Mud flies: Romney and Obama teams fight over Bain charges
July 12th, 2012
04:40 PM ET
2 years ago

Mud flies: Romney and Obama teams fight over Bain charges

(CNN) – Following fierce accusations from top Obama aides over Romney's tenure as head of Bain Capital, the Romney campaign fired back Thursday claiming the Obama team was being "reckless."

In a call with reporters, Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager to the President, cited a Boston Globe report that Mitt Romney was in control of the private equity company he helped found three years beyond 1999 – the year the Republican candidate says he left the company to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. She said he could face criminal consequences for misrepresenting his time at the company.

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"Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments," said Cutter. "If that's the case, if he was lying to the American people, then that's a real character and trust issue that the American people need to take very seriously."

The Romney campaign was quick to respond to the highly-partisan criticism, issuing the following statement:

"President Obama's campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign. President Obama ought to apologize for the out-of-control behavior of his staff, which demeans the office he holds. Campaigns are supposed to be hard fought, but statements like those made by Stephanie Cutter belittle the process and the candidate on whose behalf she works," said Matt Rhoades, Romney for President Campaign Manager.

According to the Boston Globe report Romney "said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm's 'sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.'"

The implication being that Romney would have been involved in Bain investment decisions that cut jobs during those years. This would be contrary to claims by Romney that he no longer was in control of the firm.

Romney's campaign was firm in pushing back on the report Thursday saying the SEC filings are "complicated" and "do not square with common sense in this case." The independent FactCheck.org also put out a statement standing by their assessment that Romney had in fact left operational control of Bain when he said he had.

On the call, Cutter also resurrected the issue of the release of Romney's tax returns, noting the precedent set by Romney's father, George Romney, who ran for president in 1968 and voluntarily releasing 12 years of tax returns.

Former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri defended the former Massachusetts governor in another call to reporters Thursday. He said the Obama campaign and the White House are posing the issue of Romney's tax releases as a distraction to call the American people's attention away from other failures of this administration.

"This attempt in the White House to shift away from the real issues in the campaigning is getting to the point of being desperate," said Talent. "Going around these 'release his 2010 tax returns, his estimate for 2011,' he will release the rest of it when it's available and he's going to continue talking about the issues that matter to the American people."

Thus far, Romney has released his tax returns from 2010 and promises to release more taxes from 2011 once prepared.


Filed under: Bain Capital • Mitt Romney • Stephanie Cutter
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. 333maxwell

    For years the Governor and his minions have been around relentlessly saying the nastiest most vicious lies about this President.. all the sudden they feign petulance..

    You know kids.. politics is a tough gig.. you folks working the whole darn Romney camp are more and more looking like you were never ready for prime time.

    July 12, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. rs

    "Reckless". Ha! Quite a charge from the party of "Birthers" and the TEA Party racists.

    July 12, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. MDNA = MaDge Not Applicable!

    "President Obama's campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign. President Obama ought to apologize for the out-of-control behavior of his staff, which demeans the office he holds. Campaigns are supposed to be hard fought, but statements like those made by Stephanie Cutter belittle the process and the candidate on whose behalf she works,"

    Sorry, Team Robme, that is not an answer, that is a dodge.

    CNN has reported they verified there was a doc at the SEC signed in 2001 stating that Mittens was 100% owner of Bain Capital.

    So, now both CNN and Globe are reporting this doc exists and your man is saying he was not in charge there is nothing wrong with his current declarations, but there is that pesky little FACT that he then committed a felony when he filed the now "refudiated" SEC report in 2001.

    So, take your pick, current liar to the American people or former felon?

    July 12, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  4. MaryM

    CNN confirmed that an SEC filing from 2001 also listed Romney as the "sole shareholder, sole director, Chief Executive Officer and President of Bain Capital." lies and more lies from Romney

    July 12, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. IF YOU VOTED FOR HUSSEIN OBAMA YOU'RE A COMMUNIST

    Hussein Obama will pull an NBC and lie for the sake of lying.

    July 12, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Frank in Valparaiso

    Somebody wants to quote "no talent" Jim Talent? Really?? That's as bad as quoting Quayle.

    July 12, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. SafeJourney

    Why wont Romney release his tax returns like his father did. The last 12 years like his father did. Then Americans will know exactly what Romney did

    July 12, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I don't like all the mud-slinging but it appears that the President has proven once and for all that if you hit him he will hit you back...maybe twice for good measure.
    I like that in my President!!

    July 12, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. kakaraka

    Give me a break. Romney was listed on SEC filings as CEO between 1999 and 2002 with an annual salary of $100,000 for doing nothing? He set up a practice that his followers followed. Period

    July 12, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    This Bain Capital shipped all the jobs to China for GREED. Stashed Money in Cayman island, Bermuda and Swiss to evade tax. National disgrace is this Bain idiot. True,.

