By Justin Sink - 04/16/12 10:20 PM EDT
Mitt Romney might not be measuring the drapes, but he has advice for President Obama: "start packing."
The presumptive presidential candidate issued the warning to Obama during an interview set to air Monday night on "World News."
He was asked by ABC News' Diane Sawyer if he had a message for the president.
"His policies have not helped the American people. They have not helped get jobs, they have not helped raise incomes and they’ve added trillions of dollars of debt,” Romney added.
The sentiment was echoed by Romney's wife, Ann, who has played an increasingly prominent role in the campaign in recent weeks.
"I believe it's Mitt's time. I believe the country needs the kind of leadership he's going to offer… So I think it's our turn now," Ann Romney said.
Ann Romney also sought to downplay a statement Sunday night — overheard by a reporter from NBC News — that a Democratic strategist's attack was a "birthday gift." Republicans argue that Hilary Rosen's statement that Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life" meant that Democrats did not value the effort of stay-at-home mothers, while those in the Obama campaign argued the remarks, while objectionable, were being manufactured into controversy.
“That wasn’t how I meant it,” Ann Romney told Sawyer. “It was a birthday gift to me because I love the fact that we’re talking about this.”
Ann Romney went on to argue that just because she has enjoyed financial security doesn't mean that she hasn't faced hardship.
"I will say for me financial security has not been a huge issue. But that does not mean I'm not compassionate. It does not mean that I have not had different challenges. Everyone in life has their challenges, mine have not been financial. I'm grateful for Mitt for that and grateful for the blessings that that's brought in my life," she said.
"But I've also had very serious challenges in my life. And for me you can't go through life without being scarred and we're all scarred."
Looking to further bolster his credentials with women, Romney insisted he had "no intention" of changing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. His campaign caused a minor controversy last week when they did not immediately affirm Romney's support for the law.
"I'm not going to go back and look at all the prior laws and say had I been there which ones would I have supported and signed, but I certainly support equal pay for women and have no intention of changing that law, don't think there's a reason to," Romney said.
NBC also reported that Romney told donors he would consider eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development, although the former governor backed away from that characterization during the interview with ABC News.
"I'm not proposing any eliminations at this point. But I want to streamline and combine agencies. We'll do a great deal of analysis to see which agencies could be combined," Romney said.
Romney also dismissed questions about his wealth, saying Democratic attacks about his plans to build a garage with an elevator at his California home wouldn't be successful because Americans don't judge people based on wealth.
“We don’t divide America based upon success and wealth and other dimensions of that nature. We’re one nation under God …. This is a time when people of different backgrounds and different experiences need to come together. I happen to believe that I’m by far the best qualified in this race between myself and President Obama,” Romney said.
The Republican frontrunner also dismissed the Obama campaign's call to release the past 12 years of his tax returns.
“The president is going to try and do everything possible to divert from the attention being focused upon his record as president and the failure of his economic policies. So he’s going to try to make this campaign about the fact that I’ve been successful, that I’ve made a lot of money,” he said.
The interview also touched on the now-infamous story of strapping the Romney's pet dog Seamus to the roof of their station wagon before driving to Canada. The story has become campaign fodder for Romney's opponents on both sides of the aisle, and Romney admitted in the interview Monday that he would not do it again - because of the attention the anecdote has received on the campaign trail.
"Certainly not with the attention it's received," Romney said.
Ann Romney maintained that the "dog loved it" and downplayed that the dog had experienced diarrhea during the trip.
"Once, he-- we traveled all the time and he ate the turkey on the counter. I mean, he had the runs. But he would see that crate and, you know, he would, like, go crazy because he was going with us on vacation. It was to me a kinder thing to bring him along than to leave him in the kennel for two weeks," Ann Romney said.