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Romney offers prebuttal to Obama economic speech at CEO lunch

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But Romney warned Wednesday that while the president "will speak eloquently, words are cheap."

"In my view, this has been a tepid and unfortunate recovery for the American people. It means more people out of work — more people out of work — and that breaks my heart," Romney told the crowd.

The former Massachusetts governor went on to caution voters not to be swept up in the president's arguments.

"His rhetoric will be soaring and eloquent. But I suggest looking at the record instead of the words," Romney said.

The event, held at Washington's Newseum, was hosted by Business Roundtable, an association of leading corporate CEOs. Around 100 were in attendance for Romney's remarks and a subsequent closed-press question and answer session.

Romney said he hoped to signal to the business leaders that his administration would represent a shift in attitude toward corporate America.

"Government has to be the partner, the friend, the ally, the supporter of enterprise, not the enemy," Romney said, later adding that "the job of the government as it relates to the economy is to make America the most attractive place in the world for entrepreneurs, innovators, and job creators."

He also chastised the president for suggesting that the wealthiest Americans — some of whom were in attendance — should pay higher income tax rates.

"Shame on anybody who things we're going to divide the country based on success," Romney said.

Romney will also campaign Thursday Ohio, holding a campaign event in the Cincinnati area in the afternoon.

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