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Monday, August 27, 2012

Romney Says \'Dishonest\' Attacks Have Had an Impact


BOSTON â€" Mitt Romney said President Obama's attacks on him have been “dishonest” but acknowledged that they had succeeded in tarnishing his image as he heads to a convention intended to reintroduce him to the American people.

In interviews published Monday, Mr. Romney grappled with the challenges awaiting him as Republicans gather in Tampa, Fla., to seal his nomination. After a summer of relentless attacks, Mr. Romney finds himself on the defensive on his taxes, record in business and economic plans. But he expressed confidence that he could overcome that, starting this week.

“I do think that the president's campaign of personal vilification and demonization probably draws some people away fro m me,” Mr. Romney told USA Today. In the end, he said, “people will recognize those attacks for what they are, and they'll make a decision based on who can do a better job creating jobs and providing more take-home pay for the middle class of America. I believe I am that person.”

In a separate interview with Politico, Mr. Romney said: “Certainly their ads have some impact or they wouldn't be running them. But there would be an opportunity for people to get to know me better during the debates and during the time in the campaign season when people are actually paying a lot of attention to the candidates.”

Mr. Romney's complaints about his opponent's attacks mirror those of Mr. Obama, who has criticized his challenger for what he considers distortions and negativity.

Mr. Romney spent Sunday night at his home in Wolfeboro, N.H., and was spending Monday out of sight to work on his acceptance speech. He plans to fly to Tampa on Thursday, the final day of the convention when he will deliver his address.

The interviews underscored one of the liabilities Mr. Romney faces - the notion that he is not as likable or as attuned to regular people as Mr. Obama is. Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, agreed that that perception exists but attributed it to the Obama ad campaign and said voters would get a better sense of him this week.

“I was voted the president of my fraternity,” he noted. “They don't call them fraternities at Brigham Young University. They're called service clubs. It was the Cougar Club. But you don't get voted to be head of your group if you don't get along with people, if you don't connect with people.”

He expressed surprise at the issues Mr. Obama has focused on in attacking him. “There are plenty of weaknesses that I have, and I acknowledge that,” Mr. Romney said. “But the attacks that have come have been so misguided, have been so far off target, have been so disho nest, that they surprised me. I thought they might go after me on things that were accurate that I've done wrong, instead of absurd things.”

Asked what those accurate weaknesses would be, he laughed and declined to say.