Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod says that the president won't consider raising questions about Mitt Romney's Mormonism.
But Axelrod questioned the sincereity of Romney's repudiation last week of a proposal considered by a conservative super PAC to remind voters of President Obama's controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
"We've said that's not fair game," Axelrod said in an interview on CNN's State of the Union. "And we wish that Gov. Romney would stand up as strongly and as resolutely consistently to refute these kinds of things on his side. Instead he's amplified them in the past. And he's put logs on that fire. And that's not leadership."
Romney dismissed a plan -- backed by billionaire Joe Ricketts -- that called for running commercials linking Obama to incendiary comments by Wright, whose race-related sermons made him a controversial figure in the 2008 campaign.
But Axelrod said Sunday that Romney repudiated the proposed Wright attack "tepidly" and "reluctantly." He also noted that in February Romney had said in an interview on Sean Hannity's radio show that Obama wanted to make America "a less Christian nation."
Asked about the statement last week, Romney said he wasn't familiar with what he had said, "but I stand by what I said, whatever it was."
"You know the problem is you have to be consistent in your position," Axelrod said. "And you have to be genuine and firm … you can't be grudging in your position or you send the wrong signals."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus replied in a separate CNN interview that it's Obama who wants to keep the Wright story alive.
"He wants this story to play out in the media because for every day that David Axelrod and this president don't have to talk about their broken promises when it comes to jobs, the debt and the deficit, and the more time they can spend about talking about hypotheticals ... is a day they want to win on," Priebus said.