Surrogates for Mitt Romney harshly condemned President Barack Obama's leadership and character on a sharply negative conference call Tuesday, with national campaign co-chair John Sununu saying he wished "this president would learn how to be an American."
The call, which came as the Republican presidential candidate continued to battle attacks from Democrats over Romney's business career and tax returns, also featured heated comments from a group of small business owners.
Sununu, a former governor of New Hampshire who is known for being a reliable and colorful attack dog, criticized Obama for his so-called "cheek by jowl" relationship with donors. Continuing a line of attack pursued by Romney Monday, Sununu accused Obama of steering government loans to political friends.
Sununu revived an attack from the 2008 campaign over Obama's relationship with convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko, and tied the president to the notorious sphere of Chicago politics.
"He comes out of that that murky world in Chicago where politician and felon has become synonymous," he said. "It is an area where Tony Rezko is a convicted felon and is in prison, and just happened to be a guy that did a smarmy real estate deal with the president, where Rezko pays top dollar and the president pays a discount and the deal is able to be done."
Sununu also charged the president "has absolutely no idea how the American economy functions."
"The men and women all over America who have worked hard to build their businesses from the ground up is how our economy became the envy of the world," Sununu said. "It is the American way, and I wish this president would wish how to learn how to be an American."
Asked by a reporter to clarify his comment, Sununu said he had meant to criticize Obama's understand of the American way of doing business.
"The president has to learn the American formula for creating business," he said.
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