ADVERTISEMENT

At the event, the president again targeted the House GOP budget proposal and mocked likely opponent Mitt Romney by name.

"I gave a speech on Tuesday about the congressional budget that’s been proposed by the Republicans in the House of Representatives — a budget that Governor Romney, who is the front-runner in the Republican side, has embraced. Said the budget was 'marvelous,' he said," Obama said to laughter. "And when you go through this budget, the vision that it portrays is of an America where everybody is fending for themselves, a few are doing very well at the top, and everybody else is struggling to get by."

The president went on to say the proposal, by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanNo time for the timid: The dual threats of progressives and Trump Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' MORE (R-Wis.), would undermine some of the core priorities — education, science research, early childhood education, caring for the environment, looking after veterans, keeping up with U.S> infrastructure, food safety — of the government.

"We are going to have a big and important debate in this country, and I cannot wait,” Obama said. “We have tried what they are selling. We tried what they are peddling and it did not work. We have spent the last three years cleaning up after some of that mess and I don’t want to do it again.”

Romney pushed back on the president's needling of his support for the Ryan budget as "marvelous" earlier Thursday.

Romney told Fox News Radio that there were "plenty of adjectives" he'd use to celebrate Republicans winning the White House in the fall.

"This has not been a good presidency and I think that's one of the reasons people want a change. And frankly, I can think of a lot of wonderful adjectives to describe how happy we will all be when we send Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden celebrates start of Hanukkah The massive messaging miscues of all the president's men (and women) 'Car guy' Biden puts his spin on the presidency MORE home," Romney said.