Mitt Romney on Friday encouraged young Americans facing bleak job prospects to "take risks" -- and even borrow money from their parents -- to help improve their economic fortunes.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee noted that the nation's economy is recovering but blamed President Obama for presiding over the "most anemic and tepid" comeback since the Great Depression. Continuing his recent focus on younger voters, Romney said Obama's policies are making it harder for college graduates to be successful.
"This kind of divisiveness, this attack of success is very different than what we've seen in our country's history," Romney told students and supporters at Otterbein University.
"We've always encouraged young people -- take a shot, go for it, take a risk and get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business."
Romney's call for "economic freedom" was a familiar theme for the former Massachusetts governor, who faced the public for the first time since declaring himself the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting earlier in the week. But some Democrats said his suggestion that young people borrow thousands of dollars from their parents shows that he's out of touch with ordinary Americans.
Meanwhile, Obama told supporters Friday evening at a women's issues conference in Washington that Republicans seem determined to meddle in women's health decisions in ways that are "appalling, offensive and out of touch."
A recent fight over contraception access, he said, was like "being in a time machine."
"These are folks who claim to believe in freedom from government interference and meddling -- it doesn't seem to bother them when it comes to a woman's health," he said.
Obama also drew attention to the equal-pay law that was the first piece of legislation he signed after taking office, saying it proved his commitment to advancing the rights of women. "You don't have to take my word for it; you've got my signature on it," he said. "because something like standing up for equal pay for equal work isn't something I've got to get back to you on."
Earlier this month, a Romney aide told reporters that he would have to "get back to you" on whether the former Massachusetts governor supported the legislation, known as the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
The National Issues Conference is a two-day fundraising event organized by Obama supporters to showcase women in his administration. Most tickets for the event cost $1,000.