August 15th, 2012
09:54 AM ET
6 years ago

Romney stands by new attacks against Obama

(CNN) - Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his blistering new attack lines against President Barack Obama's campaign, in which he hammers the president's re-election team for recent ads and the vice president's controversial statement the day prior.

"The president's campaign is all about division and attack and hatred," Romney said on CBS' "This Morning."

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He later added: "The president seems to be running just to hang on to power. I think he'll do anything in his power to try and get re-elected."

His comments come after Romney used some of his harshest words yet against the president. While speaking at a campaign event in Ohio Tuesday, Romney faulted Obama for being "intellectually exhausted," and called on the president to "take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America."

Part of his frustration, he said, stemmed from a pro-Obama super PAC ad that linked Romney with the death of a cancer patient, an ad which Obama's campaign has yet to condemn, Romney said.

A spokesman for the Obama campaign responded to Romney's speech Tuesday, saying the Republican candidate seemed "unhinged."

“Gov. Romney’s comments tonight seemed unhinged, and particularly strange coming at a time when he’s pouring tens of millions of dollars into negative ads that are demonstrably false,” said Obama campaign Press Secretary Ben LaBolt.

Also in the interview Wednesday, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee specifically pointed to Joe Biden's remarks Tuesday, when the vice president told a Virginia crowd that Romney's vision of Wall Street reform would cut back on regulations and put "y'all back in chains."

Romney's campaign quickly seized on the comment, calling it a "new low" in the campaign, while some conservatives on Twitter accused Biden of using racial undertones.

On Wednesday, Romney reiterated that Biden's comments are "demeaning to the nature of the process" and "diminish the White House" but did not elaborate further on what he took issue with in Biden's remark.

"I think I've expressed myself well enough. I think the American people had the same reaction, which is they listened to the vice president and they thought, again, an unfounded charge and a metaphor which is not uplifting, not uniting. But one which is once again a divisive attack," Romney said.

Biden later clarified the remarks at an event in Wytheville, Virginia, suggesting his comments were in reference to House Speaker John Boehner's use of the word 'unshackled' in talking about Ryan's House budget proposal.

"The last time these guys unshackled the economy, to use their term, they put the middle class in shackles. That's how we got where we are," said Biden.

"And I'm told that when I made that comment earlier today in Danville, Virginia, the Romney campaign put out a tweet. You know, tweets these days? Put out a tweet, went on the airwaves saying, 'Biden, he's outrageous in saying that,' I think I said instead of 'unshackled,' 'unchained.' 'Outrageous to say that," said Biden. "That's what we had. I'm using their own words. I got a message for them. If you want to know what's outrageous, it's their policies and the effects of their policies on middle class America. That's what's outrageous."

Romney also answered questions about his new running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, in the CBS News interview, further aligning himself with the House Budget chairman's policy.

"His campaign is my campaign now. We're on exactly the same page. My campaign has made it very clear," Romney said. His comments come after repeated questioning in recent days over how closely the two pair up on their budget plans, including their visions for Medicare.

Romney also joked about Ryan's reputation as an exercise junkie, specifically the congressman's penchant for P90X, an intense home workout program designed by Tony Horton.

"I have never tried that. I might have him show me how to do it someday," Romney said. "I get on the elliptical or treadmill. That's about it for me. That workout of his, he's in pretty good shape."

- CNN's Rachel Streitfeld and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. BLKMANinAmerica

    " Romney faulted Obama for being "intellectually exhausted," and called on the president to "take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago and let us get about rebuilding and reuniting America."............................WOW so sounds like alot of HATE and division from Romney, but I guess that is ok because he's (Romney) is a wealthy white man who dosen't even believe anything he talks about. STUPID!

    August 15, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  2. Annette

    Nice report. It dispels my belief that CNN leans so far left that it sacrifices journalistic integrity. I would tend to think that it's hard nowadays to be cheerleaders for Obama even for the MSM due to his dismal performance as president.

    August 15, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. jony

    Obama and Chicago style politics live in the dirt...Romney is forced to play at liberal level

    August 15, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. tee27

    Mitt defend this : Ann Romney: No More Tax Returns Will Be Released, It`s more clear now Reid was spot on they did not pay any.

