WASHINGTON: The White House Thursday said Mitt Romney's complaint that President Barack Obama was peddling "hate" showed the Republican candidate wanted to change the subject as he was losing the election debate.
Republican Romney's outburst on Tuesday sent the White House race into overdrive, reflecting fast rising bitterness between the two campaigns just 82 days before November's election.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said there was often a point in campaigns when one side would try to distract media attention from one story, by trying to spin reporters on another one.
"That is invariably because that side is losing the policy debate," said Carney, arguing that Obama, just back from a three-day bus tour of Iowa, was narrowing in on issues that matter to the economy and the American people.
Romney's campaign has often made a similar charge about Obama's operation, saying the president is attacking Romney over business record and tax returns to distract attention from high unemployment and a slow economy.
Carney suggested Romney was concerned about the president's examination of his plans for Medicare, the state funded health plan for seniors.
Romney has come under scrutiny since he selected Republican congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. Ryan has backed turning some of the popular plan into a voucher system -- which Democrats say would effectively end it.
"Once (the) ... policy debate focused on the critical issue of Medicare, there's been obviously a desire on the other side to change the subject."
Romney told CBS News on Wednesday that Obama's campaign "is all about division and attack and hatred," Romney told CBS News, a day after he told Obama to take his "hate" home to Chicago.
The former Massachusetts governor's camp is upset about an ad by a pro-Obama group featuring a steelworker whose wife died of cancer after he lost his job and health insurance at a firm taken over by Romney's Bain Capital.
Romney had left Bain before the firm was closed down.
His campaign also was outraged when Vice President Joe Biden told a crowd in the former slave-owning state of Virginia that Romney would put them "back in chains" with his plans to deregulate the banking industry.