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WASHINGTON -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is calling Barack Obama "one of the most ineffective presidents" he's ever seen, and says he can beat him next year.
Romney tells NBC in an interview on the "Today" Show that while Obama wasn't responsible for the recession he inherited, "he made things worse. He's failed."
Romney also says he thinks Obama lacks "a cogent assessment" of world affairs. The Republican charges, in his words, "The Arab spring came, one of the greatest opportunities we've seen in decades, and we've been flatfooted."
Romney, who plans to formally get into the GOP race later this week, says he doesn't think his Mormon faith will be an obstacle to winning the GOP presidential nod, saying "we're not electing a pastor in chief, we're electing a commander in chief."
Romney appears to be on solid footing. Nationally, a recent Gallup poll shows 17 percent of "rank and file" Republicans prefer Romney ahead of Sarah Palin, with 15 percent. Ron Paul is third with 10 percent.
A poll from the key primary state of Michigan shows Romney leading with 32 percent and Ron Paul second with 9 percent.
The Detroit Free Press contends the Republican nomination is Romney's to lose because he's the best-known and best-funded, and because this isn't his first run for the White House.
Written by The Associated Press and Andrew Adams .