Nightly News | February 02, 2012
>>> while mitt romney gained an ally today, he became more of a target. our chief political correspondent chuck todd with more this evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. for months team obama had been quietly preparing for a run against mitt romney . this week the president took it to another level, publically engaging his presumptive challenger, but doing so by not mentioning his name. president obama continues to claim he's not yet fully in campaign mode, but this week he jabbed repeatedly and methodically at republican front -runner mitt romney without ever mentioning his name. this morning at the nonpartisan and usually nonpolitical national prayer breakfast , it appeared the president was stoebing the firestorm ignited yesterday by inartful comments from romney .
>> i'm not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there.
>> requiring much from those who have been given so much, living by the principle that we are our brother's keeper, caring for the poor and those in need.
>> reporter: two days ago during an unannounced stop at the washington auto show , the president rebutted romney 's 2008 "new york times" op-ed titled, "let detroit go bankrupt," which romney argued against a government rescue.
>> there are some folks willing to let this industry die because of some folks coming together, we are now back in a place where we can compete with any car company in the world.
>> reporter: then yesterday, the president again turned romney 's words against him, this time from an october interview on housing foreclosure.
>> don't try to stop the foreclosure process. let it run its course and hit the bottom.
>> it is wrong for anybody to suggest that the only option for struggling, responsible homeowners, is to sit and wait for the housing market to hit bottom.
>> reporter: in all three instances, that was the president in a presidential event not a campaign event. the white house vehemently pushes back on today's national prayer breakfast comments but don't dispute the veiled swipes at both the auto show and yesterday.
>> chuck todd at the white