By Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times –
ABOARD THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN PLANE — After a rocky week in which fellow Republicans voiced alarm about Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, the nominee said Sunday that he was forced by President Barack Obama to devote much of his schedule to fundraising and that for the rest of the campaign he plans to spend less time raising money.
“I think the fundraising season is probably a little quieter going forward. We’ve been very heavy raising money,” Romney said, before noting that Obama in 2008 became the first major party candidate in modern history to decline public matching funds, which come with limitations on how much money a candidate can raise.
“He’s doing it again this time, so to be competitive it means a lot more fundraising than I think I would like. I’d far rather be spending my time out in the key swing states campaigning, door-to-door if necessary, but in rallies and various meetings, but fundraising is a part of politics when your opponent decides not to live by the federal spending limits.”
For the Romney campaign, last week was marked by internal squabbles among top staffers were leaked to the public, the release of a secretly recorded videotape of Romney making controversial remarks about nearly half the nation’s population, and open dismay among Republicans about the campaign’s tactics. At the same time, polling has shown Obama edging ahead of him in several battleground states.
Romney, speaking to reporters aboard a flight from Los Angeles to Denver, said polls will fluctuate between now and Election Day.
“We just keep on battling forward with our message. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the day to day polls. They change a great deal,” he said. “I know in the coming six weeks they’re very unlikely to remain where they are today. I’ll either go up or I’ll go down. It’s unlikely that we’ll just stay the same.”
Romney said that his numbers have dipped in swing states because Obama’s campaign is lying about his record, on issues such as the auto bailout, abortion and taxes, and he said the debates will offer him an opportunity to set the record straight.
“He’s trying to fool people into thinking that I think things I don’t. And that ends I think during the debates,” Romney said.
Romney has been spending substantial time on debate preparation, including a session Sunday morning in Los Angeles. He repeatedly demurred when asked whether he could win next week’s first debate, or if a win was necessary.
“My job is to describe what I believe in a way that the American people will understand and make the choice that they feel is right for America. I believe what is right for America that will give people the most prosperous future and the most security that their lives will enjoy prosperity, and hope and opportunity, is a path that I think people will be attracted to and will vote for,” he said. “And I don’t expect this to be a contest of who can say the cutest phrase.”
After a minimal public campaign schedule lately, Romney is scheduled to stump more aggressively this week, with public appearances in Colorado, New York, Ohio and Virginia.