A story in The Boston Globe Thursday indicated there is a conflict in the record on when Romney left the venture capital company he founded, and the Obama campaign has played up the issue -- with a campaign official and a lawyer for the campaign suggesting the possibility Romney may have committed a felony by filing false reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Romney campaign has accused the Obama campaign of lying about the matter and Romney told an interview Friday Obama owes him an apology.
In an interview with WJLA-TV, Washington, the president was asked whether Romney was being dishonest with the public.
"Ultimately Mr. Romney, I think, is going to have to answer those questions," he said, "because if he aspires to being president one of the things you learn is, you are ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations, but again that's probably a question that he's going to have to answer and I think that's a legitimate part of the campaign."
Obama began a campaign swing across Virginia Friday by having lunch with three military wives in Virginia Beach.
After the stop at Rick's Cafe near the Oceana Naval Air Station, the president spoke to a crowd of about 300 people at the city's Green Run High School. His schedule also includes stops in Hampton and Roanoke.
Virginia, with 13 electoral votes, has become an important swing state. In 2008, Obama carried the state with nearly 53 percent of the vote, the first Democrat to win Virginia since President Lyndon Johnson in 1964.
In his speech at the high school, Obama reminded supporters he and his wife, Michelle, come from comparatively modest backgrounds, talking about how his grandfather went to college on the G.I. Bill and the first lady's father worked in a Chicago water filtration plant. He said he and his wife both benefited from the "American bargain" that helps those willing to work hard.
Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney and other members of his party have a different vision, Obama said.
"Their -- their economic idea, you can summarize it really easily," he said. "They basically want to give $5 trillion in new tax cuts mostly for the wealthy on top of the Bush tax cuts, even if -- even if it means gutting investments in education, even if it means gutting investments in basic research, even if it means that we're not rebuilding America's infrastructure, even if it starts cutting into benefits that we're providing to our veterans."
Speaking later in the day at Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va., the president said Republicans "believe that if we spend trillions of dollars more on tax cuts for the wealthy, if we eliminate regulations that protect consumers -- make sure insurance companies can't take advantage of you, that we eliminate regulations that protect our air and our water and make sure our children are healthy -- if we do those things, then somehow even if we have to pay for it by gutting education or maybe raising taxes on middle-class families or eliminating training programs, that somehow we're going to be better off."
"That's their theory," he said. "Now, here's the problem. They tried it. This country tried that for the decade before I took office, and it didn't work. We are still paying trillions of dollars in tax cuts for folks who didn't need them and weren't even asking for them, and it didn't lead to better jobs or better wages for the middle class."
The president warned his supporters they will see negative ads "with those voices of doom talking about how bad the economy is and how much it's Obama's fault."
"Now, that may be a plan to win an election, but it's not a plan to put people back to work," he said. "It's not a plan to reduce our deficit. It's not a plan to grow the middle class."
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