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Transcript of AP interview with President Obama



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And I hear — not in public, but in private — that many of them would like to go ahead and get some stuff done because they recognize that our children and our grandchildren have a stake in us being able to get this work done.

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Q. Let’s talk some more about Governor Romney. What have you learned about him this campaign?

Obama: Well, I think Governor Romney obviously has achieved extraordinary success with his businesses, and he’s obviously very focused on achieving the presidency. He cares deeply about his family, and I think he cares deeply about his faith.

On the other hand, his view of how we grow an economy is just contradicted by the facts. 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.

What we’ve also seen is Governor Romney has not been willing to, I think, own up to some of the responsibilities that are required if you’re president of the United States. So there’s been obviously a lot of discussion about his unwillingness to release his tax returns. As I mentioned in a press conference on Monday, we’ve suggested he needs to, not because we’re being mean or asking something unusual. When you run for president, you are asking the American people to put their trust in you on a whole range of decisions that are going to be really consequential for them, including over the next year issues of tax reform and how we make sure the tax code is fair for everybody.

And if you’ve got a precedent where every other candidate for this office has said — here are my finances, here’s how I’ve handled my tax obligations — and you’ve got a governor who’s been unwilling to do that, and 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.

Q. What about more personally? One of the political narratives out there is that you are specifically driven to beat him not just because of the visions and the policies, but this guy gets you going, he gets under your skin. Is that true?

Obama: No, that’s not true. I think that’s stirred-up Beltway discussions.


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Q. So, privately, when you guys have strategy meetings, no dislike for him, no disdain for him?

Obama: I don’t really know him well. I think that the big arguments that I have with Governor Romney have to do with where we take this country forward. And it is my firm belief that somebody who wants to be president of the United States but is willing to try tax plans that won’t create jobs and will definitely increase the deficit or increase burdens on the middle class, somebody who appears to have disdain for renewable, homegrown energy that has created thousands of jobs and is part of what is allowing us to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, somebody who believes that when it comes to Medicare that we should move towards a voucher system — that he is somebody who, for whatever reason, has not offered the kinds of solutions that are going to help America be strong in the future.

And that’s the kind of debate that the American people ultimately are going to be making a decision about.

Q. When you get to your debates with him, where do you think he’s vulnerable?

Obama: Well, I just listed a whole range of differences and —

Q. I mean — I’m sorry — specifically in the debate, that format? A lot of people are going to be paying attention to see how —

Obama: My sense is Governor Romney is a very capable debater. I think he did a very good job in his primary scoring points. The challenge he may end up having is the fact that some of the core arguments he’s making against me just aren’t based on facts.

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