COLUMBUS, Ohio – Mitt Romneyaccused President Obamaof waging a campaign of “division and attack and hatred” on Wednesday, seizing upon a remark by Vice President Joe Biden to a racially mixed crowd that Romney wanted to “put y’all back in chains.”
The Republican presidential candidate also criticized Obama campaign ads that say Romney “made $20 million in 2010 but paid only 14% in taxes” and raise questions about his overseas investments and his refusal to release more than two years of tax returns.
“I think if you look at the ads that have been described, and the divisiveness based upon income, age, ethnicity and so forth, it’s designed to bring a sense of enmity and jealousy and anger,” Romney told “CBS This Morning.” “And this is not, in my view, what the American people want to see.”
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Romney has called for a pact with Obama to stop attack ads on such subjects as “business or family or taxes.” But the president has made Romney’s relatively low tax rate a core element of his argument that his fiscal plan is more fair to the middle class than his opponent’s.
Speaking from his campaign bus after a four-day swing across Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio, Romney told CBS that he was “running to get America working again and get good jobs for people with more take home pay.
“And the president seems to be running just to hang on to power” he said. “I think he’ll do anything in his power to try and get reelected.”
Romney’s main focus on Wednesday morning was the gaffe-prone vice president’s racially charged accusation that Romney aimed to put people in chains. Biden told a partly African American crowd in Danville, Va., on Tuesday: “Romney wants to, he said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks once again write their own rules – unchain Wall Street. They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”
“These personal attacks, I think, are demeaning to the office of the White House,” Romney said. “And the comments yesterday by the vice president I think just diminished the White House that much more.”
Romney said Biden had used a “metaphor which is not uplifting, not uniting.”
“The president’s campaign is all about division and attack and hatred,” he said. “My campaign is about getting America back to work and creating greater unity in this country.”
As for his policy on regulating banks and investment firms, Romney took issue with Biden’s accusation that he would “unchain Wall Street.” “Look, no one is talking about deregulating Wall Street,” Romney said.
Romney has called for repealing the Dodd-Frank law that Congress passed in an effort to curb some of the high-risk Wall Street investment practices that sparked the 2008 financial crisis and global economic downturn, but has proposed nothing specific to replace it.