WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday defended the tone of his campaign in this summer's combative ad fight with Republican challenger Mitt Romney, contending he is pointing out real differences while Romney is making a welfare-work claim that is "patently false."
Obama, in a brief news conference called on short notice, also denounced the weekend comments by a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri and used them to draw clear distinctions between his views on abortion and those of Republicans. The comments by candidate Todd Akin gave Obama an opportunity to weigh in on a social issue that has been largely absent from the presidential campaign and to make a direct appeal to female voters.
In his visit to the White House briefing room, Obama at least partly upstaged a joint campaign appearance by Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, in New Hampshire, their first together after they spent the past week campaigning separately.
Romney accused Obama of distorting the GOP ticket's tax policies, continuing the presidential campaign's sharply personal tone.
"It seems that the first victim of an Obama campaign is the truth," Romney told about 3,000 people at an outdoor rally in Manchester, N.H.
Asked by a woman about Obama campaign "lies" that claim the GOP ticket would raise taxes, Romney said, "All we've heard so far is one attack after another." He said perhaps only one of the Democrats' many TV ads is "honest."
Obama, at the White House, said that while he has pointed out "sharp differences" with Romney on issues, nothing in his campaign ads about the GOP candidate has been "out of bounds."
He said his speeches have focused on substantive issues such as taxes and spending as have his ads. By contrast, he said Romney has aired "patently false" claims that the president is "gutting" welfare's work requirement.
Obama also defended ads criticizing Romney's refusal to release more than two years' worth of tax returns. He said those seeking the White House must know their life is an "open book." And he added that pressing Romney on such a subject is "pretty standard stuff" and not "overly personal"
He did distance himself from an ad by a pro-Obama super PAC that seemed to cast blame on Romney for the death of the wife of a steelworker whose company had been taken over by a group of partners that included Bain Capital, the private equity firm that Romney cofounded.
"I don't think that Governor Romney is somehow responsible for the death of the woman that was portrayed in that ad," Obama said. But he added that he neither produced nor approved the ad and said that it had had only a brief airing on television.
On campaign 2012's newest controversy, Obama declared that comments by Missouri Rep. Akin on rape were "offensive." And he attempted to broaden the issue by criticizing efforts by congressional Republicans to limit abortions to cases of "forcible rape."
"Rape is rape," the president said.
Akin said in an interview that aired Sunday that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in "a legitimate rape" and that conception is rare in such cases. He later said he misspoke.
Romney and several other Republicans denounced his comments, too, and at least two other states' Republican Senate candidates have called on Akin to drop out of the race. He apologized anew on Monday but said he would stay in the race.
Polls and the campaigns say women make up more than half of the remaining undecided votes in this year's campaigning.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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