Romney has been criticized on several occasions for failing to speak out against extreme rhetoric from his party. The reluctance stands in contrast to the 2008 GOP presidential nominee and current Romney supporter, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who once corrected a supporter who called Obama a Muslim.
And on Tuesday, Obama's re-election campaign surfaced a new television commercial directly accusing Romney of failing to stand up to "the voices of extremism" in his party.
The ad takes the former Massachusetts governor to task for failing to speak out against real estate mogul Donald Trump, a supporter who has consistently charged that Obama is not a U.S. citizen. It opens by showing 2008 nominee John McCain brushing aside a woman who raised the citizenship issue at a town hall-style meeting, and the commercial asks the viewer, "Why won't Mitt Romney do the same?"
Campaigning in Cleveland earlier in the month, Romney did not initially respond to a supporter who suggested that Obama should be tried for treason. He said after the rally that he didn't agree.
He was also slow to condemn conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who said a college student defending Obama's contraception policy was "a slut." At the time, Romney initially declined to weigh in on the issue before saying "it's not the language" he would have used.
And he was initially silent on violent rhetoric from classic rocker Ted Nugent before a spokeswoman said Romney "believes everyone needs to be civil."
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