(CNN) - President Barack Obama says he's not yet paying attention to the Republican presidential race, but his senior adviser on Sunday singled out Mitt Romney for criticism when asked about the GOP contenders.
David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager in 2008 and now a senior adviser to the president, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that Romney's national poll numbers, which are consistently in the low 20% range, showed that most Republican voters were looking elsewhere for a candidate.
"He has no core," Plouffe said of Romney, citing issues such as climate change, gay rights and abortion on which he accused the former Massachusetts governor of shifting to the right politically to try to satisfy conservatives.
"You get the sense with Mitt Romney that, you know, if he thought it was good to say the sky was green and the grass was blue to win an election, he'd say it," Plouffe added.
In response, Romney's campaign said Plouffe's comments were an attempt to distract from what it called "the historic loss of middle-class jobs that has occurred" during Obama's presidency.
"Americans won't be fooled by false and negative attacks – they know that President Obama has failed, and they are eager to replace him with a leader like Mitt Romney who can turn around our struggling economy," Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said.
On the NBC program, Plouffe took a decidedly less critical approach when asked about Herman Cain, who finished atop a new Des Moines Register poll in Iowa with 23% support. His only comment was that Cain, a former business executive, seemed "to have tapped into something."
Regardless of who is leading the GOP race, Plouffe said, all the Republican contenders were offering the same policies that led to the economic recession dating back to the Bush administration.