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Mitt Romney is standing by his claim last night that President Obama is running a campaign of "hate" and is denying that his harsh criticism is in any way unhinged.

Appearing earlier today on CBS's morning show, Romney told anchors Gayle King and Anthony Mason that he believes "the president's campaign is all about division and attack and hatred" and is designed to "bring about enmity and anger." Romney said the president sought to divide Americans based on "income, age, and ethnicity."

Romney also rejected the Obama campaign's characterization of his remarks as having been "unhinged." The remarks "were very measured," Romney said. "I can be much more dramatic." Romney said it was the president who was unhinged.

Romney said his criticism was prompted by remarks yesterday by Vice President Biden. Biden said Republicans wanted to unchain Wall Street, which he said would put the middle-class back in chains. Romney said the metaphor of "chains" offended him, but declined to say whether he was offended by Paul Ryan's proposal to "unshackle" Wall Street from Dodd-Frank. "Look, no one is talking about deregulating Wall Street," Romney said. That, of course, is untrue: Romney pledges to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill on his own campaign website.

Here's a sampling of some of Romney's comments from the interview.

  • On whether he wrote the harshest passage of his speech himself: "Well, of course. The words that I use in speeches are words that I craft, or put in there, or agree with."
  • On the Obama campaign: "The president's campaign is all about division and attack and hatred."
  • On whether his remarks seemed unhinged: "They were very measured. I can be much more dramatic, I think. I think unhinged would have to characterize what we've seen from the president's campaign."
  • On what he means by the president's campaign being about hatred: "Well, I think if you look at the ads that have been described, and the divisiveness based upon income, age, ethnicity, and so forth, it's designed to bring a sense of enmity and jealousy and anger."
  • On his view of the president: "The president seems to be running just to hang on to power. I think he'll do anything in his power to try and get reelected."
  • On personal attacks against him: "I think these personal attacks are demeaning to the office of the White House."
  • On Biden's Virginia remarks about Republicans putting Americans back in chains to Wall Street: "And the comments yesterday by the vice president I think just diminish the White House that much more."
  • On what Biden's remarks meant to him: "Well, of course, we have to have regulation on Wall Street and every street, so it's factually inaccurate to begin with. And secondly, I'd say, I think the comments of this nature sink the White House just a little lower. The American people expect something better from the president than these kinds of divisive comments."
  • On whether Republicans, including Paul Ryan, have used the unshackling/unchaining metaphor: "You know, I can't speak for anybody else, but I can say the comments of the vice president, as I heard them, I thought were one more example of a divisive effort to keep from talking about the real issues. Look, no one is talking about deregulating Wall Street."
  • On what has really got him mad: "The president's campaign has put out a campaign that's talking about me and attacking me. I think it's just demeaning to the nature of the process, particularly when we face the kinds of challenges we face."
  • On what specifically troubled him about Biden's comment: "You know, I think I've expressed myself well enough. I think the American people had the same reaction, which is they listened to the vice president, and they found again an unfounded charge, and a metaphor which is not uplifting, not uniting, but one which is once again a divisive attack."

Gayle King and Anthony Mason, who conducted the interview, deserve tons of credit for forcing Romney to actually answer the questions. It's not their fault that his answers were so absurd.

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