JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Mitt Romney said today that he is "disappointed" in President Obama's campaign for being "focused on character assassination," saying that he considers the president's attacks on his career at Bain to be an attempt to make him seem to be "not a good person or not a good guy."
"I have been disappointed with the president's campaign to date which is focused on character assassination," said Romney. "I just think that we're wiser to talk about the issues of the day, what we do to get America working again, talk about our respective records."
When asked to specify what he considers to be a character assassination, Romney pointed to the recent advertisement released by the Obama reelection campaign that pegged him as a "job destroyer" for his time at Bain Capital.
"Obviously, his efforts to look at my work at Bain is to try to characterize me in a way that isn't accurate," said Romney. "My effort at Bain Capital, as you know, was, in every case, designed to make the enterprises we invested in more successful, to grow them."
"There's this fiction that some have that somehow you can be highly successful by stripping assets from enterprise and walking away with lots of money and killing the enterprise. There may be some people who know how to do that. I sure don't," said Romney. "And the purpose of the president's ads are not to describe success and failure but to somehow suggest that I'm not a good person or not a good guy, and I think the American people will know better than that if they don't already."
Romney, referring to a New York Times report this morning that detailed the plans of a conservative group to develop an ad that would link Obama to the controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., said that he saw glimpses of character assassination in that ad, too.
"Having a campaign focused on character assassination is one of the things I find offensive, among many others, in the PAC description that came in the New York Times," said Romney.
"If that's accurate, why, that's something I repudiate," said Romney.
Asked how his condemnation of the possible Rev. Wright ad squares with his own complaint about Obama "listening to Rev. Wright," made during an interview with Sean Hannity in February, Romney said, "I'm not familiar with precisely what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. … I'll go back and take a look at what was said there."
On that Hannity show episode, the host played a clip of Obama saying, "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation," prompting Romney to argue that Obama denied that a "Judeo Christian philosophy is an integral part of our foundation," which "is really an extraordinary thing.
"I think, again, that the president takes his philosophical leanings from this regard not from those who are ardent believers in various faiths but instead those who would like to see America more secular," Romney added. "I'm not sure which is worse: him listening to Rev. Wright or him saying we must be a less-Christian nation."
Today, Romney said that his own campaign plans to release a television ad in the next few days that will be positive.
"I certainly hope that you get a chance to see our first ad that'll come up in, I think, a couple of days. It will be a positive ad on what I would do if I were president," Romney said. "It'll be contrasting with the president's ad, which, again, is a character assassination ad."