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Romney Hits Obama Campaign’s ‘Divisiveness’ in Interview

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama is running a negative political campaign that is dividing the country, Mitt Romney said in advance of the Republican National Convention.

The “character assassination and divisiveness” of the president’s campaign contrast with Obama’s message of hope and change that helped him win the White House in 2008, Romney said in an interview with “Fox News Sunday” that aired today.

Obama’s “whole campaign has been about dividing the American people,” Romney said. “It’s between the haves and the have-nots.”

Obama was “the first post-Watergate candidate for president who said he was going to push aside the federal spending limits and spend an unlimited amount based on what he could raise,” Romney said of campaign financing. “And to be competitive, we obviously are following suit.”

“But I would far rather have a setting where we had both agreed to the federal spending limits,” Romney said. “It increases the potential of money having influence in politics.”

As the Republican National Convention begins this week in Tampa, Florida, Romney, a multi-millionaire whose father was once governor of Michigan, is attempting to portray himself as a candidate who can relate to the broader population. He appeared in a separate “Fox News Sunday” interview with his wife, Ann, at their house in New Hampshire.

The family has no servants there and Romney cooks, shops and irons his own shirts, according to his wife. The couple displayed a chore wheel that divides household work among members of the family and Romney cooked pancakes for Fox’s Chris Wallace.

Women’s Rights

Romney described himself as a defender of women’s rights, further distancing himself from comments made this month by Representative William Todd Akin, a Republican candidate for Senate, who said victims of “legitimate rape” may be able to avoid pregnancy.

Romney said the remarks were “outrageous” and that Republicans have told Akin to end his Senate bid in Missouri. He also defended Republican support for women.

“I’m the guy that was able to get health care for all the women and men in my state,” he said, referring to Massachusetts’ health care program. The state was able to overhaul its health care system without cutting Medicare, which is what the federal health care law enacted in 2010 would do, he said.

Obama’s signature health-care overhaul bill cuts Medicare “to pay for Obamacare,” Romney said.

“I want to make sure that we get the country back on track,” Romney said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Wingfield in Washington at bwingfield3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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