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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 RyanFormer Speaker Boehner's official portrait unveiled Krystal Ball issues warning to Biden supporters Saagar Enjeti: Crenshaw's conservatism will doom future of GOP 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 ObamaThe Memo: Centrists change tone of Democratic race Political purity tests are for losers Deportations lower under Trump administration than Obama: report MORE home," Romney said.