Mitt Romney jokingly said the United States needs to do a better job managing debt or it could end up like Greece, or closer to home, California. The Republican presidential hopeful told an audience in Iowa yesterday that he worries the US is on a pathway to crippling debt and is scaring off foreign investors. "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.
Romney aides say he's made the joke before and clearly was kidding. Not laughing: California, which is facing the prospect of tax increases and spending cuts to deal with its budget problems. A spokesman for California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, dismissed Romney's quip as "a paper-thin Republican talking point" that doesn't stand up to scrutiny.