Hmm. Looks like Mitt Romney might have given up on these here parts. A RealClearPolitics average of recent polls puts Obama up by 17.2 points in California, and while campaigning in Iowa today, the candidate jokingly compared the state to Greece. And he wasn't talking about the sunny beaches, either. (Watch CSPAN's video of Romney's Iowa speech here. The California remark occurs around 13:50 of the video.)
AP reports on the jest...
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took a potshot at California's bedraggled economy, comparing it to the crisis in Greece, as he warned voters on Wednesday that Barack Obama is leading the nation down a similar path of huge debt.
"Entrepreneurs and business people around the world and here at home think that at some point America is going to become like Greece or like Spain or Italy, or like California - just kidding about that one, in some ways," he added, to laughter from his audience in Iowa.
The remark seemed likely to bruise egos in a state wrestling with the prospect of tax increases and painful budget cuts. But Romney may have little to lose there - polls show Obama with a comfortable lead in California, where Democrats control the governorship and the Statehouse.
A spokesman for California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, disputed Romney's assessment. Gil Duran said the state's credit outlook has improved under Brown and that borrowing costs, a major issue facing Italy and other financially struggling European nations, have dropped by hundreds of millions of dollars.
"This is just a paper-thin Republican talking point that doesn't really stand up to scrutiny" Duran said. "He should get some better speechwriters who actually know what they're talking about."