Obama responds to Romney's tough talk on Mideast

By Steve Peoples

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Sept. 23 2012 8:00 p.m. MDT

"Have I found some things I thought would be effective turned out not to be effective? Absolutely," Romney said. "You don't learn from experience, you don't learn from your mistakes —why, you know, you ought to be fired."

The series of interviews also offered glimpses into both candidates' personal habits, including their late-night routines. Romney said his nightly prayer is a time to connect both with the divine and with his own thoughts, and said he asks God mainly for wisdom and understanding.

Obama, describing himself as "a night guy," said that after first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters retire around 10 p.m., he hunkers down for reading, writing and occasionally a moment alone on the Truman Balcony, with the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial in view.

"Those are moments of reflection that, you know, help gird you for the next challenge and the next day," Obama said.

The "60 Minutes" interviews came as Romney's campaign strove to turn the page on a week of public stumbles and Republican hand-wringing, promising a redoubled effort in the most competitive states to undercut Obama's economic record as voters tune in for the final six weeks of a deadlocked race.

A secretly recorded video released last Monday showed Romney writing off his prospects for winning over the almost half of Americans who he said pay no taxes, are dependent upon government and see themselves as victims dominated the week. Ahead of an evening campaign stop at a Denver-area high school Sunday, Romney huddled with senior advisers in Los Angeles to rehearse for the three upcoming presidential debates, which his aides see as the best opportunity to get his campaign and its message back on track.

Amid mounting pressure to spend less time raising money and more time explaining his plans to voters, Romney was refocusing his schedule on the most competitive states. After Colorado, Romney was to begin a three-day bus tour in Ohio on Monday followed by a stop in Virginia — states that Obama won in 2008 but that Republicans claimed four years earlier.

While national polls remain tight, polls in several of the most closely watched states, including Colorado, suggest Obama has opened narrow leads. Obama won Colorado by 9 points four years ago, but the state went to a Republican in the previous three presidential elections.

Obama took a rare weekend break from the campaigning ahead of his U.N. address Tuesday, but dispatched top allies to the Sunday talk shows to try to keep Romney's missteps alive in the minds of a dwindling cadre of undecided voters.

Peoples reported from Los Angeles. AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller contributed to this report.

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