Republican former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney came to the same area visited by former Democratic President John F. Kennedy in the 1960s Romney says the North Hollywood mall was financially secure back then. Now it's a strip of empty buildings.
Romney supports the Republican-backed debt-ceiling measure recently passed in the House of Representatives which puts a cap on spending and includes no tax hikes. He holds the Obama administration responsible for the current bad economy.
"He has not created jobs. He's lost jobs, a half-million jobs here in California," said Romney. "As a president you can't control everything but you sure can control your use of time and what you focus your energy on. And he didn't focus on the economy."
It's a long way to the 2012 presidential election, but Romney is the leading Republican candidate. If an election were held today, President Obama would beat Romney 51 percent to 44 percent. Among the 10 Republicans so far in the race Romney is at 26 percent in an ABC News poll, followed by Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. He's practicing for a race against President Obama.
"I simply don't understand why the president is insistent on raising taxes at a time when we are trying to put people back to work. You recognize if government takes more money, it means less money for individuals, for families and for employers," said Romney.
L.A. City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who represents the North Hollywood district, wasn't happy with the visit or the attacks. He says a developer is ready to spend millions of dollars restoring the mall and bringing in new businesses and jobs.
"Day to day we're working hard to bring jobs back to this community and to use this as a prop I think was misleading and unfair," said Krekorian.
Another potential Republican candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry, was also in Los Angeles and throughout California Wednesday.