Romney on Obama's Strategy: ‘What the American Public Doesn’t Know, Won’t Hurt Him’

By Elizabeth Harrington | April 4, 2012 | 5:48 PM EDT

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reacts to a question while speaking at the Newspapers Association of America/ American Society of News Editors luncheon gathering in Washington, Wednesday, April 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

( - Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney said President Barack Obama’s reelection strategy is along the lines of  “what the American public doesn’t know, won’t hurt him,” adding that the president is concealing his plans for his second term from the electorate.

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, made his remarks on Wednesday as the keynote speaker at the annual luncheon of the Newspaper Association of America and the American Society of News Editors in Washington, D.C.

“He doesn’t want to share his real plans before the election, either with the public or with the press,” said Romney of Obama, referencing the open mic remarks to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Mar. 26.  “By ‘flexibility’ he means that what the American public doesn’t know, won’t hurt him.  His intent is on hiding.  You and I are going to have to do the seeking.”

In speaking with Medvedev, apparently not aware that the microphone was on, Obama said that, “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [Vladimir Putin] to give me space. … This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Romney’s remarks were made at the same conference where President Barack Obama, on Tuesday, had derided him by name for his support of the Republican House budget. Obama had called it a “Trojan horse,” “radical,” and “thinly veiled social Darwinism.”

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Romney further told the room full of journalists, “Now given the number and the scale of our nations challenges, this November’s election will have particular consequence.  It will be a defining event. President Obama and I have very different visions for America -- both of what it means to be an American today and what it will mean in the future.  The voters will expect each of us to put our respective views on the table.”

President Barack Obama speaks at The Associated Press luncheon during the ASNE Convention, Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“We’ll each make our case buttressed by our life experience,” said Romney.  “The voters will hear the debates, they will be buffeted by advertising, and they will be informed by your [news] coverage.  And hopefully after all of that they’ll have an accurate understanding of the different directions we would take and the different choices we would make.  Of course, for that to happen the candidates have to be candid about their views and their plans.”

Romney then said that Obama’s remarks to Medvedev were “deeply troubling” and raise “all sorts of questions.”

“That incident calls his candor into serious question,” he said.

“What exactly does President Obama intend to do differently once he’s no longer accountable to the voters?” Romney said.  “Why does ‘flexibility’ with foreign leaders require less accountability to the American people?  And on what other issues will he state his true position only after the election is over?”

“But instead of answering those vital questions, the president came here yesterday and railed against arguments no one is making and criticized policies no one is proposing,” said Romney.  “It’s one of his favorite strategies: setting up straw men to distract us from his record.  And while I understand the president doesn’t want to run on his record, he can’t run from his record either.”

Romney won the Republican primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland, and the District of Columbia on Tuesday and currently leads in the delegate count against his main GOP rival, Sen. Rick Santorum.