Romney: Obama engaged in "character assassination"

6:15 AM, Sep 27, 2012   |    comments
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(CBS News) Mitt Romney told CBS News Wednesday that despite calls from conservatives to be more aggressive, he is not going to engage in a campaign of "character assassination" - despite the Obama campaign's willingness to do so.

"This is a campaign, not about character assassination, even though that's what I think has come from the Obama camp by and large," Romney told CBS News' Jan Crawford before a rally in Toledo, Ohio. Crawford asked Romney if he was saying the Obama campaign was engaged in character assassination.

"Oh yeah, sure, they try and completely misrepresent my point of view, along with why I'm in this race," he said. "But I think fundamentally the American people are interested in who can make their life better. Who can make people get better jobs and better incomes. And I can. He's proven that he does not have the capability to do that."

Later, Crawford asked Romney if the mainstream media is "in the tank for President Obama," as many conservatives allege.

"Well, I think we have a system of free press, people are able to provide their own perspective based on their own beliefs, I think there's some people who are more in my camp, there's a lot of people who are more in his camp, and I don't worry about that," Romney responded.

Pressed, Romney added: "I don't think anybody in my business thinks they wouldn't like to re-write the stories, and write the media accounts in a way that's more favorable to them, but I don't worry about that. I take my message out, I know I'll have a chance through ads, through the debates, to get my message home to the American people."

Transcript of Jan Crawford's interview with Mitt Romney: 

CRAWFORD: Governor Romney, a lot of your conservative supporters are getting anxious, they're imploring you, I've heard your supporters on the rope line, they're telling you, "Be ruthless, be more aggressive." Do you think you haven't been aggressive enough? Do you plan on being more aggressive?

ROMNEY: This is a campaign, not about character assassination, even though that's what I think has come from the Obama camp by and large.

CRAWFORD: Character assassination? Do you think the Obama camp engaged in character assassination?

ROMNEY: Oh yeah, sure, they try and completely misrepresent my point of view, along with why I'm in this race, but I think fundamentally the American people are interested in who can make their life better? Who can make people get better jobs and better incomes. And I can. He's proven that he does not have the capability to do that. I do, I've proven that throughout my career. I think that's what it's going to come down to, so I listen to a lot of advice but frankly I'm going to keep on my message, which is I know how to get this economy going, create jobs, more take home pay for the American people.

CRAWFORD: What do you think, I mean, we hear this over and over again from your conservative supporters, be more aggressive. What do you think they mean by that, why are the feeling that frustration, that anxiety?

ROMNEY: Well, I can't speak for the viewpoints of all the commentators, and people I meet from place to place. Some people say, "Just be who you are!" Others say, "Get tougher! Attack!" And my own view is this; I'm going to be who I am and describe why I think I'm the person who's going to become the next president of the United States, and how my policies will make life better for American families. You've got a lot of single moms wondering how to put food on the table at the end of the week. You've got a lot of people can't find work. That's the group of people I want to speak to. And that's why I think I'll be successful.

CRAWFORD: But getting your message out, why has the Obama campaign dramatically outspent you in ad spending here in this key state, Ohio, in Florida, why are they outspending you in television?

ROMNEY: Well, the Obama folks have a lot of money. The president's an incumbent.

CRAWFORD: But you do too.

ROMNEY: Well, uh, he has more. And that's just the nature of the fact that he's an incumbent and has good support, a lot of union support. They're able to write one big check as a union, that doesn't happen on our side of the aisle.

CRAWFORD: But you have the super PACs.

ROMNEY: And we have good support from super PACs, I think both parties do, but the president has had sufficient funds to get his campaign out there, so do we.

CRAWFORD: Are you putting that in the ground game? Where is that money? You are raising a lot of money, where is that money going, if not on television ads.

ROMNEY: Well, I'll let you look at the spending by campaign, but the president has a good deal more in his campaign. We have more money that comes into our party than he does, and that means the party is able to run, if you will, super PAC ads, and some things of that nature that we can't do directly as a campaign, but we're husbanding our resources in half, and fortunately, in the six weeks we have until the end, we'll be I think about equal on the air and you know we'll also have debates, and I think far more people will watch debates and make their assessment based on what they see in the debates than what they see in 30 second ads, and in the debates if someone says something that's not accurate, why, there's an opportunity to point out it's not accurate, and I'm looking forward to that chance.

CRAWFORD: Last question. Do you think the news media, the mainstream media is in the tank for President Obama?

ROMNEY: Well, I think we have a system of free press, people are able to provide their own perspective based on their own beliefs, I think there's some people who are more in my camp, there's a lot of people who are more in his camp, and I don't worry about that.

CRAWFORD: So you think you're getting a fair shake?

ROMNEY: I don't think anybody in my business thinks they wouldn't like to re-write the stories, and write the media accounts in a way that's more favorable to them, but I don't worry about that. I take my message out, I know I'll have a chance through ads, through the debates, to get my message home to the American people.

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