(CNN) – Sharp campaign trail attacks on Mitt Romney don't reflect President Barack Obama's closing argument to voters in the final stretch of the race, one of his top advisers said on Sunday.
David Axelrod, speaking to CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union," said Obama was focused on telling voters why he needs four more years in the Oval Office.
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"The president's closing message is exactly what I said before, which is we've made some progress," Axelrod said. "We have to build on that progress, and we have to move forward in a way that builds an economy that works for the middle class. What we can't do is go back to the failed policies of the past."
Axelrod's description of Obama's closing message to voters comes as Republicans attempt to frame Obama's campaign as overly focused on negative attacks, including his refrain that his rival is suffering from "Romnesia" and forgetting his past positions on important issues.
On Sunday, Axelrod said Romney was hitting just as hard as Obama, asserting the former Massachusetts governor was "pounding us pretty hard as well, because this is a close election."
"It's a choice," Axelrod continued. "There is no doubt that what Americans have in front of them is a choice."
"We're going to keep hammering away at that choice until Election Day," he said. "Because there's a better future ahead of us, but we need to grab for it and not go backward to the policies that put us in this mess in the first place."
As for the all-important momentum factor heading into the last full week of campaigning, Axelrod maintained his team was better positioned in the key battlegrounds that will determine the outcome of the election.
"I do think that Gov. Romney gained a little after the first debate," Axelrod conceded, saying that boost had "leveled off."
"I have said this to you many times over the course of the last year," he told Crowley. "It is a close race. As you look at these battleground states, we are even or ahead in virtually all of them, in these critical states like Ohio. We maintain a consistent lead."