The Washington Times - July 16, 2012, 09:28AM

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday defended his campaign amidst cries from fellow Republicans that he needs to quit playing defense in his challenge to President Obama after a week in which the topic dominating the headlines was Mr. Romney’s record at Bain Capital and exactly when he left the firm.

“I think when people have accused you of a crime, you have every reason to go after them pretty hard,” he said, referring to allegations that he may have committed a felony by stating in Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure forms that he stayed on at Bain as a managing director past 1999, contrary to what he previously claimed. “What does it say about a president whose record is so poor that all he can do in his campaign is attack me?”

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Mr. Obama said in an interview that aired on CBS on Monday morning that his campaign has run positive ads, but he’s gone negative to highlight the differences in philosophy between himself and Mr. Romney, saying that “politics are about choices.”

“Wouldn’t it be interesting, Mr. President, if you spent some time looking at your record? If you spent some time looking at what you’ve done over the past 3½ years?” Mr. Romney said. “The best offense is to look at the president’s record. … A campaign that’s based on falsehood and dishonesty does not have long legs.”

When asked about the push for him to release more of his tax returns, Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, said that he’s done everything required by law, arguing that past candidates who have not released more than a couple years’ worth of their tax records, such as Sen. John McCain, have not faced similar scrutiny.
He then threw the issue back at the president once again.

“Let’s just stop for a moment — if we want to talk about transparency, the real issue is why has this president used his presidential power and executive privilege to keep the information about the ‘Fast and Furious’ program from being explained to the American people?” he said, referring to the botched gunrunning scheme to Mexico by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “This is an administration which has shown a very serious departure from the transparency which they suggested we’d have, and I think the American people should be calling for that kind of transparency.”