The Obama campaign is back to attacking Gov. Mitt Romney’s character — and calling for support from the established media — after a surprising debate defeat in Denver.
President Barack Obama’s chief campaign strategist, David Axelrod, led the offensive to claim that Romney is deceptive and dishonest in a Thursday morning press conference.
The debate “was a very vigorous performance [by Romney], but one that was devoid of honesty,” Axelrod claimed.
“The day after, the question … is really one of character, and whether or not a candidate that is so fundamentally rooted in hiding the facts and truth from the American people, in deception, is the basis of trust on which you assign the presidency to a person,” he announced.
“That is what we’re going to focus on moving forward,” Axelrod said, adding that he hoped the established media would also pressure Romney.
Shortly after the press event, Obama’s team announced a new TV ad, entitled “Trust,” that painted Romney as deceptive on taxes.
“If we can’t trust him here [in TV debates] … how could we ever trust him here?” says the ad, showing a picture of the Oval Office.
“What you’re going to see from the campaign over the next several days and next several weeks, is our effort to make sure that every voter out there understands exactly what the positions are that Mitt Romney danced around last night,” said Ben LaBolt, the campaign’s press secretary.
Those positions, he said, include “the fact that he has to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for the tax cuts for the wealthiest. That he wouldn’t cover people with pre-existing conditions between jobs, that he hasn’t suggested how he regulates Wall Street when he repeals Wall Street reform.”
Axelrod also called on the media to pressure Romney.
“We are going to hold Gov. Romney accountable for the things he said last night … as I hope you will make him justify those claims, because we need a honest and a genuine and realistic plan to move forward as a the country … not just a bunch of lines designed to get you through a debate.”
To emphasize the character attack, Axelrod repeatedly claimed that Romney was deceptive.
Romney “knowingly and willfully tried to deceive senior citizens” and “manhandled the truth.” He was “completely untethered from the truth” and “will say anything,” Axelrod said. (RELATED: Obama surrogates can’t quite spin a win after Denver debate)
Romney’s team, however, got their counter-counter-attack out within 30 minutes of the Obama event.
“The Obama campaign’s conference call today was just like the President’s performance last night,” said a statement from Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign.
“The campaign, like the President, offered no defense of the President’s first term record or vision for a second term, and instead, offered nothing but false attacks, petulant statements, and lies about Governor Romney’s record,” she said.