Obama Calls Romney's Views `Extreme' as Convention Nears

President Barack Obama said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has taken “extreme positions” and failed to offer proposals that would help most Americans.

Obama, 51, made the comments Aug. 23 in an interview with the Associated Press that was published today. The president, who is seeking a second four-year term in the Nov. 6 election, said he knows that the economy hasn’t improved enough under his administration for many voters.

“If they saw Governor Romney offering serious proposals that offered some sort of concrete ways in which middle-class families would be helped, then I could understand them thinking about that choice,” Obama said. “But that’s not what’s happening.”

Obama made his comments as Romney prepares to take the national stage this week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Romney, 65, the former governor of Massachusetts, argues that Obama has failed to make the economy better and contends that a smaller, less intrusive government would jumpstart economic growth.

“He says marvelous things,” Mr. Romney told about 5,000 voters gathered for an outdoor rally in Powell, Ohio, today. “He just hasn’t done them.”

Fear and Frustration

In a podcast released today, Romney said that “Americans are looking to the White House for leadership, but all they’re getting from their president is fear, frustration and blame.”

In the AP interview, Obama criticized Romney’s policy positions, particularly on income tax rate cuts, abortion and the elimination of a tax break for wind energy.

“His view of how we grow an economy is just contradicted by the facts,” Obama said. “He has embraced an approach that we tried for almost a decade, and it didn’t work. And he’s now looking to double down on it.”

If he wins a second term, Obama told the AP, he would be “prepared to make a whole range of compromises” with Republicans in Congress, including some that would cause criticism from Democrats. “But we’re going to need compromise on your side as well. And the days of viewing compromise as a dirty word need to be over because the American people are tired of it.”

He wasn’t specific about those potential compromises, according to the AP. Republicans control the House of Representatives and are able to block most legislation in the Senate, which is under Democratic control.

Obama continued to criticize Romney on several topics on which they have sparred for weeks, including Romney’s refusal to release more than two years of his tax returns and Romney’s disputed contention that Obama wants to remove work requirements for welfare.

“The small bits of disclosure that he has put forward indicate investments in the Bahamas, or Swiss bank accounts, that indicates to me a lack of willingness to take responsibility for what this job entails,” Obama said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at rrubin12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jodi Schneider at jschneider50@bloomberg.net

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