Romney: 'Proof is that I was right' on healthcare reform

“One of the things that you learn as president is that what you say matters and your principles matter," Obama told a local Cincinnati NBC affiliate, according to excerpts provided by his campaign. "And sometimes, you've got to fight for things that you believe in and you can't just switch on a dime.”

He also criticized Romney for saying the mandate was a tax after one of Romney's senior campaign advisers said it was a penalty.

“And the fact that a whole bunch of Republicans in Washington suddenly said this is a tax — for six years he said it wasn't, and now he has suddenly reversed himself," Obama noted. "So the question becomes, are you doing that because of politics? Are you abandoning a principle that you fought for, for six years, simply because you're getting pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh or some critics in Washington?"

Romney shot back at the president when asked about bowing to political pressures at a press conference later that day, saying the president is more focused on a "liberal agenda" of healthcare reform than the nation's failing economy.

"ObamaCare is costing jobs in America," he continued. "When three-quarters of small businesses say they are less likely to hire people because of ObamaCare, you know the president has put his liberal agenda, ObamaCare, ahead of the interest of creating jobs.

"And for me, Job One for the president has to be creating good jobs for middle-income Americans, and that's what I'm going to do."