Obama aide: Romney not honest about how he'd cut deficit

(CBS News) As the presidential campaigns battle in the final stretch before Election Day and the polls show the race tightening, two campaign aides sparred on Sunday's "Face the Nation" over policies for the next term.

Stephanie Cutter, top aide to President Obama's campaign, said former Governor Mitt Romney "is traveling around the country either being dishonest about his policy or not giving details." She said his "singular economic plan" is to give tax cuts for the wealthy.

Romney aide Kevin Madden offered a description of Romney's plan to reduce the deficit: "Governor Romney said we take care of the growth side, lower tax side and winnow away the inefficiencies, find the inefficiencies in the federal government, the federal budget, that's how we bring down the deficit and get the economy going."

"That sounds incredibly detailed," Cutter sarcastically quipped. "That's not an honest way... to give the American people what your agenda is for the next four years,"

Madden, however, had the same criticism for the president. The president's campaign "has not been one about the future. It hasn't been talking about what they would do in the next four years to rebuild the economy," he said.

"Mitt Romney ought to come on the trail with us and come to some of the rallies and listen to what the president is saying," Cutter retorted. She pointed to the president's plans to invest in community colleges and new math and science teachers. She also said Mr. Obama would reduce dependence on foreign oil "in half" and cut the deficit.

Madden didn't buy it, and claimed Mr. Obama and his campaign have "reduced themselves to very small attacks," referring to the president's stump speech line characterizing Romney's shifting positions as "Romnesia."

"It's a playful term to describe what Mitt Romney is doing," said Cutter in defense. "He has run as a severely conservative candidate the last six years, and in the last two weeks of this campaign he's suddenly moving to the middle? What about all those policies he declared?"

Madden said "playing Scrabble" with his opponent's name is "a glaring example of how the campaign has been."

Madden said Romnesia is just one example of the "smallness" of the president's campaign. "All this talk about binders, talk about Big Bird. All of that is indicative of a candidate that doesn't have a vision for the future," Madden quipped.

Schieffer noted that it was Romney, not the president, who first brought up binders and Big Bird. Madden responded by stating it was "very small" of the Obama campaign to make it a central component of their campaign.

Cutter argued, however, that both topics represented important examples of Romney's views and policies.

Big Bird, she said, was "the only thing Mitt Romney could point to as to how he would reduce the deficit" at the first debate. She also blamed Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, for running up the deficit during his time in Congress for voting for two wars and tax cuts during President George W. Bush's administration.

Moving to Romney's "binders" remark from the second presidential debate (where he said he was given "binders full of women" as potential hires for top level positions while he served as governor of Massachusetts), Cutter said it was the only accomplishment Romney could point to.

"He had a binder full of women. That's important because it's really symbolic of the governor's policies," said Cutter, who characterized Romney's positions on equal pay for women, contraception and health care as detrimental towards women.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.