ABC News' Emily Friedman (@EmilyABC) reports:
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said tonight that he expects the campaign to get "real ugly" if he becomes the GOP nominee vying for the White House in the general election against President Obama.
"I'm expecting it's going to get real ugly. My guess is you're going to see all kinds of things drudged up, made up and puffed up," Romney said in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity this evening.
Hannity prefaced the interview with the former Massachusetts governor with quotes from a Politico article earlier this week in which unidentified aides and advisers to Obama's re-election campaign suggested that the strategy against Romney would be to launch a "ferocious personal assault" on the candidate. One political operative, identified by Politico as a "prominent Democratic strategist aligned with the White House," said in the article that Obama would have to "kill Romney" to win a second term.
But tonight Romney said he was up for a fight, telling Hannity, "If the president is going to go after every dimension of warfare he can think of, then, of course, you respond aggressively and dynamically and you point out not personal failings — those aren't relevant right now — but what the American people want to know is who can get the economy going again.
"You fight back by pointing out the president's remarkable failings," Romney said.
And Romney didn't wait long to criticize the president for his upcoming vacation plans.
"This country is in crisis right now … the president ought to be in Washington," Romney said. "I know everyone deserves a vacation but the president should be in Washington."
Romney was also asked about his decision to bow out of the Iowa Straw Poll, scheduled for Saturday. As he has previously stated, Romney said that this time around he wanted to focus his finances and time on garnering delegates, telling Hannity, "I want to use my financial resources and this time to actually get delegates, not just straw polls. Those are nice but they don't get you delegates."
Romney will make an early-morning appearance at the Iowa State Fair Thursday before prepping for Thursday night's debate.
Missing from his side during his Iowa tour is his wife, Ann Romney, who Romney said today is serving jury duty. Taking her place are Romney's son Tagg and his daughter, who is one of Romney's 16 grandchildren.
Tagg Romney tweeted this photo just moments before the Hannity interview, commenting, "with dad and daughter getting ready 4 hannity taping."