Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sharply criticized President Obama on Thursday on the national unemployment rate, saying he has not done enough to address the "tragedy."

"Our high unemployment is a tragedy for millions, and it is a tragedy for America," Romney, a potential Republican candidate for president, wrote in an op-ed for USA Today.


The unemployment rate stood at 8.9 percent at the end of February. The new number for March is due Friday.

The Obama administration has claimed progress in recent months in its effort to create jobs, but Republicans complain that the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high, especially compared to the jobless figures the White House had projected when it estimated the effects of its stimulus.

"President Obama didn't cause the recession, but he made it worse and caused it to last longer," Romney wrote. "From the outset, he inaugurated the most anti-investment, anti-business, anti-jobs policies we have seen since Jimmy Carter. Further, the White House has still not crafted any discernible plan to put Americans back to work."

Jobs are sure to be a top issue in the 2012 campaign, and Romney has made a play squarely for voters concerned about the economy.