(CNN) - Following a week of some of the sharpest attacks yet on his management of the financial firm Bain Capital, Mitt Romney offered a vocal defense Friday of his tenure there and strongly disputed reports he left the firm years later than he has previously said.
"There's nothing wrong with being associated with Bain Capital, of course," Romney said in an interview with CNN's Jim Acosta. "But the truth is that I left any role at Bain Capital in February of 1999."
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The Democratic criticisms, combined with a series of recent news articles looking into what is and isn't known of Romney's complicated financial portfolio, are simply "an effort on the part of the president's campaign to divert attention from the fact that the president has been a failure when it comes to reigniting the American economy," Romney said of President Barack Obama.
Romney stopped short of saying Obama's campaign was lying in recent ads hitting at his Bain tenure. Democrats have charged that Bain - under Romney and after - profited when companies owned by Bain closed and when jobs were outsourced overseas.
Obama's campaign, he said, is "putting out information which is false and deceptive and dishonest" in their advertisements.
Related: Why is 1999 so important to 2012?
Financial documents filed with the Security and Exchange Commission, including some obtained and reviewed by CNN, list Romney in various capacities with Bain after what Romney has repeatedly said was his February 1999 departure from the firm. That month, he took the reins of the Salt Lake City Olympic games and "relinquished all management authority and role in Bain Capital," he said in the interview.
Democrats, however, have pointed to the fact that his name appears on Bain Capital financial documents until 2002 as evidence Romney did not actually leave the firm. In 2002, Romney signed a retirement package with the firm and was no longer an owner of the company.
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter charged in a conference call with reporters this week that Romney "through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony," or was otherwise "misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments."
Presented with Cutter's felony suggestion, Romney asked if that is "really what's expected from the campaign of the sitting president of the United States?"
"Is this the level that the Obama campaign is willing to stoop to? Is this up to the standards expected of the presidency of the United States?" he asked. "It's disgusting, it's demeaning it's something which I think the president should take responsibility for and stop."
In the interview, Romney also lent greater clarity to his intentions surrounding release of his tax returns. In January, Romney released his 2010 return and an estimate of his 2011 tax year liability.
Related: Romney team defiant in response to Bain attack
"The law requires us to put out a full financial disclosure and that I've done," he said, adding that the most recent year will be released "as soon as the accountants have that ready.
"And that's what we're going to put out," he said. "People always want to get more and we're putting out what is required plus more that is not required. And those are the two years that people are going to have and that's all that's necessary for people to understand something about my finances."
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He is OUTRAGED that we would talk about his past.....
wonder what he will have as a position on this tomorrow?
And wonder if he is as outraged at himself for continuing to repeat the same twaddle and lies he has been spouting about the President of the United States for the last 10 months? Is he outraged about birhters? And his lies about Obamacare, and the economy, and the stimulus, and taxes, and foreign policy???
The ONLY consistent thing about mighty mitt is his consistent outrageous lies. Ad yet he is outraged when the truth gets told about himself.
"And those are the two years that people are going to have and that's all that's necessary for people to understand something about my finances."
Uh, forgive me Master Mittens, I know I am a humble, unworthy lower middle class American and you do not have to answer to me, but I would like to suggest that showing us the 2001 tax returns which you state DO NOT show any salary from Bain should close this chaos.
However, NOT showing it does make you appear like a snake oil salesman that thinks those SEC laws are only for the stupid little people like me.
Again, pardon me Master, for speaking to you in this manner, I will pray 10 prayers to Planet Kolob by dusk, in an act sublimation.
Should you be elected, I assume that will become a daily process for me, so perhaps you could send me an old blanket from your "dressage pony", after you have written it off in your taxes, of course.
Romney does what a corrupt businessman would do and that is lie about his corruption. This wishy washy etch-a-sketcher has no business running America
Either Romney's been lying to the SEC which is a felony.
Or Romney's been lying to the American people again which makes him untrustworthy.
Right Mitt...no role whatsoever since 1999. How much in 'consulting fees' did you earn after 1999? How about releasing some tax returns?
to the obama camp: STOP Diverting attention away from the ISSUES! Talk About the Issues of the DAY!!!
