Mitt Romney and the White House traded jabs Thursday over President Obama’s comments that he “wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth” — which Mr. Romney and others took as a swipe at the likely Republican presidential nominee.
Mr. Romney, who’s wealth is estimated to be in the $250-million-and-above range, criticized the president for “attacking people” instead of the nation’s problems, and said he’s not going to try to play down or apologize for his wealthy background.
“I’m not going to apologize for my dad and his success in his life,” Mr. Romney said Thursday on “Fox & Friends.”
“He was born poor and he worked his way to become very successful despite the fact that he didn’t have a college degree, and one of the things he wanted to do was provide for me and for my brothers and sisters,” the former Massachusetts governor said.
The president has been using the line about the silver spoon for months in both official speeches and the campaign trail, and White House spokesman Jay Carney said he used the phrase during his 2008 campaign for president as well.
“Those of you who have covered President Obama know he has used that reference many times — anybody who thinks it’s a reference to them might be a little oversensitive,” Mr. Carney told reporters Thursday afternoon. “Because he said it three years ago, would it have been a reference to him?”
Mr. Romney was reacting to media reports on comments Mr. Obama made in a speech at Ohio’s Lorain County Community College Wednesday.
“Somebody gave me an education. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn’t. But somebody gave us a chance,” Mr. Obama said. “Right now we have two competing visions of our future, and the choice could not be clearer. Should we settle for an economy where a few people do really well and then a growing number are struggling to get by?”
Mr. Carney also poked fun at reports of Republicans making hay over the discovery that Mr. Obama admitted in his autobiography to eating dog meat as a child in Indonesia.
“I think we’re talking about a reference in his book to when he was 6 or 7 years old,” he told reporters. “Making a big deal of that seems to be someone trying to get out of the doghouse.”
Republicans have pounced on the dog-meat admission to counter criticism that the Romneys once put their dog Seamus in a kennel on top of their car during a road trip between Boston and Canada.
During an interview with a radio station in Ohio Wednesday, Mr. Romney said the campaign is ultimately going to come down to “jobs not dogs.”