Thursday, May 24, 2018

Obama speaks of Romney's 'extreme' views

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Mitt Romney has locked himself into "extreme positions" on economic and social issues and would surely impose them if elected, trying to discredit his Republican rival at the biggest political moment of his life.

In a 25-minute interview conducted in the library of the White House residence with the Associated Press, Obama said Romney lacks serious ideas, refuses to "own up" to the responsibilities of what it takes to be president, and deals in factually dishonest arguments that could soon haunt him in face-to-face debates.

Obama also offered a glimpse of how he would govern in a second term of divided government, insisting rosily that the forces of the election would help break Washington's stalemate. He said he would be willing to make a range of compromises with Republicans, confident there are some who would rather make deals than remain part of "one of the least productive Congresses in American history."

The president depicted his opponent as having accumulated ideas far outside the mainstream with no room to turn back.

"I can't speak to Gov. Romney's motivations," Obama said. "What I can say is that he has signed up for positions, extreme positions, that are very consistent with positions that a number of House Republicans have taken. And whether he actually believes in those or not, I have no doubt that he would carry forward some of the things that he's talked about."

Obama spoke Thursday before heading off to a long weekend with his family at Camp David, the secluded presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains.

Romney, a successful former executive of a private equity firm and one-time Massachusetts governor, will introduce himself to a TV audience of millions when he takes the convention stage in Tampa to accept his party's presidential nomination. He has offered himself as a business-minded alternative to Obama and has seized on voter concerns about joblessness and the direction of the nation.

Nearly ten weeks before Election Day, the race is remarkably stable and reflective of a sharply divided nation, with registered voters about evenly split on their choice and nearly a quarter of them unsure or still willing to change their mind. Across the interview, Obama's messages often seemed directed at moderate and independent voters whose sway could make the difference.

In explaining his accusation of "extreme" positions, the president cited Romney's call for across-the-board tax cuts that Obama said would mostly help the rich at the expense of everyone else and cost the nation $5 trillion. Obama singled out Romney's opposition to tax credits for producers of wind energy, the kind of issue that carries large political resonance in a battleground state such as Iowa.

And Obama alluded to the provocative issue of abortion, suddenly thrust to the fore this week when Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin said the female body has a way to "shut that whole thing down" when a woman is the victim of "legitimate rape."

The Republican platform in Tampa calls for a ban on abortion with no specific exceptions for rape or other circumstances. Obama predicted that a President Romney would not "stand in the way" if Congress gave him a bill that stripped away women's control over their reproductive health.

Romney is on record, however, as not opposing abortion in cases of rape and incest or if it will save the mother's life.

Obama holds a broad lead as the candidate more trusted to handle those social issues among Democrats and independents. The issue is one of Romney's biggest vulnerabilities among moderate and liberal Republicans.

Obama also sought to chip away at Romney's trustworthiness, taking fresh shots at Romney's refusal to release years of tax returns for public inspection. He said that position was indicative of a candidate who has a "lack of willingness to take responsibility for what this job entails."

Yet it is the economy that has driven this election and has dominated Obama's message of a middle-class revival.

"We aren't where we need to be. Everybody agrees with that," said Obama, who inherited an economy in free fall and now bears responsibility for a recovery that remains weak. "But Gov. Romney's policies would make things worse for middle-class families and offer no prospect for long-term opportunity for those striving to get into the middle class," the president said.

Obama holds a decisive advantage over Romney when Americans are asked who better understands their daily woes. Yet nearly two-thirds of people in a new AP-GfK poll say the economy is in poor shape, and 60 percent say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

Obama and Romney hold three debates in October. The president said Romney could run into trouble because of arguments that are not backed up by facts, citing a widely debunked television ad campaign in which Romney accuses Obama of gutting the work requirement in the federal welfare law.

If Republicans are willing, Obama said, "I'm prepared to make a whole range of compromises" that could even rankle his own party.

Comments
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday night, Washington Capitals captain A...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Parkland families seek courtís OK to sue gun companies

Parkland families seek courtís OK to sue gun companies

Fred Guttenberg looked over his shoulder at the poster behind him. There was Jaime, his forever 14-year-old daughter, leaping into a split in her ballet leotard. In another photo, she posed with her father, grinning wide for the camera.Jaime was amon...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Florida Department of Education delivers third-grade reading test results

Florida Department of Education delivers third-grade reading test results

Most of Florida's third graders will get to find out whether they passed the required state reading test before the school year ends, after all.The Florida Department of Education, under pressure from parents and educators to get the scores out ...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Sixteen states apply for election security money. Florida? Not yet.

Sixteen states apply for election security money. Florida? Not yet.

Sixteen states have formally applied for federal money to improve their election security in advance of the 2018 vote.Florida is not yet one of them.The state's chief elections officer, Secretary of State Ken Detzner, says: "We've been working on it ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

Behind the deal: $52 million boutique hotel coming to Ybor City started with cafe con leche at La Tropicana Cafe

TAMPA ó Joe Capitano Sr. invested in the 1400 block of E Seventh Avenue in 1985, never doubting the huge potential of the property for Ybor City.But the deal to build a $52 million boutique hotel on the site didnít start to come together until six ye...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Gophers finalize hockey schedule, will play UND in Las Vegas

The University of Minnesota hockey team has finalized its 2018-19 schedule that includes a game against North Dakota in Las Vegas
Updated: 1 hour ago

Staley settles lawsuit against Missouri athletic director

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley reaches $50,000 settlement in her lawsuit against Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk
Updated: 1 hour ago

Judge mulls motion to dismiss Charlottesville rally lawsuit

A federal judge is set to hear arguments from white nationalists and others that a lawsuit against them over last summer's violence in Charlottesville should be dismissed
Updated: 1 hour ago
Officials trade blame after teen arrested in officer's death

Officials trade blame after teen arrested in officer's death

An officer's death has authorities in Maryland blaming each other for putting a troubled teen now charged with murder on home arrest
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

Rays tripling down on starting relievers vs. Orioles this weekend: Romo, Stanek, Romo

The Rays aren't kidding about being serious in using relievers to start games.After unveiling the strategy last weekend against the Angels, manager Kevin Cash said they planned to use it again, and he made that official on Thursday, naming Sergio Rom...
Updated: 1 hour ago