Obama, Romney launch new attacks on each other

(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- President Obama welcomed Mitt Romney to the race Wednesday with a phone call congratulating him on clinching the Republican nomination.

"The president mentioned how he looks forward to a what he believes is a very important debate that will be engaged in the course of this campaign," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

With the nomination now locked up, Romney pivoted to a new phase of the campaign, introducing himself to the American public at large, in an interview with Fox News.

"People will get to know me better," Romney said. "My guess is they're going to get to know more about me than they'd like to by the time we're finished!"

The Obama campaign, after weeks of attacks on Romney's record as head of a successful private equity firm, shifted to his time as the governor of Massachusetts.

"By the time Mitt Romney left office, we were 47th in the nation in terms of job growth," a web ad says.

Full coverage: Election 2012

And David Axelrod, a senior Obama campaign adviser, sent a five- page memo on Romney's record to reporters. He's headed to Boston to attack the former Bay State governor.

Romney will spend Thursday in California, as his campaign points to the failure of the energy firm Solyndra.

One ad asks, "You've heard of Solyndra? They took $535 million in taxpayer loan guarantees and went bankrupt."

But on Thursday, Democrats and Republicans actually get to practice the "politics of civility," which so many say they wish for in these partisan days.

Former President George W. Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, will be at the White House for lunch and the unveiling of the younger Bush's official portrait.

Never mind that Mr. Obama has been blaming what he calls the "failed policies" of the Bush years; protocol calls for Thursday to be all smiles.

And historians say most of the men who have had the top job actually wind up liking and understanding one another.

To see Bill Plante's report, click on the video in the player above.

  • Bill Plante

    Bill Plante is a CBS News Senior White House Correspondent

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