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Mitt Romney's (Steve) Jobs Plan

Mitt Romney talks jobs.
Julie Jacobson
Mitt Romney talks jobs.

Was that a jobs plan Mitt Romney unveiled Tuesday or a Steve Jobs plan?

Wanting voters to see him as the political version of the black turtleneck-clad business visionary, Romney compared himself not only to Jobs but to someone using a smartphone (President Obama was still in the coin-operated payphone world, Romney said.)

Romney even answered the 2011's version of the boxer-or-brief question, that is, whether he prefers the iPhone or Android OS. He showed off an iPhone to the audience at one point.

It was all part of Romney's rollout of his jobs plan. The speech was Romney's attempt to upstage Obama's big jobs speech scheduled for Thursday evening.

Romney had previewed his plan in a USA Today op-ed piece Tuesday and for weeks. The plan rested on various elements of conservative economic orthodoxy that Romney has discussed for months on the campaign trail.

He would lower taxes, especially corporate taxes; browbeat China for gaming the international trade system; reduce regulations and increase domestic energy production.

All told, Romney said his plan had 59 separate proposals, which is a couple more ideas than Heinz has varieties.

And "there are a lot more where these came from," Romney promised.

With that kind of seeming overkill, Romney appeared to be trying to knock both Obama and Gov. Rick Perry into submission with his 150-page plan.

It was his way of communicating that he has ideas to spare on how to improve the economy while alleging that the president has either run dry or has the wrong ideas.

And while he never mentioned Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now the frontrunner for the Republican nomination, Romney's plan with its dozens of ideas puts the pressure on Perry to produce his own comprehensive proposal.

For anyone not persuaded by his 59 points, however, there was his likening himself to Jobs who just announced that he was stepping down as Apple's long-time chief executive.

Of Jobs, Romney said:

There was a time when Steve Jobs was removed from Apple Computer. Some other people had some things on paper that looked pretty smart. But Steve Jobs was the real deal. He was a leader. He is a leader. He knows, he's done it before. That's the nature of real leadership."

"I don't have all the answers to all the problems that exist in America and around the world. But I know how to find the answers. And I also know how to lead."

So Romney is Jobs which presumably would make Obama who exactly, John Sculley?

Again, it was Romney's way of trying to enliven an economic policy speech which, let's face it, is a tall order.

Romney's speech, as expected, was panned even before he gave it.

Democratic National Committee communications director Brad Woodhouse issued a diss early in the day.

The fact is, if Mitt Romney has expressed a single original idea on the economy in the entire time he has been running for president - for the second time - you could auction it off on eBay in the rare stamp collection area.

And from Perry's campaign, there was this as reported by

"As Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney failed to create a pro-jobs environment and failed to institute many of the reforms he now claims to support."

"Among all the candidates for President, Gov. Rick Perry has the strongest record of creating a climate of job creation by limiting taxes, burdensome regulations and the size and scope of government.

Besides those criticisms, Romney's plan drew outrage from some who noticed what was either the result of sloppiness or, as some cynics suspected, an attempt to mislead. Romney's document gave Obama the dubious credit of being in the Oval Office in 2007 at the start of the Great Recession.

Also, Romney's plan was virtually silent on two aspects of the economy that economists blame for much of the lack of consumer demand in the economy, the collapse of housing sector and the high relative debt load still weighing down American consumers.

Without addressing either of those, it's difficult to see how consumer demand rebounds anywhere near the levels needed for companies to resume hiring again at levels that would significantly reduce the jobless rate.

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Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.