Mitt Romney on Thursday labeled President Barack Obama as a "crony capitalist," invoking a theme that Rep. Michele Bachmann used before she left the presidential race.
"This president is a crony capitalist. He's a job killer," the former Massachusetts governor said during a morning town hall meeting here. "This president has engaged and is engaging in crony capitalism."
Bachmann used similar language before she dropped out of the race Wednesday after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses.
As examples, Romney pointed to controversial appointments Obama made Wednesday to the National Labor Relations Board and to the bankruptcy of California energy company Solyndra after a $528 million federal loan from the Obama administration.
In a new ad running in South Carolina, Romney accuses Obama of trying to make sure the NLRB is "stacked with union stooges."
Romney is largely ignoring his other Republican rivals as he campaigns on Thursday, instead spending his time offering stepped-up attacks against a Democratic president.
Romney will campaign later Thursday in Charleston, S.C., just days before New Hampshire's Jan. 10 primary. He'll campaign with Sen. John McCain and Gov. Nikki Haley, who have both endorsed him.
The focus on two early primary states at once is designed as a show of strength. Romney has money and organization that his rivals struggle to match.