Obama: Romney is "very disciplined"

A new poll shows President Obama leading Mitt Romney in the key swing states of Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. CBS News' Jim Axelrod reports. AP Photo

Obama leading in three key swing states: New poll
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(CBS News) President Obama has plenty of criticism for Mitt Romney's world view, but he has at least a couple nice things to say about his GOP challenger: He's disciplined and faithful.

"He strikes me as somebody who is very disciplined," Mr. Obama said in an interview with Time magazine White House correspondent Michael Scherer on Aug. 21. "And I think that that is a quality that obviously contributed to his success as a private-equity guy."

Scherer asked the president to list what he admired about Romney, aside from Romney's family or his work on health care reform as governor of Massachusetts.

Along with praising Romney's discipline, Mr. Obama said of his rival, "I think he takes his faith very seriously. And as somebody who takes my Christian faith seriously, I appreciate that he seems to walk the walk and not just be talking the talk when it comes to his participation in his church."

The president then went on to articulate the ways in which he believes his economic philosophy differs from Romney's.

"The fundamental difference between Governor Romney and myself, aside from some of our life experiences, I think is really a matter of how do you grow an economy that is strong and healthy over the long term," he said. "And when you look at the history of this country, when we've done best it's been when everybody did well -- when the middle class was strong, when wages and incomes were keeping up with the cost of living, when the doors of opportunity were widening, when we were giving more people a quality education, when as a country we were willing to make investments in things like science and research that any individual enterprise wouldn't find profitable. That's when we do well."

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Mr. Obama told Scherer that in addition to getting the nation's fiscal house in order, there are a handful of other big issues he expects to be addressed in the next four years.

"I think we can get immigration reform done. The time is right for it," he said. "We used to have bipartisan support for it. That will continue to be a top priority for me."

He also said Washington should be able to make "a lot more progress" when it comes to energy policy. On top of that, he said the government should focus on rebuilding infrastructure and government reform.

The president said that if he is re-elected, he expects Republicans to cooperate with him more.

"I believe that in a second term, where Mitch McConnell's imperative of making me a one-term President is no longer relevant, they recognize that what the American people are looking for is for us to get things done," he said. "So my expectation is that there will be some popping of the blister after this election."

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