Romney in 2007:  Protect executive privilege
June 26th, 2012
03:43 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney in 2007: Protect executive privilege

Washington (CNN) – In 2007, when President George W. Bush invoked executive privilege in barring White House aides from testifying before Congress, he had an ally in Mitt Romney.

At the time, Mr. Bush had asserted executive privilege to block former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and other top officials from cooperating with Senate Democrats who were investigating the controversial firings of federal prosecutors.

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Several top Democrats had gone so far as to threaten to jail former White House adviser Karl Rove to compel his testimony in the matter.

During a March 2007 interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, Romney defended Bush's use of executive privilege.

"Do you approve of President Bush's declaration that he will simply refuse these subpoenas that have been sent to Ms. Miers and Karl Rove," Hewitt asked.

"Yeah, he's got a responsibility to protect executive privilege. That's just part of preserving the powers of the presidency," Romney responded in the interview. "He should do what he thinks is the right thing with regards to members of his team but preserve executive privilege."

Republicans accused the President of hypocrisy for invoking executive privilege in the "Fast and Furious" case, pointing to comments candidate Obama made to CNN in 2007.

"There's been a tendency, on the part of this administration, to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taking place," then Senator Obama told CNN's Larry King.

The House may vote as early as Thursday to cite Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress in the "Fast and Furious" investigation.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    "There's been a tendency, on the part of this administration, to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taking place," then Senator Obama told CNN's Larry King.
    _____

    Shocker that Mitt is on both sides of this issue (like all issues). Hasn't Obama used the Executive priviledge less than his predecessors anyway? Tendency to hide behind it? Unreal...

    June 26, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Bush used it for people and communications with IN THE WHITEHOUSE. Obama is claiming this extends it Eric Holder and the Dept. of Justice. Totally bogus and no where near the same thing as Bush's use. It's pretty clear Obama and Holder are neck deep in a coverup of their incompetence. Incompetence that has cost the lives of US Border Patrol agents and hundreds of Mexicans.

    June 26, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. rs

    Given Republicans can't even get straight what bothers them about 'Fast & Furious' the attorney General or Executive Priviledge, perhaps they would be better served by just shutting up. Mr. Issa is all over the map and has yet come up with anything coherent (really, its about gun control?); Mr. Romney is being forced into yet another flip flop (note to media, we clearly need a more powerful term for Mr. Romney's constant contradictions); finally, this will all end badly for the GOP when once again, we see Mr. Obama is simply cleaning up yeat another G W Bush disaster- remember- 'gun walking' came out of the Bush Attoney General's office circa 2006.

    June 26, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Oops. Better lubricate that weathervane again, Mitt. Can't wait to hear the tortured explanation on this one.

    June 26, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Ramesh Shrestha

    Do not hide anything from the American people. They have the right to know what their government is doing.

    June 26, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. MDNA = MaDge Not Applicable!

    Remember, mittens "what is good for the goose..."

    June 26, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. Mr 1% the "VULTURE CAPITALIST BUSINESSMAN" will outsource all the poor, disabled, unemployed and elderly, to China and sell America to the highest bidder!

    "He should do what he thinks is the right thing with regards to members of his team but preserve executive privilege."

    As with most GOP cons and tea baggers, it is fine to "preserve executive privilege" when the HE has a last name of Bush and very wrong to "preserve executive privilege" when HE has a last name of Obama.

    June 26, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Did you catch Issa this past Sunday on the talk shows? He was asked if he had any evidence to suggest or indicate that there is a cover up or that some other crime has been committed. His answer was an immediate, "No." But he followed that up with "But, we just don't know enough...."

    This is no longer about gun sales, and an agent being killed. BTW, it has never been proven which gun fired the fatal shot, or when the two guns in question were sold and left the US. This is now a witch hunt. The administration is faced with the impossible task of proving a negative.

    June 26, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Dave

    So, it is ok for Obama to criticize it and then use it, right?

    June 26, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    The Real Tom Paine
    Oops. Better lubricate that weathervane again, Mitt. Can't wait to hear the tortured explanation on this one.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    Read the article again. It's Obama flipping on Executive priviledge this time. Listen to him before 2008:
    "There's been a tendency, on the part of this administration, to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taking place," then Senator Obama told CNN's Larry King.

