Romney hits Obama for "inaccurate" attacks

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign fundraising event in Del Mar, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012.
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
Mitt Romney at fundraiser in Del Mar, Calif., Saturday
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Mitt Romney said Sunday that he trails in key swing states because of President Obama's "very inaccurate portrayals" of his positions, and criticized Mr. Obama's decision to decline federal campaign matching funds, even though he, too, has opted not to accept them.

Speaking to reporters aboard a flight to Denver, Romney said he has had trouble getting his message out because the Obama campaign has distorted his position on several issues.

"I think that the president's campaign has focused its advertising in many cases on very inaccurate portrayals of my positions," he said. "They've been very aggressive in their attacks both on a personal basis and on a policy basis. I think as time goes on, people will realize that those attacks are not accurate and we'll be able to have a choice which is based upon each others' accurate views for the country."

Romney accused the president of inaccurately saying he favors lowering taxes on the wealthy while raising them on middle-income people. He was apparently referring to Democrats' use of a study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center that found Romney's tax plan would require households with incomes under $200,000 to pay higher taxes, on average, to help finance tax cuts for the rich. Romney has dismissed the study's assumptions as "garbage."

Romney also complained that a recent Obama ad, "Dangerous," that said Romney and running mate Paul Ryan both backed proposals that would outlaw abortions even in cases of rape or incest. "That's wrong," Romney said.

The fact-checking website PolitFact said the ad's assertion was based on an interview Romney had with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. In that interview, Romney affirmed his support for a constitutional amendment establishing the definition of life as conception - a term strongly associated with banning abortion, and in the eyes of some advocates, without exception for rape and incest.

However, PolitiFact noted that Romney has distanced himself from formal personhood amendments and emphasized in an interview with National Review that he supports exceptions for rape and incest.

Romney said Mr. Obama's decision not to accept federal matching funds - which enables him to raise unlimited amounts of money - has led him to do "a lot more fundraising than I think I would like.

"I'd far rather be spending my time out in the key swing states campaigning, door-to-door if necessary, but in rallies and various meetings, but fundraising is a part of politics when your opponent decides not to live by the federal spending limits," he added.

Romney also has declined matching funds, saying he must do so to remain competitive. He has said he would like to return to the public fundraising system if he is elected and seeks another term.

Asked if he thinks he can win the upcoming debates against Mr. Obama, Romney said he relished the opportunity to explain his positions directly to voters.

"I think the president will not be able to continue to mischaracterize my pathway, and so I'll continue to describe mine, he will describe his, and people will make a choice," he said. "That's the great thing about democracy. I'm not going to try to fool people into thinking he believes things he doesn't. He's trying to fool people into thinking that I think things that I don't. And that ends at the debates."

But he said he couldn't guarantee a debate win. "I can't tell you winning and losing," he said.""I mean, he's president of the United States, he's a very effective speaker. I hope I'll be able to describe my positions in a way that is accurate and the people will make a choice as to which path they want to choose. I happen to believe that if we each do our job relatively well, I will be able to convince people that our pathway forward will be more prosperous and more secure and more confident if we choose the path I describe."

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