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Top Obama adviser says Romney campaign based on 'tripod of lies'

September 02, 2012|By Paul West
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan hug on the stage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential… (Mladen Antonov / AFP / Getty…)

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — David Plouffe, a senior aide to President Obama, said Mitt Romney’s campaign is built on a “tripod of lies,” and he blasted the Republican presidential nominee for never mentioning the war in Afghanistan and U.S troops serving overseas in his acceptance speech.

Romney “didn’t talk about the war we’re waging in Afghanistan, or our troops, which is an amazing thing for someone who wants to be, 66 days from now, elected as our commander in chief,” Plouffe said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”  “Maybe that’s because Gov. Romney called our ending of the war in Iraq ‘tragic,’ has opposed our plans in Afghanistan in terms of bringing troop home. ... That was a huge omission and I think a really remarkable thing.”

Romney, the first Republican nominee in some 60 years who didn’t touch on the armed forces in his acceptance speech, has been criticized by some conservatives for the omission.

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Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, in a CNN interview Sunday, said Romney designed the acceptance speech to introduce himself to the country and that he “accomplished what he set out to do.” Fehrnstrom pointed out that Romney spoke about the war earlier last week in a speech at an American Legion convention.

Plouffe, who ran Obama’s 2008 campaign and now works at the White House,  dodged repeated questions from interviewer George Stephanopoulos about whether Americans are better off today than they were when Barack Obama became president.

But Plouffe acknowledged that “we have a lot more work to do. We need to grow jobs more quickly. We need to grow middle-class incomes more quickly.”

“The question for the American people is, which path are we going to take?” he said. “We’re going to be far worse off if Mitt Romney is elected president and he gets a chance to enact the same economic policies that created the mess in the first place.”

The Obama adviser, traveling with president in Colorado, ripped the Republican ticket for running on what he described as serial untruths.

“Right now, their campaign is built on a tripod of lies,” Plouffe said. He mentioned Romney’s latest attack themes — over welfare, Medicare and a recent Obama remark about building small business — all of which, he said, bend the facts or include misleading charges.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a presidential campaign, ever, that’s built on a foundation of absolute lies. And ultimately I think they are going to pay a price for that,” he said.

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Plouffe dodged the question of whether he agreed with Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s description of Romney’s ad, which attacks Obama for “gutting” welfare reform, as a “dog-whistle” that plays on racial resentments.

Plouffe did say he thought that the Romney camp had pivoted to other issues because the initial strategy — that the former Massachusetts governor could win by making the election a referendum on the president’s handling of the economy — was insufficient to do the job.

“Their whole theory was, ‘Our whole campaign is just going to be the economy’s not great, and it’s Obama’s fault,’” Plouffe said. Now, he added, the Romney campaign is emphasizing the issues of Medicare and welfare.  “It’s a remarkable thing,” he said.

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paul.west@latimes.com

Twitter: @paulwestdc

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