ST. LOUIS (AP) - Mitt Romney ignored his GOP presidential rivals Tuesday as he asked Missouri voters to help him secure the party nomination and take on President Barack Obama this fall.
Romney told a St. Louis-area crowd of about 400 that Obama is content with high deficits and high gasoline prices.
The former Massachusetts governor repeated his promises to cut spending, create jobs and boost the military.
Romney did not refer directly or indirectly to his GOP rivals in his 15-minute speech under blue skies.
But he had the current occupant of the White House squarely in his sights.
“There’s a big difference between me and (Obama)…he seems content with running up a trillion dollar budget,” Romney told the partisan crowd. “How do we look at our kids and say ‘We passed on these trillions to you’? We will not do it if I’m president. We will cut federal spending and finally balance our budget!”
He chose to spend the day in Missouri, which holds caucuses Saturday, rather than in Alabama and Mississippi, where Republicans were voting Tuesday.
A Romney victory in either of those states could help solidify his claim as the likeliest nominee.
His first of two planned public events Tuesday was scheduled to last 50 minutes in the west county suburb of Kirkwood.
But he spoke only 15 minutes, took no questions, and began shaking hands and posing for photos with voters, before moving on to do one-on-one interviews with reporters.
Romney’s schedule called for him to spend much of Wednesday and Thursday raising money in New York before traveling to Puerto Rico on Friday. Puerto Rico’s Republican primary is Sunday.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved