Total Pageviews

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Romney Blames Obama for His Campaign Challenges


DENVER - Mitt Romney, who has been criticized by members of his party in recent weeks for not campaigning aggressively enough and who trails President Obama in polls in most swing states, placed the blame for his campaign's struggles squarely on the president himself Sunday afternoon.

Speaking to reporters as his private charter plane flew from Los Angeles to Denver, Mr. Romney blamed his relatively languid campaign schedule - five public events in the past seven days, compared with 11 fund-raisers - on the president's decision to opt out of the federal campaign finance system four years ago, and criticized Mr. Obama for, he said, “trying to fool people into thinking that I think things I don't.”

Asked why he was behind in the polls in most swing states, Mr. Romney accused the Obama campaign of distorting his record.

“I think that the president's campaign has focused its advertising in many cases on very inaccurate portrayals of my positions,” he said. “They've been very aggressive in their attacks both on a personal basis and on a policy basis. I think as time goes on, people will realize that those attacks are not accurate and we'll be able to have a choice which is based upon each other's accurate views for the future of country.”

Specifically, Mr. Romney pointed to the auto industry bailout, his tax plan, and his position on abortion as three areas in which the president had tried to misrepresent his position.

“When he says I was in favor of liquidating the automobile industry, nothing could be further from the truth,” Mr. Romney said. “My plan was to rebuild the auto industry and take it through bankruptcy so that could happen , and by the way he doesn't mention he took them through bankruptcy.”

Mr. Romney did oppose the auto industry bailout, instead lobbying for a process of “managed bankruptcy,” which he said would have allowed the car companies to restructure and emerge stronger than before. Though Mr. Obama did ultimately take the auto industry through a managed bankruptcy, the president argues that the process would not have been possible without his decision to inject the industry with billions in taxpayer money - an intervention Mr. Romney opposed.

Mr. Romney also said that the Obama campaign had incorrectly characterized his position on abortion.

In his ads on abortion “he says I'm opposed to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and the life of the mother,” Mr. Romney said. “That's wrong.”

Though Mr. Romney is opposed to abortion, he has said previously that he allows for exceptions in the case of rape and incest, as well as when the mother's lif e is at risk. His running mate, Rep. Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, however, does not support such exceptions.

Standing in the back of his plane, and pressed by reporters to explain his lagging position in many polls, Mr. Romney - whose campaign recently said that they would not allow fact-checkers to dictate their campaign - found himself calling for fact-checkers.

“I understand that politics is politics but in the past, when you've had an ad which has been roundly pointed out to be wrong, you take it out and you correct it and you put something back on,” Mr. Romney said.

He keeps running these things even though he knows they're wrong and saying them in rallies even though he knows they're wrong.”

Mr. Obama's campaign took exception with Mr. Romney's comments, accusing him of shirking the blame for his campaign's recent struggles.

“It's odd that Mitt Romney, a former CEO, won't take personal responsibility for his campaign's troubles,” said Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman, in an e-mail statement. “And it certainly takes a lot of chutzpah for him - after his campaign bragged that it wouldn't be dictated by fact checkers - to shed crocodile tears over a legitimate discussion of his record and policies. Here are the facts: If Mitt Romney had had his way and we'd let Detroit go bankrupt, GM and Chrysler would no longer be in business today. He would raise taxes on middle class families to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. And he endorsed the Republican Party platform that would ban abortion even in the cases of rape and incest.”

She added: “If he's so offended by his own positions, maybe he shouldn't have taken them in the first place.”

Mr. Romney also criticized the president for opting out of the federal campaign finance system four years ago. Now, both Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama have opted out, a decision Mr. Romney blames for his light campaign schedule, which has come under scrutiny by members of his own party.

“I'd far rather be spending my time out in the key swing states campaigning, door-to-door if necessary, but in rallies and various meetings, but fund-raising is a part of politics when your opponent decides not to live by the federal spending limits,” he said.

Asked if voters should expect to see Mr. Romney become more aggressive in coming days, he demurred: “You'll see what you're going to see,” he said. “I'm not going to lay out precisely the nature of our campaign strategy.” But he did say that he expected the upcoming debates to help crystalize his case to the voting public.

“The president describes my direction in a way that is simply inaccurate and I will describe my own direction,” he said. “I think as we have the debates we'll get a chance for people to hear our distinctions quite clearly and they'll make their choice as to what they think is the right course forward.”

A nd as for his trailing poll numbers in most battleground states, the former governor appeared relaxed and unworried.

“I'll either go up or I'll go down,” he said.

Koch Faults Obama on Israel and on Libya Attack


Edward I.  Koch, the former three-term Democratic mayor of New York, has some critical words about President Obama‘s relations with Israel and his handling of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, this month.

In an interview with the New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin, Mr. Koch deemed as “unacceptable” Mr. Obama's decision not to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel while Mr. Netanyahu is in the United States this week for the  meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.

“There should be a certain courtesy involved,” Mr. Koch said. “You don't just say, ‘We can't fit him into our schedule.' ”

The column also quoted an interview Mr . Koch recently gave with Israel National News in which he faulted the Obama administration's response to the Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed the United States ambassador and three members of his staff.

“Any other self-respecting country where their embassy was attacked, their ambassador and his security detail murdered and the local police ran away would withdraw their embassy immediately in protest,” Mr. Koch said. It was actually the United States  Consulate in Benghazi that was attacked, not its embassy, which is in Tripoli.

The former mayor has been critical of Mr.  Obama in the past, but ultimately endorsed his re-election bid, and says he sides with the president on issues like taxes, abortion and Medicare.



Bill Clinton Unsure of Wife\'s 2016 Plans


WASHINGTON â€" Former president Bill Clinton said Sunday that he had “no earthly idea” whether his wife might decide to run for the presidency in 2016, but that he had never met a more qualified public servant and that she would have his full support no matter what she decides.

So if it was not a “yes” or a “maybe” from the former president - who just might be expected to have some inside knowledge of the matter - it was certainly not a “no.”

The future career path of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been a matter of fervid speculation since she made clear that she planned to step down at the end of President Obama's current term. Mr. Clinton's strong defense of Mr. Obama in his speech at the Democratic national convention fueled a sense that he might be helping keep the Clinton brand before the public eye, and not just for his own sake.

Asked on CBS's “Face the Nation” about his wife's plans, Mr. Clinton replied, “I don't know.” After eight years in the White House, eight years as New York senator and now four years as secretary of state, he said, “She's tired.”

(He did not mention the many months she spent battling Mr. Obama for the 2008 presidential nomination.)

Mr. Clinton went on: “She's really worked hard. I think she's done a fabulous job. I'm very proud of her. But she wants to take some time off, kind of regroup. Write a book. I hope we'll be working together,” presumably on the charitable and philanthropic efforts of his Clinton Global Initiative.

Asked by CBS's Bob Schieffer whether Mrs. Clinton was in fact the most qualified person to run in 2016, Mr. Clin ton at first deferred to what he suggested was a large potential field of Democrats, including “bright young governors” and members of Congress.

But then he turned back to his wife.

“I know I'm biased,” he said, “but I think she demonstrated as senator and as secretary of State that she has extraordinary ability, a lot of commonsense, a lot of, you know, stick-to-itiveness. She'll push a rock up a hill as long as it takes to get it up the hill.”

So “whatever she decides, I'll support it.”