The Ticket

Obama team targets Romney but stops short of labeling him the GOP ‘frontrunner’

Holly Bailey
The Ticket

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Axelrod (Brian Kersey/AP)

President Obama's top political adviser insists he doesn't consider Mitt Romney to be the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.

But that didn't stop the Obama campaign from scheduling a conference call to trash what they described as Romney's flip-flops on the economy and other issues.

In a 25-minute call with reporters, Obama strategist David Axelrod lambasted Romney's comments at Tuesday night's debate, during which the former Massachusetts governor suggested he prefers "permanent changes to the tax code" to a temporary rollback of payroll taxes.

Axelrod accused Romney of flip-flopping on the issue and said it adds to a long history in which the ex-governor has switched positions on key issues.

But asked if the call suggests the Obama campaign believes Romney will be the ultimate nominee, Axelrod tried to play down their singular focus on Romney, insisting he's not "willing to designate him as the nominee."

"We're having this call because Gov. Romney has been so brazen, frankly, in his switches of position," Axelrod insisted, adding that it could be a weakness in his GOP primary bid. "If you are willing to change positions on fundamental issues of principal, how can we know what you would do as president?"

He insisted Romney, whom he described as a former "pro-choice moderate who supported civil unions," has is now "hard after that tea party vote and has thrown all of his positions over."

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