President Barack Obama sat down with The Assosciated Press for an exclusive interview at the White House in anticipation of the Republican National Convention—and Obama didn't pull his punches on Republican opponent Mitt Romney, saying he lacks serious ideas, he makes arguments that aren't backed up by facts, he refuses to "own up" to the responsibilities of becoming president, and he represents an extreme GOP agenda that is trying to destroy the middle class. Oh yeah, and he takes cues from clowns with amusing combovers.
"I can't speak to Governor Romney's motivations," Obama told them on Thursday, before leaving for a weekend trip with his family to Camp David. "What I can say is that he has signed up for positions, extreme positions, that are very consistent with positions that a number of House Republicans have taken. And whether he actually believes in those or not, I have no doubt that he would carry forward some of the things that he's talked about."
You can see some of the interview in the clips above and below:
Among those "extreme" positions, the president criticized Romney for his across-the-board tax cuts, which Obama believes would only benefit the very wealthy while costing the nation $5 trillion. He called him out for his opposition to tax credits for producers of wind energy, and also predicted that a President Romney would not "stand in the way" if Congress gave him a bill that stripped away women's control over their reproductive health—this was the second time Obama referred to Republican House member Todd Akin's remarks on "legitimate rape" this week.
Obama also believes that if he's elected for a second term, it could help break the polarity of Washington politics; he said he would be "prepared to make a whole range of compromises" that could even rankle his own party, though he didn't get into any specifics about what that could mean.
And in what sounds like somewhat of a backhanded compliment to himself, the AP writes that "Obama expressed confidence that even voters whose lives have not improved during his term will stick with him as they assess the two candidates"—essentially arguing things might not be great, but they'd be much worse with that other guy who still appears in public with Donald Trump. "If they saw Gov. Romney offering serious proposals that offered some sort of concrete ways in which middle-class families would be helped, then I could understand them thinking about that choice," Obama said. "But that's not what's happening."
As for Romney's birther remarks this week—he told a Michigan crowd, "No one’s ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised”—Obama's team has released a new campaign video criticizing Romney for "embracing unfounded conspiracy theories." You can see that below: