"What does it say about a president whose record is so poor that all he can do in this campaign is attack me?" Romney told Fox News Channel.
Mitt Romney is making a new effort to argue that his presidential campaign is gaining strength while President Barack Obama's bid for re-election has stalled. The goal is to boost the morale of Romney supporters and attract more contributions from conservative donors despite a recent wave of negative publicity that has drawn huge amounts of media coverage.
Romney is hitting back against Obama's withering ad campaign that criticizes Romney for being a predatory investor when he led Bain Capital, a private-equity firm. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has begun a new path of attack by arguing that Obama is hypocritical because he took contributions from Bain executives but is attacking the nature of Bain's work—to make money for investors.
Romney forces are also trying to tar Obama with charges of corruption by saying the Obama administration has made a habit of rewarding cronies and supporters, such as labor unions and the Solyndra solar energy company, which failed even though it received huge injections of government money.
"When millions upon millions of dollars are given by the Obama administration to the businesses of campaign contributors, that's a real problem, particularly at a time when the middle class is really suffering in this country," Romney said. "This is a tough time in America. But if you're a contributor to Barack Obama, your business may stand to get billions, or hundreds of millions, of dollars in cash from the government. I think it's wrong. I think it stinks to high heaven."
Neil Newhouse, Romney's campaign pollster, E-mailed reporters an analysis arguing that Obama's wave of attack ads has not made much difference. Newhouse cited Washington Post reporting that since mid-April, Obama's campaign has run $51.4 million in paid television advertising, while the Romney campaign has run $22.7 million in ads.
"Of Obama's $51.4 million, more than half of it has been in negative advertising," Newhouse said. "What has that bought the Democrats? A closer race—Obama has slipped and support for Governor Romney has increased." Newhouse cited a polling average compiled by Real Clear Politics that Obama led Romney 48.5 percent to 43.2 on April 10, but slipped to a 46.8 to 44.4 lead on July 15. The race, Newhouse says, is "a dead heat."
However, Newhouse's analysis didn't include the millions of dollars in advertising purchased by political action committees backing Romney.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," and is the author of "The Presidency" column in the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook and Twitter.