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Romney rejects using the Rev. Jeremiah Wright against Obama

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Romney (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Mitt Romney says he rejects efforts to use President Barack Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in ads attacking the president, insisting the campaign should remain focused on the economy.

"I repudiate the effort by that PAC to promote an ad strategy of the nature they've described," Romney said in an interview with Townhall.com. "I would like to see this campaign focus on the economy, on getting people back to work, on seeing rising incomes and growing prosperity—particularly for those in the middle class of America."

Romney's comments came after Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, accused him of acting "tepidly" in his response to a New York Times report that former advisers to John McCain's 2008 campaign had revived ads linking Obama to Wright's controversial views and statements.

But Romney tried to turn the tables on the Obama campaign, accusing them of  "so far" running a "campaign of character assassination"—adding, "I hope that isn't the course of the campaign."

"In regards to that PAC, I repudiate what they're thinking about," Romney continued. "It's interesting that we're talking about some Republican PAC that wants to go after the president [on Wright]; I hope people also are looking at what (Obama is) doing, and saying 'Why is he running an attack campaign? Why isn't he talking about his record?'"

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