Mitt Romney took to the stage in Utah Wednesday night where he bashed both parties for failing to address the nation's problems and emphasized the need to address poverty, amidst a whirlwind of speculation that he’ll run for president once again in 2016.

“The major challenges that this country faces are not being dealt with by leaders in Washington," the 2012 GOP nominee for president said, according to the Deseret News in Salt Lake City.


"Both sides of the aisle, we just haven't been able to take on and try and make progress on the major issues of our day." 

Speculation has mounted since the former Massachusetts governor told donors earlier this month that he is weighing a third consecutive bid. He didn’t directly address those rumors during his speech in Salt Lake City, titled “A night with Mitt Romney: Learning to navigate today’s economy.” But he admitted last week at the Republican National Committee’s meeting that he’s giving “serious consideration to the future.”

Democrats criticized Romney in 2012 for being out of touch with the middle class, using his business experience against him. During his speech Wednesday, he said that failing to address poverty is a  “crime to these poor families who deserve better” and that “conservative principles will make people wealthier and create better opportunity overall,” according to the News and a video from KUTV News in Salt Lake City.

Romney also jumped right into another contentious issue for the GOP: climate change. On the same day that Republican Senators voted down a politically-charged, Democratic-sponsored amendment that said that “human activity significantly contributes” to climate change, Romney took a different approach. 

"I'm one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that," Romney said, according to the Associated Press. He then added that lawmakers need to be stronger on the issue.

The News said he also spent a significant amount of his speech using charts to explain the national debt and warn that it will keep climbing unless lawmakers enact a dramatic change.

Romney also slammed his former opponent, President Obama, according to the KUTV video.

“His proposals will not help people recognize the future can be brighter for them,” he said.

While in Utah, Romney plans to meet with another potential 2016 candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, according to multiple media reports. That meeting is expected to happen sometime this week.

The AP also said that Romney told the audience he is now a registered Utah voter after building a home outside Salt Lake City.