I want to move us along here to Susan Katz (ph) who has a question. And, Governor, it’s for you.
Governor Romney, I am an undecided voter because I’m disappointed with the lack of progress I’ve seen in the last four years. However, I do attribute much of America’s economic and international problems to the failings and missteps of the Bush administration. Since both you and President Bush are Republicans, I fear a return to the policies of those years should you win this election. What is the biggest difference between you and George W. Bush? And how do you differentiate yourself from George W. Bush?
Thank you. And I appreciate that question. I just want to make sure that -- I think I was supposed to get that last answer, but I want to point out that I don't believe --
I don't think so, Candy. I want to make sure your timekeepers are working here.
The time --
The timekeepers are all working.
And let me tell you that the last part, it’s for the two of you to talk to one another, and it isn’t quite as ordered as you think. But go ahead and use this two minutes any way you’d like to, the question is on the floor.
I’d just note that I don't believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell someone whether they can use contraceptives or not, and I don't believe employers should tell someone whether they could have contraceptive care or not. Every woman in America should have access to contraceptives. And the President’s statement of my policy is completely and totally wrong.
Governor, that's not true.
Let me come back and answer your question. President Bush and I are different people, and these are different times. And that's why my five-point plan is so different than what he would have done.
For instance, we can now by virtue of new technology actually get all the energy we need in North America without having to go to the Arabs or the Venezuelans or anyone else. That wasn’t true in his time. That's why my policy starts with a very robust policy to get all that energy in North America, become energy secure.
Number two, trade: I’ll crack down on China. President Bush didn't. I’m also going to dramatically expand trade in Latin America. It’s been growing about 12 percent per year over a long period of time. I want to add more free trade agreements so we’ll have more trade.
Number three, I’m going to get us to a balanced budget. President Bush didn't. President Obama was right -- he said that that was outrageous to have deficits as high as half a trillion dollars under the Bush years. He was right. But then he put in place deficits twice that size for every one of his four years, and his forecast for the next four years is more deficits almost that large. So that's the next way I’m different than President Bush.
And then let’s take the last one, championing small business. Our party has been focused on big business too long. I came through small business. I understand how hard it is to start a small business. That's why everything I’ll do is designed to help small businesses grow and add jobs. I want to keep their taxes down on small business. I want regulators to see their job as encouraging small enterprise, not crushing it.
And the thing I find most troubling about Obamacare -- well, it’s a long list -- but one of the things I find most troubling is that when you go out and talk to small businesses and ask them what they think about it, they tell you it keeps them from hiring more people.
My priority is jobs. I know how to make that happen. And President Bush had a very different path for a very different time. My path is designed in getting small businesses to grow and hire people.
Well, first of all, I think it’s important to tell you that we did come in during some tough times. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month when I started. But we have been digging our way out of policies that were misplaced and focused on the top doing very well and middle-class folks not doing well. And we’ve seen 30 consecutive -- 31 consecutive months of job growth, 5.2 million new jobs created. And the plans that I talked about will create even more.
But when Governor Romney says that he has a very different economic plan, the centerpiece of his economic plan are tax cuts. That’s what took us from surplus to deficit. When he talks about getting tough on China, keep in mind that Governor Romney invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing to China, and is currently investing in countries -- in companies that are building surveillance equipment for China to spy on its own folks.
Governor, you’re the last person who is going to get tough on China.
And what we’ve done when it comes to trade is not only sign three trade deals to open up new markets, but we’ve also set up a task force for trade that goes after anybody who is taking advantage of American workers or businesses, and not creating a level playing field. We’ve brought twice as many cases against unfair trading practices than the previous administration and we’ve won every single one that’s been decided.
When I said that we had to make sure that China was not flooding our domestic market with cheap tires, Governor Romney said I was being protectionist, that it wouldn’t be helpful to American workers. Well, in fact, we saved a thousand jobs. And that’s the kind of tough trade actions that are required.
But the last point I want to make is this: There are some things where Governor Romney is different from George Bush. George Bush didn’t propose turning Medicare into a voucher. George Bush embraced comprehensive immigration reform; he didn’t call for self-deportation. George Bush never suggested that we eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood.
So there are differences between Governor Romney and George Bush, but they’re not on economic policy. In some ways, he’s gone to a more extreme place when it comes to social policy. And I think that’s a mistake. That’s not how we’re going to move our economy forward.
I want to move you both along to the next question because it’s in the same wheelhouse so you will be able to respond. But the President does get this question. I want to call on Michael Jones.