    August 15, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. Issa Adisa

    Issues should be addressed not shadows.
    It only shows the "competence" of Romney. Americans should decide when the time comes.

    August 15, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  6. JPS

    My dear CNN, This article's title talks about Mr. Romney "defending" his "attacks" against the President, when in reality, Mr. Romney is defending himself against the President's attacks. It is sad to see CNN give in to partisan journalism. With MSNBC and FoxNews already taking sides, CNN, you have an opportunity to give independents and moderates a source for news. But alas, this type of article puts you squarely with the partisan crowds and only speeds your journey into irrelevance.

    August 15, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. rs

    Mr. Romney and the GOP have absolutely no moral standing for complaining about Mr. Obam's campaign. As long as the Republican Party and their politicians (and media whores at FOX) give space to the crazy birthers, and the racist TEA Party (really, do we need to revisit the last 4 years of GOP lies, conspiracy theories, hatred and divisivness?), they get what they deserve- the same aggressive, marginal campaigning they have used since Richard Nixon.

    On top of the birther idiots, comes the truth about the GOP. They call Mr. Obama "divisive", while their party is working very hard at curtailing the voting rights of up to as many as 25 million working class poor, and the very elderly; they stand firmly against civil rights; they have declaired fertilized eggs have more rights that the women who carry them. They stand against teachers, fireman, policemen and anyone like them with the luck of still having union benefits (and hence entry into the middle class).
    Finally as to the "jealousy" charge they hurl at Mr. Obama for being anti-rich. The Republicans would strip away Medicare, and Social Security- sometimes the ONLY social safety net for Americans just so they can give the rich, even more tax cuts- including reducing Mr. Romney's own tax rate to 0.84%.

    That my friends is so stunningly anti-American that I am amazed it isn't illegal!

    August 15, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Jackson

    The individual citizen's economy includes salary, healthcare, finances, taxation, etc. You can't have the discussion without examination of past practices and future plans. Maybe the relationship can be seen better through direct questions:

    -Does the candidate favor giving tax breaks to companies for outsourcing jobs?

    -Does the candidate favor giving financial institutions the ability to "police themselves" in creation of consumer policies and fees?

    – Does the candidate favor the ability of workers to organize for the purpose of engaging management in the discussion workplace and wage issues/policies.

    -Does the candidate favor giving required paycheck deductions (i.e., social security) to unregulated banks and financial institutions for "management"?

    -Does the candidate favor increasing the needed government revenue through taxation on those who are earning money through loopholes and tax evasion?

    -We have spent billions building other countries. Does the candidate favor adding job opportunities by making our country better through the improvement of American infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.)

    -Does the candidate favor hiding assets so they cannot be taxed?

    -Does the candidate favor policies that prevent healthcare from becoming another unregulated profit center that bankrupt the average American family?

    Life is not segmented, all of these issues are related. discussion is definitely about the economy, jobs, and business practices for the American citizenry.

    August 15, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Four and The Door

    Part of his frustration, he said, stemmed from a pro-Obama super PAC ad that linked Romney with the death of a cancer patient, an ad which Obama's campaign has yet to condemn, Romney said.
    Mitt Romney needs to understand the frame of mind Obama/ Biden 2012 must be in right now. After 2008's historic election they were on top of the world and could do no wrong. They had the House and the Senate and some big ideas. They made bold moves with huge spending and a decided quick turn to the left for America. But nothing was working. Unemployment shot up past 10% and the economy was no where near recovering like their Economic Advisers plucked from Academia told them it would work. So mid-term elections gave the Democrats a bonafide shellacking and they lost the House. The last year and a half have been complete frustration since now the House is requiring that spending be cut back. Imagine that. So now unemployment is stuck over 8%, the economy is still stuck in the mud and there's nothing to use from the last 3 1/2 years in the 2012 election campaign. Obama wants a do-over. A Mulligan. He is convinced he coulda done better. But now with all the excitement about Romney/ Ryan, every day Obama/ Biden 2012 has to campaign must be a tough day to get up for. He's on his way out and he is not going to leave any money on the table when there are negative ads to be run. It's not pretty but it is what it is. Just be glad you are not Obama trying to get reelected.

