Mitt Romney took part in three network TV interviews Wednesday night that veered in wildly different directions.
With ABC, Romney addressed polls that show him trailing President Obama, with NBC he promoted the Massachusetts health law that was a model for the national law he has pledged to repeal, and with CBS he accused the Obama administration of “character assassination.”
Addressing polls, Romney told ABC’s David Muir that “Frankly at this early stage, polls go up, polls go down.” And he pointed to the first presidential debate — one week from tonight — as a potential turning point in the race.
Asked by NBC News how he can “better connect with Americans,” he referred to the universal health care law he signed into law as Governor of Massachusetts. Romney has only rarely referred to the Massachusetts law, which Democrats used as a model for the national health reform law – Obamacare – that Romney has pledged to repeal.
“I think throughout this campaign as well, we talked about my record in Massachusetts, don’t forget — I got everybody in my state insured,” Romney said. “One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record.”
Romney also referenced his church, another rarity during the campaign, although members of his Mormon congregation were featured prominently as character witnesses at the Republican National Convention.
“I think people have the chance, who watched our Republican convention, to see the lives that I’ve had a chance to touch during my life, to understand that as I served as a pastor of a congregation with people of all different backgrounds and economic circumstances that I care very deeply about the American people, people of different socio-economic circumstances,” Romney told NBC.
Separately, in an interview with CBS News, Romney suggested the Obama campaign has engaged at times in “character assassination” against him.
He was asked by CBS News’ Jan Crawford about conservatives who say he should be more aggressive and whether he will be in the coming month.
“This is a campaign, not about character assassination, even though that’s what I think has come from the Obama camp by and large,” he said.
“Do you think the Obama camp engaged in character assassination?,” asked Greenberg.
“Oh yeah, sure, they try and completely misrepresent my point of view, along with why I’m in this race, but I think fundamentally the American people are interested in who can make their life better,” he said. “Who can make people get better jobs and better incomes. And I can. He’s proven that he does not have the capability to do that. I do, I’ve proven that throughout my career. I think that’s what it’s going to come down to, so I listen to a lot of advice but frankly I’m going to keep on my message, which is I know how to get this economy going, create jobs, more take home pay for the American people.”