- The Washington Times - Monday, February 27, 2012

Mitt Romney said Monday the negative, combative tone of the 2012 Republican presidential campaign is a reflection of how concerned most voters are about the country’s direction under President Obama.

“The American people are anxious to see change, particularly those on my side of the aisle who recognize how badly this president has failed. The question I get asked most often is, ‘Why won’t you take off the gloves against President Obama?’” the former Massachusetts governor said in an interview with The Washington Times-affiliated America’s Morning News radio program.

“I know that we all want things to be positive, but this president brings forth a great deal of energy by people who are very, very concerned, who recognize that he’s taking us in a wrong direction, that America is on a decline.

“They want to see somebody who can battle hard and get back the White House,” he told hosts John McCaslin and Dana Mills.

Mr. Romney, who is running neck-and-neck with rival Rick Santorum in the latest polls in Michigan and Arizona one day before the Republican presidential primaries in both states, said President Obama is “a nice guy, but he just has no clue what it takes to get the economy going.”

He also took a jab at Mr. Santorum, repeating a line of attack the Romney campaign has been using since last week’s debate, when the former Pennsylvania senator said he occasionally “took one for the team,” during his congressional career by putting party loyalty above his own principles.

“I think the American people are tired of politicians who take one for the team,” Mr. Romney said. “They want someone who can lead this country that recognizes the team is the American people.”

• David Eldridge can be reached at deldridge@washingtontimes.com.

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