Mitt Romney speaks at the Newspaper Assn. of America/American Society… (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated…)
WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney, speaking on the same stage that President Obama used a day earlier to launch a blistering attack on the GOP, returned fire by accusing the president of "rhetorical excess" and using "straw men to distract from his record."
The former Massachusetts governor, one day after winning a set of primaries that all but ensured he would be his party's nominee to face Obama in the fall, also used the week-old "hot mic" incident involving the president and his Russian counterpart to raise questions about what Obama would do if he wins a second term.
"His intent is on hiding. You and I will have to do the seeking," Romney told a gathering of newspaper executives in Washington.
Referring to Obama telling Dmitry Medvedev he'd have more "flexibility" to negotiate on missile defense after his election, Romney asked: "On what other issues will he state his true position only after the election is over?"
Obama, speaking to the same group on Tuesday, built his criticisms of Romney around the House Republican budget plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), a Romney supporter. Obama noted Romney had called the Ryan plan "marvelous," but said it actually would "gut" investments meant to grow the middle class to pay for tax cuts for the affluent.
Romney said Obama has "railed against arguments no one is making – and criticized policies no one is proposing."
Obama has "zero" plans to address the nation's challenges, Romney added, claiming that when the president took office, he "delegated the stimulus to Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid" so he could work on a "government takeover of healthcare and apologizing for America abroad."
Romney then outlined his strategy, saying he has been attacked for having "so many ideas." Those include cutting all marginal tax rates, repealing the president's health reform law and cutting "programs that we cannot afford." He also would reform Social Security and Medicare in a way that "strengthens them for future generations."
"And, unlike President Obama, I have the courage to stand behind my plan and the leadership to enact it," he said.
"This November, we will face a defining decision. Our choice will not be one of party or personality. This election will be about principle. Freedom and opportunity will be on the ballot," he concluded.
Even as he increasingly focuses his campaign on the president, Romney is set to take his campaign now to Pennsylvania where he'll begin campaigning ahead of the state's April 24 primary.
Romney said he hasn't asked rivals Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich or Ron Paul to drop out of the race. But he added, "I hope that we're able to resolve our nomination process as soon as possible, of course.”
Original source: Mitt Romney accuses Obama of waging 'hide and seek' campaign