According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, President Barack Obama wasn't referring to Mitt Romney when he said at a campaign-style event Wednesday: "I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth."
"Those of you who have covered President Obama know that he has used that phrase to describe his background many times in the past," Carney told reporters. "And I suppose anybody who thinks it was a reference to them might be a little oversensitive -- unless they think that when President Obama said it three years ago it was in reference to them."
Obama made the comment Wednesday in a speech focused on contrasting his economic policies to proposals from his Republican critics, implicitly including Romney, in the critical electoral battleground of Ohio.
The former Massachusetts governor hit back at the president on "Fox and Friends" Thursday, saying Obama preferred "attacking people" to "attacking problems.""I'm certainly not going to apologize for my dad and his success in life," Romney told Fox News. "He was born poor. 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 brother and sisters."
A search of the White House web site turned up at least 100 occasions in which Obama used the phrase, or elements of it, including a March 17, 2009 speech on the budget. But the president and his campaign aides have repeatedly sought to make Romney's personal wealth an issue in the campaign, and his comments Thursday fit neatly into that broader strategy.
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