Anti-Romney Attack Calls Anger GOP Candidate

By Jacqueline Klingebiel

Nov 16, 2007 1:32pm

ABC News’ Matt Stuart Reports: Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., responded to reports of anti-Romney phone calls in New Hampshire and Iowa Friday, calling the attacks against him and his Mormon faith "un-American."

On Sunday, residents in New Hampshire and Iowa began receiving 20-minute phone calls slamming Romney, his Mormon faith and the Vietnam War-era military deferments he received while serving as a missionary in France.

Asked about the calls by reporters after an event in Las Vegas, NV, Romney said he was "very disappointed in the political process that someone is pursuing to use this kind of underhanded, un-American technique." 

Romney’s GOP rival Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., condemned the attacks Friday, saying he has requested the Attorney General of New Hampshire investigate the calls.

"I call on all other candidates and their supporters to repudiate these attacks and join me in pledging not to engage in such despicable tactics throughout the balance of this campaign," McCain said in a released statement.

Romney would not speculate on who was actually behind the attacks, but did go after the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation, saying "the bill leaves an enormous, gaping loop hole," and "opens the pathway for this very kind of political technique." 

Romney went on to attack McCain directly, saying that "Sen. McCain is the father of McCain-Feingold and it’s … the monster that we’re having to deal with here."

The McCain camp fired back stating: "It is appalling, but not surprising, that Mitt Romney would seek to take advantage of this disturbing incident to launch yet another hypocritical attack. It’s the hallmark of his campaign."

ABC News’ Bret Hovell contributed to this report.

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