President Obama said that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney hasn't "owned up" to the responsibilities of being president, in an exclusive interview with the Associated Press.
Obama spoke to the AP leading up to the Republican National Convention, which kicks off on Monday in Tampa, Florida, attacking his GOP rival before one of the most pivotal points in his campaign.
"I can't speak to Governor Romney's motivations," Obama told the AP Thursday, before heading to Camp David for a week with his family.
"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," Obama added.
Obama and his campaign have been trying to paint a picture of the Romney-Ryan ticket as "too extreme" over the past few months, Politico reported, a strategy recommended to them by former President Bill Clinton.
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The AP's White House correspondent Ben Feller described Obama as "at ease but doggedly on script," turning most questions about Romney and running mate Paul Ryan "into answers about starkly different visions for helping the middle class."
As GlobalPost's election correspondent Jean MacKenzie wrote, both candidates are painting less-than-ideal portraits of the current state of America:
President Barack Obama is selling a picture of a country mired deep in class warfare, where the rich are trying to manipulate the system for their own gain and everyone else’s detriment. He, and his government, are all that stands in front of a wealthy oligarchy determined to plunder America.
Challenger Mitt Romney paints a Norman Rockwell scene of grit, faith and hard work, threatened by a power-hungry, free-spending, “European”-style president who does not understand the values that made America great.
Neither vision is particularly appealing.
"We aren't where we need to be. Everybody agrees with that," said Obama. "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."