President Barack Obama slammed Mitt Romney as a candidate holding “extreme positions” but denied any harsh personal feelings of dislike during an interview with The Associated Press published Saturday.Obama said Romney has painted himself into a corner with the “extreme positions”:
“I can’t speak to Governor Romney’s motivations. What I can say is that he has signed up for positions, extreme positions, that are very consistent with positions that a number of House Republicans have taken. And whether he actually believes in those or not, I have no doubt that he would carry forward some of the things that he’s talked about.”
The AP’s Ben Feller, who conducted the interview, writes that Obama veered away from any questions of personal animosity toward the presumptive Republican nominee and his running mate, Paul Ryan.
In Politico reporter Glenn Thrush’s e-book, Obama’s Last Stand, Thrush reports that Obama developed a “genuine disdain” for Romney. But Obama told Feller that he doesn’t “really know him well.”
In the AP interview, Obama took typical shots at Romney. On women’s issues, he said Romney would “not stand in the way” of a bill that “stripped away women’s control over their reproductive health.” On the issue of Romney’s tax returns, he hit him for not being transparent. And on fixing a still-weak economy, he portrayed Romney as extreme.
“We aren’t where we need to be. Everybody agrees with that. But Governor Romney’s policies would make things worse for middle-class families and offer no prospect for long-term opportunity for those striving to get into the middle class.”
The Romney campaign jumped on the bolded part of Obama’s quote.
“President Obama concedes that ‘we aren’t where we need to be.’ Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan agree,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in an email. “The American people know they aren’t better off than they were four years ago.”
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