With Mitt Romney poised to accept the Republican nomination this week, President Obama today accused his rival of backing policies that would "make things worse for the middle class."
In an in interview with The Associated Press, the president told the Associated Press that "we aren't where we need to be," as far as the economic recovery goes, but said his opponent's ideas offer "no prospect for long-term opportunity" for Americans striving to enter the middle class.
"If they saw Governor Romney offering serious proposals that offered some sort of concrete ways in which middle-class families would be helped, then I could understand them thinking about that choice," Obama told the AP. "But that's not what's happening."
In a wide-ranging interview, the president sought to align Romney with the "extreme positions" of House Republicans.
"I can't speak to Governor Romney's motivations," Obama said. "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."
Among those "extreme positions," Obama said, was that Romney "would not stand in the way" if Congress presented him with the items in the GOP party platform that would "entirely roll back women's control over their reproductive health."
Republican leaders adopted a party platform that opposes abortion but does not specifically mention cases of rape or incest as possible exceptions. The issue of abortion was at the forefront of the debate this week after Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri, said that pregnancy is "rare" in cases of "legitimate rape" because the "female body has a way to try to shut that whole thing down."
Romney has said that his administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape.
Looking ahead to the presidential debates, Obama complimented Romney as a "capable debater" but said his arguments are based on false accusations.
"The challenge he may end up having is the fact that some of the core arguments he's making against me just aren't based on facts," he said.
On the stump and on the airwaves, Romney has been accusing the president of gutting welfare reform by dropping the work requirement, something the Obama campaign has said is "blatantly false."
"If that's the central premise or the central argument that you're making and it's based on something that's just not true, it will be, I think, a little bit tougher to defend face-to-face in a debate," Obama said.
In response to the interview, the Romney campaign said "the American people know they aren't better off than they were four years ago."
"Too many middle-class families are going to sleep each night worried about the future. This may be the best President Obama can do, but it's not the best America can do. The Romney-Ryan plan for a stronger middle class will jump start our economy and create 12 million new jobs - and most importantly, give Americans hope for a better future," a Romney spokesman said in a written statement.