Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Romney Can’t Bring Himself To Say That McCain Has Conducted A ‘Dignified And Honest’ Campaign

By Amanda Terkel

"Romney Can’t Bring Himself To Say That McCain Has Conducted A ‘Dignified And Honest’ Campaign"

Share:

google plus icon

This morning on NBC’s Today Show, host Meredith Vieira asked McCain campaign surrogate Mitt Romney about a new University of Wisconsin analysis, which found that more of McCain’s ads have been negative than Obama’s in the past week. Romney attempted to defend the McCain campaign. But when Vieira asked him — three times — whether he thought McCain was running a “dignified” campaign, Romney refused to agree:

VIEIRA: So, let me ask you, would you characterize John McCain’s campaign as dignified and honest?

ROMNEY: Well, what I’d characterize the entire campaign as is extraordinarily negative on the part of Barack Obama. [...]

VIEIRA: So you think his campaign was dignified?

ROMNEY: Well, I think it’s going to come down to this, and I think that is, who is going to be able to keep America safe and who is it that’s going to add jobs. [...]

VIEIRA: Governor, not to beat a dead horse here, but once again, do you believe that the campaign was dignified?

ROMNEY: Was it dignified? It was presidential.

Watch it:

Romney has a hard time delivering the McCain campaign talking points. When he recently appeared on CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked him if Sarah Palin was “ready to be President.” Romney hesitated, stuttered, and then eventually answered, “Well, that — that’s something which I — I believe the American people will, uh, assess individually.”

Transcript:

VIEIRA: You know, Matt asked Caroline Kennedy this morning about a University of Wisconsin study, I want to tell you about. It said 63 percent of Obama’s ads were negative. That same study said 79 percent of McCain’s ads were negative. Factcheck.org found that McCain has repeatedly mischaracterized Obama’s tax and health care plans, that he accused Obama of lying about his association with Bill Ayers when there was no evidence of that.

So, let me ask you, would you characterize John McCain’s campaign as dignified and honest?

ROMNEY: Well, what I’d characterize the entire campaign as is extraordinarily negative on the part of Barack Obama. Because with the figures you just gave me, and given the fact that Barack Obama outspent John McCain on the — on the air by some 4-to-1, it means that the amount of negative ads that came from Barack Obama have broken all presidential records.

VIEIRA: But — but this study indicates that there were more negative ads from McCain’s camp than there were from Obama’s.

ROMNEY: I think it’s — as I heard the study, it was a higher percentage, but a higher percentage of a much smaller number is a much smaller number of negative ads. But –

VIEIRA: So you think his campaign was dignified?

ROMNEY: Well, I think it’s going to come down to this, and I think that is, who is going to be able to keep America safe and who is it that’s going to add jobs. And I spent my life in business, as you know — Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on small businesses, to charge a fee to health care on small businesses, to insert unions into small businesses, and of course, not to use nuclear, coal, and offshore drilling, that is a job-killing program. There is no question…

VIEIRA: Not — not –

ROMNEY: … it will cost millions of new jobs.

VIEIRA: Governor, not to beat a dead horse here, but once again, do you believe that the campaign was dignified?

ROMNEY: Was it dignified? It was presidential. It’s the way it’s been ever since I’ve been around. Positive and negative in both directions, and I don’t think candidates make a lot of progress by whining about the — the campaign of their opponent. Get out there, tell your message. Our message is pretty simple. Barack Obama’s a charming — a good fella, but he’s not going to create jobs and keep America safe at a very critical time.

‹ McCain slips, almost credits ‘Joe the Bomber’ for rise in polls.

Perino: Bush hopes McCain wins because he has the ‘right ideas’ on the economy. ›

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.