Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) said Wednesday evening that he expects a general-election battle to get "real ugly" between him and the president.

Romney addressed the strategy reportedly plotted by President Obama's reelection campaign to negatively cast the tentative front-runner for the GOP nomination by vowing to respond aggressively.

"I think the American people are going to look beyond the personal attacks that are coming from his campaign, and by the way, I'm expecting it's going to get real ugly," Romney said on Fox News. "My guess is, you're going to see all sorts of things, dredged up and made up and puffed up."

Romney's campaign hasn't spent much time going negative, at least against his fellow Republican presidential candidates. But behind the scenes, his campaign keeps close tabs on the other GOP competitors, and, for that matter, the president. His operation is poised to engage in the "aggressive" kind of response he said he'd deliver to the president.

"Of course you fight back," he said. "The president is going to go after every dimension of warfare he can think of, then of course you respond aggressively and dynamically and you point out not personal failings, those are not relevant right now. The American people want to know who can get this economy going again. And you fight back by pointing out the president's remarkable failures."

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