His father, George Romney, started the practice of full disclosure. He released 12 years of tax returns. What is Mitt hiding?
In 2002 Romney's sworn testimony was given as part of a hearing to determine whether he had sufficient residency status in Massachusetts to run for governor.
Romney testified that he "remained on the board of the Staples Corporation and Marriott International, the LifeLike Corporation" at the time.
He just keeps lying and you people who claim to be journalist don't have what it takes to nail him down on anything. Instead you play softball with him. I sure real investigative reporting.
Didn't Obama just say his opponents will attack when they have no record to tout? And what is Obama doing? Exactly what he says his opponents are doing or shouldn't do.
The only thing Romney won't do to get elected is tell the truth.
Yesterday, the Obama campaign brought out this story. Romney responded with categorical denial, stating in no uncertain terms that he was completely separated from Bain as of Feb. 1999, having no involvement in Bain OR IN ANY COMPANIES ASSOCIATED WITH BAIN.
Today, the Obama campaign has released testimony by Romney, under oath, to the Massachusetts Ballot Law Commission, for the purpose of establishing residency which would allow him to run for Governor, that he should be considered a resident of Massachusetts because he was working for and conducting meetings with COMPANIES ASSOCIATED WITH BAIN.
Either he was still regularly making decisions from which Bain profited after Feb 1999, in which case he lied yesterday about being completely separated from Bain, or he was telling the truth yesterday and lied under oath to the Ballot Law Commission.
. sooooooo which is it
In Obama's last campaign he made promises he had no intention of honoring. He never even made token gestures to live up to his words. He spent a lot of money because no one knew who he was. Now he has to spend even more money because everyone knows who he is. So it follows that this campaign will get a bit rougher as election day approaches. For many of Obama's followers his word is gospel. And Obama delivers the whoppers with a straight face and expects people to be stupid enough to believe his every word. His confidence received a boost when the worlds largest middle class tax hike, Obamacare, was upheld by the Supreme Court. The fact that he did not get a boost in the polls is the beginning of
desperation and has marked the start of a smear campaign that will make his past campaigns look like a walk in the park. It's time to get out your 32 ounce soda, some popcorn and get ready for the show of a lifetime.
But why can't we see Romney's tax returns. Is there something dishonest going on with him. Obama came forward with his. now it's Mitt's turn. I think Mitt is the one who is dishonest.
Hillary accused obama of the same tactics in her running for president ,and remember she is a democrat.Obama knows no other way.
wow. heretofore, everything mitt has said can be chalked up to lunacy. but it cannot be disputed, mitt is the preimminent expert in false and deceptive and dishonest. so i would think this is a serious indictment of the obama campaign.
Ahh the schill of the democrats manages to gerrymander the information they need to sell the glistening one. Shocking isn't it? This will only convince democrats because everyone knows what CNN is. It's actually very common for corporations to leave names on the books for some time after their departure. The point would be, was he involved in any decision making and the answer on every level of that is, even on CNN's televised reports which contradict this story, NO! CNN's credibility just keeps taking hit after hit.
Of course, Mr. Romney could also stop saying that America's economic problems are Mr. Obama's fault. What goes around, comes around, and if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen.
What politician isn't 'deceptive and dishonest'. They all get paid, or "lobbied", to get what corporations want passed or put into law. Corruption and greed is what's destroying this great country.
So he was a CEO at the time and not running the company. I wonder what was his salary at the time as a do-nothing-CEO.
Can someone explain why, when several reliable news organizations have investigated these chages and debunked them with logic and precision, why this fact is not included in this article? Could CNN really be carrying water for the Democratic party and their candidate?
He likes to give it but can't take it when the finger of accusation points his way.
That's all we need to understand something about his finances? I think not. Let's get the full picture here. Why not?
If that isn't just the pot calling the kettle black.
One politician calling another politician a liar. That's CLASSIC!!
And yet you wonder why people think you are a haughty, aloof, snooty, elitist empty suit?
I can't imagine.