telling "Fox and Friends" he was "amazed” that the president “doesn't know what productivity means."
"I'm afraid he doesn't understand what the word ‘productivity’ means. Gosh, this is quite a revelation if you have the president of the United States that doesn't understand that productivity is a measure of output per person in the nation as a whole, and is driven by such things as the level of automation in a society, the extent to which the government encourages output and production — it's not just a measure of how hard people are working," Romney said.
Later Wednesday, Obama traveled to California, where he spoke at two additional fundraisers, including one at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, where he reiterated his critique of Romney.
Obama said Romney didn’t understand “that a healthy economy doesn’t just mean maximizing the profits of some.” “That’s important. That’s part of our free market, but not if it’s purchased at the cost of massive layoffs, not if your main strategy is busting unions," he said, according to a White House transcript of his comments.