WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) - Mitt Romney said Friday the nation's economy is recovering but blamed President Barack Obama for presiding over the "most anemic and tepid" comeback since the Great Depression.
It was a familiar theme for Romney, who faced the public for the first time since declaring himself the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting earlier in the week. The former Massachusetts governor ignored news released by the Commerce Department earlier in the day that the nation's recovery may be slowing.
"The president is going to want to take credit for the economy getting better, and I am convinced it will get better. Every recession ends. Every recession ultimately becomes a recovery," he told students and supporters gathered at Otterbein University in central Ohio.
Romney added: "This just happens to be the most anemic and tepid recovery we've seen since Hoover." President Herbert Hoover was in office when the stock market crashed in October 1929 and, as the nation struggled amid an economic depression, lost re-election to Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932.
The Commerce Department estimated that the economy grew at 2.2 percent over the first three months of the year. That's compared to 3 percent growth in the previous three months.
Romney offered a more measured tone than he had in the final weeks of the competitive phase of the GOP primary season. He did not mention Obama by name in a speech that spanned more than 40 minutes, although he condemned the president's policies that target the wealthy.
"I will try and unite the American people, not divide us," he said.
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