Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney accused President Obama of attempting to divert attention from economic issues by engaging in class warfare on Wednesday. But Romney himself refused to stray from his message on the economy and job creation, despite Fox News host Sean Hannity's best efforts to get him to comment on recent controversies.
"What he is trying to do is to try to find any way to divert from his record, to divert the attention of the voting public. I think Americans are too smart for that," Romney said when asked by Hannity about Obama "hammering the class-warfare message" on the campaign trail.
Republicans have accused Obama of waging class warfare in recent weeks with his campaign in support of the so-called Buffett Rule, which would impose a 30 percent minimum tax on annual incomes of $1 million or more. While Obama and Democrats frame the issue as one of economic "fairness," Republicans decry the rule, which failed in the Senate on Monday, as a political ploy that would unnecessarily tie the hands of job creators.
Romney also condemned negative campaign attacks, saying that while the president is "a nice guy," the U.S. "just can't afford him for four more years."
"A campaign based on attacks, a campaign based on demonizing one another--that's not going to be successful," he said.
Romney's remarks follow his criticism of Obama for spending too much time golfing and traveling and not enough time focusing on America's problems. Speaking to conservative radio host Bill Cunningham, Romney said, "I scratch my head at the capacity of the president to take four hours off on such a regular basis to go golfing."
On Hannity, in a repeat of an earlier comment that's looking to become a signature Romney campaign line, the former Massachusetts governor tied Obama's policies to those of the Greek government, suggesting that America's growing debt is driving the country towards a Greek-style bailout.
"We are moving toward the Greek-type numbers. My guess is at the Democratic convention, [Obama] will not be appearing in front of columns like in Denver. He won't want to remind people of Greece," Romney said.
Romney was referring to the replica of the colonnade at Chicago's Soldier Field that was constructed at the Denver Broncos football stadium, in front of which Obama issued his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. In an earlier speech at a campaign stop in North Carolina, Romney referenced the columns, telling supporters that Obama wouldn't be in front of Greek-style columns at this year's DNC because "he is not going to want to remind anybody of Greece."
But try as he might, Hannity was unable to get Romney to veer off-message and comment on the burgeoning "war on dogs," which escalated last night when a number of conservative websites honed in on excerpts of Obama's memoirs in which he recalled eating dog as a child. Romney supporters pointed out the hypocrisy of the president's campaign attacking Romney for transporting the family dog, Seamus, on the top of their car during a vacation when the president himself had once eaten dog. Romney had been asked about the issue multiple times on Wednesday, but on Hannity, he repeated his earlier refusal to comment.
"I am going to talk about jobs and the economy," Romney said after being asked by Hannity a second time about the incident.