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Romney: Cuts to firefighters, teachers and police must come from states, localities

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ORLANDO – Mitt Romney said Tuesday morning that the controversy over his remarks that he would cut back on firefighters, police officers and teachers is “completely absurd.”

 Addressing the subject for the first time since making raising the issue at a campaign rally last Friday, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee criticized President Obama’s reelection campaign as trying to turn his comments into a political liability.

 “That’s a very strange accusation,” Romney said on Fox News. “Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level, and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So, obviously, that’s completely absurd.”

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Although the federal government does not hire teachers, police officers or firefighters, it does award large grants to state and local governments to fund such services. 

Romney said his criticism is of Obama’s proposal for additional federal spending to help financially struggling state and municipal governments. “He’s got a new idea, though, and that is to have another stimulus, and to have the federal government send money to try and bail out cities and states,” Romney told Fox. “It didn’t work the first time; it certainly wouldn’t the second time.” 

In Iowa on Friday, Romney said of Obama: “He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message in Wisconsin? The American people did.  It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

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