WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Democratic governors are accusing House Republicans of deliberately sabotaging the economy to help Mitt Romney oust President Obama.

“There’s not a doubt in my mind that in their calculations, that they are hoping for the economy to slow before the election,” Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md., said Friday. “They think that’s their best shot at unseating the president.”

Democrats have grumbled for months that Republicans have obstructed legislation to deny Obama the election-year victories he needs to make the case for his economic record.

But on Friday, some Democratic governors pointed to the GOP-controlled House’s efforts to withhold support for the stimulus and block Democratic jobs legislation, and said — on the sidelines of the National Governors Association’s annual meeting — that the only rational conclusion is that Republicans are sacrificing the economic recovery to bolster their argument that Obama has failed to create jobs.

“You have to ask the obvious question: How desperate and how far will they go to ensure this president gets defeated?” Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said.

An aide to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, rejected the notion that Republicans were working to ensure the economic recovery failed. He said Democrats have not put forward any legitimate jobs legislation and he faulted them for blocking GOP efforts that could have resulted in faster job creation.

“We have passed bills that would reduce red tape, repeal a health care law that is making it harder for small businesses to hire, open up American energy resources, and — later this month — stop the largest tax hike in American history,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

The Democrats’ comments came on the first day of the NGA’s three-day meeting here. The bipartisan group will compare notes on programs that have been effective in their states and hold sessions today focusing on commerce, health, homeland security and natural resources.