President Barack Obama maintains that the “fundamentals” of the presidential contest are unchanged following a weak debate performance in Denver that gave a polling boost to Republican rival Mitt Romney.
“Governor Romney had a good night. I had a bad night. It’s not the first time I’ve had a bad night,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer airing this evening on “World News Tonight” — his first televised interview since the debate one week ago.
Asked if it’s possible his performance hands the election to Romney, Obama said: “No.”
“You know, one thing, you know maybe this is because I played alotta sports when I was a kid, and still do,” Obama said. “If you have a bad game, you just move on. You look forward to the next one. And it makes you that much more determined. The difference between this and sports is that the stakes are are so high.”
Gallup’s daily tracking surveys today suggest that the post-debate boost Romney got in his face-off with Obama on Oct. 3 has slowed. A survey of likely voters over the past seven days found the two tied, 48-48 percent, among likely voters.
“What’s important is the fundamentals of what this race is about haven’t changed,” the president tells Sawyer. “You know, Governor Romney went to a lot of trouble to try to hide what his positions are.”
Obama singled out abortion as one of the issues on which Romney has tried to “cloud” his position. In an interview with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register in Iowa this week, Romney said his agenda includes no new legislation on abortion. He has spoken in the past of a desire to see Roe vs. Wade repealed and to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, a pledge he repeated today in Ohio.
“This is another example of Governor Romney hiding positions he’s been campaigning on for a year and a half,” Obama said. “I think Governor Romney has made very clear that if a bill comes to his desk that overturns Roe vs. Wade he will be fully supportive of that. And he’s said, `I will appoint justices that will overturn Roe vs. Wade.’ And now four weeks before an election, he is trying to cloud the question.”
“Is it a lie?” Sawyer asked.
“No,” Obama said. “I actually think… when it comes to women’s rights to control their own health care decisions, you know, what he has been saying is exactly what he believes. (Romney) thinks that it is appropriate for politicians to inject themselves in those decisions.”