GOP Nominee Responds With Assault On President's 1998 Comments

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mitt Romney turned from defense to offense on Wednesday, aggressively attacking President Barack Obama’s economic policies, and bringing up controversial comments made by the president more than a decade ago, when he called for the redistribution of wealth.

It’s the tale of the tape, in reverse. After taking it on the chin because of secretly recorded comments made to campaign donors, Romney sought to change the focus of the presidential campaign with an attack on President Obama’s economic policies, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

“The question in this campaign is not who cares about the poor and middle class. I do. He does. The question is who can help the poor and middle class. I can. He can’t. He’s proven it in four years,” Romney said.

Romney tried to exploit the president’s own embarrassing tape, when he called for the redistribution of wealth in America.

“It is free people and free enterprise. It is not redistribution and government that makes America strong and will provide a brighter future for our families,” Romney said.

The Obama tape is from 1998 when he was an Illinois state senator. It surfaced in the last presidential campaign as well.

“I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in some redistribution at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot,” Obama says on the video.

Team Obama charged that the Republicans are bringing up the old tape to divert attention from Romney’s own caught-on-tape comments, the recent ones about the 47 percent of Americans who, he said, are Obama supporters and are dependent on government handouts.

“When a campaign has had a very bad day, or a very bad week, and in circumstances like that, there are efforts made, sometimes desperate efforts, to change the subject,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

The president and Republican nominee are to meet for a series of three debates next month. The first one in Colorado is in two weeks.

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