Published: May 16, 2012 8:57 PM EDT
Updated: May 16, 2012 11:01 PM EDT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney returned to Florida Wednesday for a two-day campaign swing.

His first event was in St. Petersburg, not far from where he expects to accept the Republican nomination for president this summer. Wednesday's focus was the economy, and continuing his criticism of President Obama.

"This presidency has been a disappointment, and the people who have been hurt by this disappointment are the American people, and that's why we're going to get him out of office come November," Romney told a crowd of supporters.

A ticking debt clock as a backdrop illustrated Romney's claim that the economy has gotten worse under President Obama.

Romney echoed his campaign theme of the week, comparing the faltering economy to a raging prairie fire that he says can't be ignored.

"It's high time we had a President who will stop this spending and borrowing inferno, and I will, I'll get the job done," he said.

Romney pledged to balance the budget, which he says will reduce the debt, and attract businesses and jobs. He says that can happen by streamlining wasteful federal programs, giving training programs as an example. He says many of those programs can be combined or eliminated, and that power-- and money-- turned over to the states.

"I want to take those dollars, put them together and give them to the state of Florida and say you create the program that's best for your people that puts people to work," he said.

Romney drew cheers among the mostly older crowd when he talked about preserving social security and medicare; but young voters were there too, including Jason White, who drove up from Lee County.

"If he sees an accurate representation of young people, that could be an encouragement to him," White said.

The Obama campaign released some of its own criticism of Romney to coincide with his Florida visit, specifically with the space program. The president's campaign team claims Romney has supported Republican budget plans that would undermine the future of the space program.

Romney is also set to have events in Jacksonville Thursday.