Irwin, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Surrogates for Mitt Romney harshly condemned President Barack Obama’s leadership and character on a sharply negative conference call Tuesday, with national campaign co-chair John Sununu saying he wished “this president would learn how to be an American.”
The call, which came as the Republican presidential candidate continued to battle attacks from Democrats over Romney’s business career and tax returns, also featured heated comments from a group of small business owners, one of whom likened Obama’s economic policies to “socialism.”
John Sununu joins Wolf Blitzer Tuesday on “The Situation Room” at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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Sununu, a former governor of New Hampshire who is known for being a reliable and colorful attack dog, criticized Obama for his so-called “cheek by jowl” relationship with donors. Continuing a line of attack pursued by Romney Monday, Sununu accused Obama of steering government loans to political friends.
Sununu revived an attack from the 2008 campaign over Obama’s relationship with convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko, and tied the president to the notorious sphere of Chicago politics.
“He comes out of that that murky world in Chicago where politician and felon has become synonymous,” he said. “It is an area where Tony Rezko is a convicted felon and is in prison, and just happened to be a guy that did a smarmy real estate deal with the president, where Rezko pays top dollar and the president pays a discount and the deal is able to be done.”
Sununu also charged the president “has absolutely no idea how the American economy functions.”
“The men and women all over America who have worked hard to build their businesses from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world,” Sununu said. “It is the American way, and I wish this president would wish how to learn how to be an American.”
Asked by a reporter to clarify his comment, Sununu said he had meant to criticize Obama’s understand of the American way of doing business.
“The president has to learn the American formula for creating business,” he said.
Responding to Sununu’s comments, Obama’s campaign declared Team Romney had “officially gone off the deep end.”
“The question is what else they’ll pull to avoid answering serious questions about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital and investments in foreign tax havens and offshore accounts,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith wrote in a statement. “This meltdown and over-the-top rhetoric won’t make things better – it only calls attention to how desperate they are to change the conversation.”
- Romney surrogate: Obama should ‘learn how to be an American’ (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Sununu says he wishes Obama would learn how to be an American! (riehlworldview.com)
- Romney surrogate: Obama should ‘learn how to be an American’ (thehill.com)
- Romney Surrogate To Megyn Kelly: Obama Guilty Of ‘Wallowing With Felons’ In Chicago Politics (mediaite.com)
- Top Romney Surrogate Sununu Calls Obama Un-American, Twitter Erupts (distriction.com)
- Sununu on Obama’s American-ness (politico.com)
- Top Romney Backer John Sununu Just Went On A Huge Rant: Here Are The Best Quotes (businessinsider.com)
- Sununu Classic (thepage.time.com)
- Romneyland now has surrogates doing surrogate damage control (dailykos.com)
- Sununu to Obama: Learn to be American (content.usatoday.com)