    August 15, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. jj

    I'd rather hear some straight shooting talk from these guys. I think everyone knows Biden is not racist. What this stuff does is further polarize people. The far right will jump all over this...and the far left will dismiss it. The people in the middle...the ones who will actually decide the election...need to be smart enough to know what is BS and what isn't...and go from there.

    August 15, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. DJ Reality

    Soo Willard keeps up the attacks, while he complains about the Presidents campaign. He is not telling America the truth.

    August 15, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Tony

    Romney's campaign is all about anger and hatred. Romney has said that politicians always accuse others of what they are doing themselves, and he is intent on proving his own statement. Romney's Medicare plan divides Americans by age. He understands that he needs the senior vote. He pledges not to cut Medicare for people who are over the age of 55, which obviously means that Medicare will not be there for people who are under the age of 55. Romney does not want his plan to "strengthen" Medicare to include people who are over 55, for obvious reason: he does not want to make them angry.

    August 15, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Rick in AZ

    The 1% is part of the 47%.

    August 15, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. Governor 47th In Job Creation (Excluding Off-shored to China and India)

    Still whining Willard? You and your party have used the term "shackles" before. The only things Flip-flop is consistent with are profits before people and hypocrisy.
    Willard is going to get a thumping just like McCain did.
    Release your taxes, you plutocratic wimp.

    August 15, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Ronda in Houston,TX

    "The president's campaign is all about division and attack and hatred," Romney said on CBS' "This Morning."

    Romney knows about division and attack and hatred. Romney was the one who lead the charge to cut a classmate's hair while holding him down just because he believed the classmate was different..

    August 15, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. Mary

    What he is saying I am all about division and attack and not on substance. LOL.

    August 15, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Marty, FL

    Karl Rovian projection again from Romney who has hypocritically run a reprehensible campaign of division and pants on fire lies from the primaries to today.

    Romney sadly lacks credibility now and fails to acknowledge Ryan's 'shackles' comment being paraphrased from his own campaign.

    August 15, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  18. jpmichigan

    As an American Senior citizen , I can see the writing on the wall with the fact that Obama took 700 billion dollars out of Medicare to pay for Obama-care, as a precursor to placing medicare into Obama-care. Medicare is paid for by workers for their use when they retire, so to the Obama administration and Democrats it is the Golden Goose to pay for the Affordable care act, providing services for the American who done have insurance and or can't get mediaide. Getting rid of Obmaa-care will stop this. Then Congress can focus on REFORMING the insurance companies, as they did the Banking system.

    August 15, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  19. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    romney does understand you can't distance yourself from the negative ads if you repeat them, right?

    August 15, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Attacks?? Why do you use the word attack? Wouldn't the truth be more correct?

    I will use the line Harry Truman used. I DON'T GIVE EM HELL.I JUST TELL THE TRUTH, THEY THINK IT'S HELL. Maybe Romney is just telling the truth, Eh??

    August 15, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. Controversy

    I think Romney is the desperate candidate in this presidential race. It seems like he will tell any lie to further his political agenda. Although, it all for not. The american people have already made there decision on this guy. He is too dishonest and shady to hold any office! He reminds me of Richard Nixon.

    August 15, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  22. Republicans - "The Not Intended to Be Factually Accurate" Party

    Nice Try Mitt but Americs doesn`t trust you.

    Release 10 years of tax returns so we can see what you are hiding. Then and only then, might you have credibility to comment on TAX POLICY / REVENUES.

    Reveal which off_shore tax havens you have been enriching INSTEAD of the US Treasury; then maybe we will listen to what you have to say about SPENDING.

    Get 1 or 2 of your 5 sons to SERVE THEIR COUNTRY then you can be taken seriously when you speak of WAR WITH IRAN.

    Until then, nothing else will matter, including your FEEBLE lies intended to bring the President down.

    August 15, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |

    Willard clearly can't stand by his convictions. He is the true definition of a Manchurian Candidate. It's hard to say how many puppetmasters he has. Is it David and Charles Koch, Sheldon Adelson, the Tea Party, Donad Trump?

    August 15, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. Peace

    I do not think Romney should go after Biden for what he has said. That was what Biden was thinking. Was it not Romney who said what he was thinking in London and people there took his words as a blast?????

    August 15, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  25. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Some people just know the truth. Like Artur Davis. He figured it out on his own!! Imagine that. And he is in the Majority.

    August 15, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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