Romney: Democratic platform shows party is 'extreme'

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally on September 1, 2012 in Jacksonville, Fla.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally on September 1, 2012 in Jacksonville, Fla.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

(CBS News) Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said the initial decision by Democrats to remove the word "God" from their party platform shows how "out of touch" and "extreme" they've become.

"I think their having removed purposefully 'God' from their platform suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of American people," Romney said in a televised interview with Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron. "I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don't recognize."

At the Democratic National Convention this week, the word "God" was dropped from a paragraph in the 2008 platform that referred to Americans making the most of "their God-given potential." But after being hammered by Republicans for the change, the Democrats added the word back on Wednesday. The platform now reads, "We need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential."

Also under pressure from GOP critics, the Democrats added back to their convention platform a reference to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Romney also said in the interview that President Obama's grading his handling of the economy in his first term as "incomplete" is the equivalent to asking for a do-over. "Incomplete usually means that you've got to go back and take the course again," Romney said. "I don't think the American people want to see this president get another four years."

It's been more than 35 years since Romney attended college, so he may be a bit fuzzy on the grading system. Traditionally, an incomplete grade means a student has not finished the work needed to receive a letter grade and is given an extension. Most colleges will not allow students to re-register for courses in which they hold a grade of incomplete.

In another television interview Wednesday, Romney gave the Democrats' convention a poor grade.

"So far it's been a celebration of failure, I'm afraid," he told the ABC affiliate in Charlotte. "The Democratic party and the Obama campaign really don't have a lot to point to in terms of accomplishment. The American people know they're not better off than they were four years ago. And there are two numbers that were big in the media this week, but are not likely to make it into the Democrat convention. One is $16 trillion of debt. ... And the other is 47 -- 47 million people now on food stamps. When the president was sworn into office, there were 33 million. That means he's added 15 million onto food stamps - that's more even than the population of North Carolina, the population of Ohio."

He also commented on first lady Michelle Obama's convention address, although he said he didn't watch it, and on actor Clint Eastwood's controversial dialogue with an empty chair, representing Obama, at the Republican National Convention last week.

"I have respect for the first lady. I think Michelle Obama's a lovely person. I actually didn't hear her remarks, but certainly wish her well. My own view is that this is a race where we look at the president's record, at the results of his policies, and if people think things have gotten better and they're happy with the way things are right now, why, they should vote for him again," he said.

Of Eastwood's caustic dialogue with an invisible Obama, Romney said, "Everybody has their own way of expressing things. Clint's obviously a character that expresses his own views in the way he thinks best. I think one of the things he said very well is that we own this country, that we the people are this country. And I think last night at the Democratic convention, when they said that we all belong to the government, I don't think they could have been wrong, more incorrect. The government belongs to us as the people. And Clint said it in his way, I'll say it in my way."

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    Sarah Huisenga is covering the Mitt Romney campaign for CBS News and National Journal.