Mitt Romney repudiated President Obama’s attacks on his personal finances on Tuesday, calling it “a sad day when that is the course that the president takes.”
“I think it is beneath the dignity of the presidency for him to wage a campaign of personal attacks, and particularly when it is based on dishonesty,” Romney said in an interview with the Tribune-Review.
He referred to the Obama campaign’s two weeks of criticism of the former Massachusetts governor’s record at Bain Capital, a venture capital firm Romney founded in 1984 and headed until 1999, and his refusal to release more than two years’ worth of tax returns.
“Independent fact-checkers have looked at his ads and said they are false and misleading,” Romney told the Trib after a campaign rally in North Huntingdon. “I hope at some point the president changes course, but I don’t think that is likely.”
Ben LaBolt, spokesman for the Obama campaign, said Romney’s record at Bain matters.
“Because it makes Romney undeniably responsible for the Bain companies that went bankrupt, fired their workers and slashed wages, pensions and benefits and sent American jobs overseas,” LaBolt said.
Romney told the Trib that November’s election will be a choice of who can do better at job creation, not of who has more clever attack lines.
“In the final analysis, people will have to decide what kind of America we are going to have,” he said.
Romney and Obama are running closely in 12 swing states, including Pennsylvania, according to a poll released Monday by Purple Strategies. The Purple poll shows Obama leading Romney, 47 percent to 45 percent in those states. The poll has a 1.6 percent margin of error.
Romney will campaign Wednesday in Bowling Green, Ohio.
“I think Romney is probably playing it correctly right now by going out to states like Pennsylvania and Ohio and talking about the economy,” said Sean Trende, a political analyst and polling expert for RealClearPolitics, a political news website.
“The polls suggest that the Bain attacks aren’t really packing much of a wallop, at least right now,” Trende said. “We’ll have the Summer Olympics in a few weeks, and then most everyone will have forgotten about this or think of it as old news.”
The presumptive nominee said that he will continue to focus on jobs and the economy. He said voters are dissatisfied with Obama because they have seen where the president’s policies have taken them, “And they just don’t work.”
“I tell people if you want to see a roaring economy with good jobs again, you are going to have to have someone who understands how enterprises grow and thrive,” he said, “Especially in the energy business.”
A top aide this week said Romney would name a running mate by Friday.
Recent reports suggest Romney narrowed his choices to Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
“I’ve got nothing,” Romney said laughing. “Not people, not timing, nothing.”
He said he enjoyed the selection process. “It is exciting… the process of selecting someone means that you have to do a full review of information about them, and that is ongoing,” he said giving no hint of his choice.
“The leaders of the Republican Party have come out, whether they are being considered for vice president or not, people are working like crazy to make sure that we change course,” he said.
He called the potential choices “very strong.”
“I don’t know if I can recall a time when we had so many highly capable, articulate, thoughtful individuals in our party,” he said.
Romney says the personal attacks have not affected him, “It’s just part of the process,” he said, “I don’t worry about it.”
“I am out there talking about a vision for America, and I am not going to be distracted by the slings and arrows that are coming from the Obama campaign,” he said.