* Republican says Obama added millions to food stamp rolls
* Romney cites U.S. Agriculture Department report
WEST LEBANON, N.H., Sept 5 Republican
presidential candidate Mitt Romney blasted U.S. President Barack
Obama over the size of the national debt and the record number
of Americans on food stamps, in a jab on the eve of a major
speech by the Democrat.
Romney said "two big numbers out this week" prove that
Americans are not better off than when Obama took office in
"We've gone from $10 trillion that the president inherited
from all prior presidents to $16 trillion," Romney told
reporters in the swing state of New Hampshire. The Treasury
Department this week announced that the public debt had
surpassed $16 trillion.
"The other number's forty-seven. Forty-seven million now on
food stamps. When he came to office there were 32 million. He's
added 15 million people," Romney said.
He was referring to an Agriculture Department report on
Tuesday that showed the number of people on food stamps jumped
to a record high of 46.7 million in June.
Romney has stayed mostly off the campaign trail this week,
preparing for presidential debates while the Democrats hold
their national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The former Massachusetts governor said he did not watch
first lady Michelle Obama's speech to the Democratic National
Convention on Tuesday night, but said he thinks, "She's done a
fine job as our first lady."
"I'm certainly not going to make any comments about the
first lady's speech other than I respect her and she's a lovely
person and a fine mom," Romney said.
Michelle Obama asked voters to give her husband four more
years to fix the U.S. economy in an impassioned speech. Obama
himself makes an address to the convention on Thursday night to
accept the Democratic presidential nomination.
When asked how the debate preparation is going, Romney joked
that Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman, who is standing in as
Obama during the mock debates, was a tough opponent.
"I'm just glad I won't be debating Rob Portman in the final
debates. He's good," Romney said.