From last night’s ABC World News (9/18/12):
DIANE SAWYER: But we do remember four years ago the president, then candidate, was at a fundraiser, it was during the primary, but he too was caught on tape.
JAKE TAPPER: That’s right, he was talking about the difficulty of reaching small-town Pennsylvanians and how, because of tough economic circumstances, they get bitter, they cling to religion and guns and xenophobia. But here is the key difference between what then-Senator Obama said four years and this Mitt Romney tape. What Obama said then, that was seven months before the election. He had time to change people’s views. This is seven weeks, and Mitt Romney does not have time to squander, Diane.
Actually, that’s not the key difference between Romney and Obama’s comments; Obama, after all, was in the midst of a hard-fought primary campaign, and arguably had less “time to squander” than Romney.
One might see a more plausible distinction in the lessons the two candidates took from their analysis of people who weren’t inclined to vote for them:
OBAMA: Our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s no evidence of that in their daily lives.
ROMNEY: My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.