President Barack Obama made the first public appearance of his 2011 vacation Monday, stopping by one of his favorite local shops for a Hawaiian snow cone known as "shave ice."

Speaking to Iowa voters during a tele-town hall, Romney said that Obama, an avid golfer, had more interest in spending time on the links than on fixing the economy.

“I have to feel that this president has been a failure. The other day I understand that [New Jersey Gov.] Chris Christie said that he was a bystander president. That he watches affairs and has not guided affairs,” he said. Obama’s “idea of a hands on approach to the economy is getting a grip on his golf club.”

Obama has repeatedly taken heat for his vacations from Republicans eager to paint him as both aloof and elitist.

Each summer, the president has taken his family to Martha’s Vineyard, and this month the first family plans to travel to Hawaii, where Obama spent a good portion of his childhood, though it is unclear exactly when they will leave Washington and when they’ll return.

And with Congress wrangling over the extension of a payroll tax cut extension, Obama has hinted that the Hawaiian vacation could be delayed.

“We’re going to keep pushing Congress to make this happen. Now is not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery,” he said. “We need to get this done. And I expect that it’s going to get done before Congress leaves. Otherwise, Congress may not be leaving, and we can all spend Christmas here together.”

Romney, however, argued that Obama planned to ditch Washington and leave the work to Congress.

“He told Congress that they needed to stay in session and pass his tax break for the payroll tax and they shouldn’t leave for vacation until they did that, and yet he is going off for 17 days for golf in the sun,” Romney said.

In response to criticisms about Obama’s vacation plans, the White House points out that the office travels with the president, and that his plans remain flexible.

The Democratic National Committee slammed Romney for “phoning it in,” saying in a press release that Romney spent 212 of his last year as governor outside the state of Massachusetts.

A snippet of Romney’s remarks below:

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