President Barack Obama, in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, sought to take some of the attention from Republican rival Mitt Romney as Romney heads into the Republican National Convention beginning Monday. Obama said Romney's policies would hurt the middle class and enrich the wealthy.
Here are highlights of Thursday's 25-minute interview:
Said Romney has taken on "extreme positions" that are consistent with the views of many House Republicans and said he would expect the former Massachusetts to advance some of those positions if he won the White House. Said he expected Romney to pursue a $5 trillion tax cut, the rolling back of reproductive rights for women and the elimination of tax credits for wind producers if elected.
Acknowledged that the nation's economy has not improved quickly enough for many people and "we aren't where we need to be." But said Romney's policies would make things worse for middle-class families while benefiting the wealthy and not offer long-term opportunities for poor Americans trying to get into the middle class.
Accused Romney of not willing to live up to some of the responsibilities required of someone seeking the presidency, pointing to his unwillingness to release multiple years of federal tax returns. Said when you run for president, you're asking the American people to "put their trust in you," and as a result, candidates need to disclose their tax records.
ROMNEY THE BUSINESSMAN
Credited Romney with achieving "extraordinary success" with his business and said he cares "deeply" about his family and faith. But said Romney's view of the economy was "contradicted by the facts" and accused his opponent of pursuing policies that have not benefited the economy in the past.
Called Romney a "very capable debater" and said his opponent performed well in debates during the Republican primaries. But said Romney would face challenges in the October debates against him because the arguments Romney is making "just aren't based on facts."
SECOND TERM AGENDA
Said if he wins a second term, voters will have cast a "decisive view" and expressed hope that Republicans would be willing to end the stalemate in Congress with Democrats. Said he was willing to make a number of compromises, including those that might bring criticism from Democrats, in order to make progress. Said he expected Republicans to make similar compromises as well.