    June 26, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    WHY would ANYBODY in the US government authorize the sale of THOUSANDS of assault weapons to KNOWN Mexican drug cartels across the border, without the knowledge and approval of Mexico, and without tracking them???

    WHO DID THIS???? WHY???

    Almost TWO YEARS later and the American people still do not know and now Obama and Holder are stonewalling and covering up what happened. It is painfully clear our government was involved in CRIMINAL ACTIVITY and it is now involved in a COVERUP.

    June 26, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. ghostriter

    Even still, republicans will find a way to excuse Bush (and Romney).

    It would be real nice if republicans would just admit that they are not the high and mighty defenders of justice, but career politicians just like everyone else. Maybe the losers that support them will at least see that they have an agenda that may not include them.

    June 26, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. once upon a horse

    of course the GOP mantra is "that was then, this is NOW" so if Obama does it of course it's wrong. But the same right wingers had little to no problem when Bush used it to to keep his buddy Rove off the stand and perhaps even out of prison. Besides even Issa himself is on the record saying they have NO proof the White House nor the president is covering anything up. So if that's the case then this is a witch hunt going in front of a kangaroo court being paid for by the tax payers.

    June 26, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Patriot Awesome

    Mitt flip flops more than a fish out of water.

    June 26, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Larry L

    The only thing Romney seems solid on is his support for the Paul Ryan budget – where they trash Medicare and Social Security.

    June 26, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    :"Bush used it for people and communications with IN THE WHITEHOUSE. Obama is claiming this extends it Eric Holder and the Dept. of Justice. Totally bogus and no where near the same thing as Bush's use. It's pretty clear Obama and Holder are neck deep in a coverup of their incompetence. Incompetence that has cost the lives of US Border Patrol agents and hundreds of Mexicans."

    You sure show a fascinating lack of comprehension of the issue. Good job with the smokescreen of broken analysis that masquerades as "common sense" though. Kudos.

    June 26, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Sandy

    BWAAAAA! Romney is busted for his blatant HYPOCRISY!

    June 26, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. cali girl

    what's new?

    June 26, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  19. Silence DoGood

    Obama in 2008 – all about transparency.
    Now – not so much.
    Flipper in Chief

    June 26, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So Willard was for it until he was against it. And if the majority of the people who vote in November lose all common sense, he will be for it again.

    June 26, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Larry L

    @Obama 2012 – BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Bush used it for people and communications with IN THE WHITEHOUSE.
    ----------------------------------------------
    As usual... you're incorrect.

    President George W. Bush asserted executive privilege to deny disclosure of sought details regarding former Attorney General Janet Reno, the scandal involving Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) misuse of organized-crime informants James J. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi in Boston, and Justice Department deliberations about President Bill Clinton's fundraising tactics, in December 2001. Bush invoked executive privilege refusing to disclose the details of Vice President Dick Cheney's meetings with energy executives i.e. the 61 phone conversations with Ken Lay BEFORE Enron went TU.

    June 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Bing

    Firing a bunch of stinking lawyers vs the dealth of our border patrol agents. I fail to see the connection. First of all it is/was the priviledge of the President to fire those lawyers. Liberals just don't want any investigation on what led to the death of our agent. Obama's hypocrisy is astounding and shameful.

    June 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    ""There's been a tendency, on the part of this administration, to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taking place," then Senator Obama told CNN's Larry King."

    Pretty clear he's commenting on the over-use and abuse of the privilege, not the assertion of it when it applies. He's asserted it very little in comparison. There's no hypocrisy there unless you'd simply like to engage in superficial clown analysis.

    June 26, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. rob

    Romney was not quoted in this piece about President Obama's use of EP, has he made any statements about it? CNN says "Republicans accused the President of hypocrisy" which is a perfectly legitimate charge given Obama's statements in the past . This is full fledged protection mode for the media. The President waited untill the last moment to evoke this to save Holders rear end and possibly his and his administrations as well.

    Holder and the Justice Dept LIED TO CONGRESS and are obviously hiding information that would be very damaging to them and the administration. Holder is finished, he has no credability. The longer he is there the worse it looks for Obama.

    June 26, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    Obama and Holder LIED. US Border patrol and hundreds of Mexicans DIED. Obama is now neck deep in concealing criminal activity, who authorized it and who knew about it.

    June 26, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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