    July 12, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I know the Rethugs long for those early Obama days when they used to go around calling the President a wimp, no backbone, and wet behind the ears. They strutted around like roosters in the chicken coop thinking that they were going to run circles around Obama.....
    Like that jingle says: "How you like [him] now"?!

    July 12, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "Why wont Romney release his tax returns like his father did. The last 12 years like his father did. Then Americans will know exactly what Romney did"

    You just answered your own question.

    July 12, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. lib

    Romney is a liar. And I hate to call anyone that but if you really take a hard look at Romney he seems to be a very shallow person and someone to not be trusted. I don't know to believe of him but I certainly would not vote for him. The republicans hounded the president for his BCertificate but Romney keeps dodging showing his papers. Strange!!!

    July 12, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. Jean

    "It's complicated" . A lot of issues surrounding Mitt Romney are complicated. Us poor little, everyday folks , would never understand why the SEC paperwork showed Romney as chief stockholder and CEO of Bain three years later than Romney actually said he was. Just never mind, the paperwork doesn't matter much. Just accept what HE says not what the papers say. Did I read felony for misrepresenting his position to the SEC? How much are we supposed to ignore? He can't lay his hands on the last five-ten years of tax returns? Most of us can, why can't he? He doesn't know how much money he has in off shore bank accounts? Or how much money he earned for his off shore companies? You know, like the one in Burmuda he "gave" to his wife before running for office. Didn't he review his tax returns before he signed them? But, hey, just ingnore these little distractions. Lets deal with the issues, like more tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, putting the Ryan agenda in place, taking the health care plan apart. BUT, he has plans! Fifty nine of them, as soon as he thinks of one he will tell you in a manner that he thinks you will understand. And I'm sure you will love it!

    July 12, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. Susan in NC

    Whether Rom(o)ney was indeed in charge at Bain should not be hard to prove or disprove - either he was or he wasn't - which is it? If he was, he more of a phoney and a liar than I already suspected, in addition to being a felon. The American people deserve to know the truth!

    July 12, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  16. Chipster

    If the SEC information reported by the Globe and CNN are true, this is very serious and perhaps the reason Romney hasn't released his tax forms. Romney just looks worse every day. His positions on the issue change from minute to minute. Pro-choice/Anti-abortion, healthcare is/isn't a tax/penalty...... He just jumps back and forth, depending on what's popular for the moment. It's painful watching him. What does he REALLY stand for – anything?

    July 12, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. I Have Question for the Romney Campaign

    To the Romney Campaign:

    If Romney's signature is on filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed 3 years after 1999 that state that Romney is "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" of Bain Capital at the time of the filing, how exactly would you expect the Securities and Exchange Commission to interpret that document?

    Maybe that Romney was actually the "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" of Bain Capital at the time he signed the document. Otherwise, he'd be lying on the document, and that would be a criminal offense, right?

    One more question:

    If Romney's signature is on filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed 3 years after 1999 that state that Romney is "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" of Bain Capital, how exactly would you expect the Obama campaign to interpret that document?

    Maybe that Romney was actually the "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" of Bain Capital at the time he signed the document. Otherwise, he'd be lying to the American people.

    Criminal or Lying candidate or both?

    July 12, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Susan in NC

    Whether Romney "managed the funds" of Bain or not, if indeed he was CEO of Bain through 2002, the buck stopped with HIM, making him a fraud and a liar. And, his campaign has done little today to negate that fact, other than dodging the question, so...............it's up to the news media to find out THE TRUTH! Do your jobs, please!

    July 12, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "What does he REALLY stand for – anything?"

    Sure. He stands for further entrenchment of the feckless, privileged, self-serving plutocrat class as the only ones who really hold any influence and sway over our gov't processes and policies.

    July 12, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. Gurgyl

    Bain capital, show me single stuff made in USA other than you....idiot. Now, I was told Ohio is using all items made in USA, nails, bolts, tools, wrenches., calculators, sheet-rocks, door knobs etc. obama12.

    July 12, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  21. Patriot

    CNN Hold Romneys feet to the flames on the tax issue. How can a presidential nominee get away with not releasing multiple years of returns. Why is the news media not all over this. If Obama had refused to release papers we would never hear the end of it. Come on CNN do your job

    July 12, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  22. Gurgyl

    This is July 3rd week, this idiot is so conflated that he can not even choose VP, how this idiot rule the big nation, USA???Obama12.

    July 12, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. James

    This Cutter gal doesn't know much about business and how Partnerships change. She is as clueless as Obama on how a business works.

    July 12, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. Debby

    Boy Obama is running a disgusting campaign. He is really losing his integrity by the lies he is telling about Romney.

    July 12, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. jason

    How long does it take to prepare a tax return?? Does it take 10 years?? How long does it take to release previous years tax returns?? They have to be fudged, so it will take about 12 years. Come on Mitt Romney, Americans are no dummys, I guess you are a deranged!!!!

    July 12, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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