Wannabe presidents blame current president for downturn

Five Republican presidential candidates hammered on regulations, taxes and President Obama at a manufacturing forum Tuesday in Iowa, calling for major cuts to those areas and aiming to pin the worldwide economic downturn on the president.

Newt Gingrich

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich leveled particularly harsh criticism at Obama, saying he’s personally hurt the economy by attacking job creators.

“This country has been maniacally anti-jobs,” Gingrich said. “Obama is a left-wing radical who believes in class warfare and then he’s surprised that everybody who he’s attacking doesn’t create jobs.”

Gingrich then asked, “what did he think was going to happen?”

“You can’t go around the country and blame everybody who creates jobs and then say now gee, why didn’t you go out and take risk with your capital and spend the next five years of your lives creating jobs so I can attack you even more?” Gingrich said.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry offered a similar evaluation, saying people have lost confidence in the federal government and are not willing to risk capital to invest in potential job-creating ventures.

“Let’s quit penalizing Americans for making money, quit fighting this fight that we’re fighting on divisions between those that have money and those that don’t,” he said. “I want everybody to have more money.”

Rick Santorum

And Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) also stuck the country’s economic woes on Obama, saying repealing federal health care reform legislation he championed would be a major step toward recovery.

“I think one of the biggest things we can do is repeal Obamacare,” he said. “That is a job crusher that is creating all sorts of uncertainty.”

Santorum called for eliminating the corporate income tax and allowing for tax-free repatriation of corporate profits being held overseas – estimated at more than $1 trillion – if the money is used to invest in job creation.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) also called for no taxes on repatriated profits, but said companies should be able to use them however they want.

Bachmann said the biggest problem businesses have right now is uncertainty. She wants a moratorium on regulations, and to see health care reform repealed.

“That’s the biggest problem business has right now,” Bachmann said. “They have no idea what’s going to come out of Washington, D.C. when they wake up in the morning. And that’s why we need to have an immediate moratorium on regulations. It’s killing us.”

Ron Paul

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said he’d like to see no taxes on repatriated profits and a 15 percent corporate tax rate.

“I want it very low because in many ways, they thinkā€¦if you lower corporate taxes only the executive is going to benefit,” Paul said. “But the consumer benefits too. Corporate taxes are a form of a sales tax, and if they’re competitive they have to pass this on.”

But Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee, says the Republican candidates have it wrong. The group claims Obama has worked hard to get rid of undue regulations, and the regulations that have been put in place are meant to protect taxpayers and close loopholes.

A recent review from Bloomberg found Obama has put in place fewer regulations than former President George W. Bush had at this point in his tenure.

National frontrunners Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not attend the forum, held in Pella.