July 13th, 2012
06:02 PM ET
2 years ago

Acosta interview: Romney's spirited Bain rebuttal

(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."

Also see:

Reid: Romney couldn't be confirmed as dog catcher

McDonnell furiously defends Romney from Obama salvo

Biden to Romney: 'Show your papers'

RNC backing Romney with $5 million ad buy

Barbour: If in Romney’s position, I would release tax docs

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Bain Capital • Mitt Romney • Taxes • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. frank

    boo hoo, if you see any Romny adds its just as low as you can get. If any of his fellow repulicans would have stooped as low as the slease it would be anyone but this lying cultist freak

    July 13, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  2. John

    Maybe something Darrell Issa stole.

    July 13, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. Reason

    So why do people have a problem with Romney? The man is a millionaire who ran an extremely successful PRIVATE company....why the heck wouldn't we want him to use his experience running business to fix our own economy??

    What's wrong with you people...Obama has been the pres for 4 years and we are worse off than ever...we are working on the second recession in less than 4 years...and everyone cries foul on a very successful corporate manager?? No wonder our economy is in trouble....idiots keep electing idiots

    July 13, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Burt Speedwack

    Remember when Romney seemed like he might be able to win? Well, things change.

    July 13, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    That guy is trying so hard not to laugh.

    July 13, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Dante666

    Well when your record is dismal and your campaign promises all come back to haunt you as a pandering poltician and in truth you have failed to fix the economy and jobs issues – not to mention the fact that the one thing you did right has pretty much cost every American tax payer more money = I GUESS THE ANSWER IS TO DREAM UP ANYTHING TO DIVERT YOUR FAILURES AS PRESIDENT. I actully think Obama is a pretty smart guy, but he has bent over for that old democrat BS and now looks like a real first class liar. To bad Obama – you are no better than all those other sleezy politicans we havve in off today. Sad, Sad testiment to your speach on HOPE.

    July 13, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. GMarshall

    Why doesn't he get honest wit the American people. We can take it. He sent jobs overseas because that maximized profit. he closed American firms for the same reason. And he made hundreds of millions from those vulture capital deals. He made money the good old republicon way – he took it from American workers.

    And why doesn't he fess up and say what he really means – people with hindreds of millions in assetts, according to republicon policy, should be coddled and pay little to no taxes on the interest they collect on those massive piles of cash.

    If he wants anyone to trust him he should just be honest about it. Otherwise he comes off as a pandering lying sack of dung who games the system for his own gain while not caring how may little people - nails girls and such - he steps on.

    July 13, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  8. NITAL

    Obama campaigners get a life – Bain Capital has created 1,000's of American Jobs and was/is a very successful company – more then anything Obama has done in the past. It seems some people don't like success. Romney has nothing to hide even if was with the company all those years

    July 13, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. sergio

    It simple and very easy to clear this “misunderstanding” if Mitt Romney would release his TAX RETURNS from 1999 to date without any redactions, this will be the real FACT CHECKER; or maybe he is hiding something!!!

    July 13, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. Mitt R'money is a crybaby

    So old money was found to be lying about his time at Bain, the vulture capitalist company, and now its Obama who needs to apologize? The GOP stand for nothing except hurting Obama. Their chump of a candidate can cry and moan and play the victim, most conservatives are good at this, all day long but it will not change the FACT that he is hiding his money in Swiss bank accounts, will not release his tax returns and filed papers with the SEC showing he was still CEO of Bain well after he says he left. R'money doesn't care about real Americans and only has eyes for the corporate citizen and his CEO country club elite chums.

    July 13, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. Jeb

    Romney doesn't want to be associated with the fact that he invented Obamacare.

    Now he doesn't want to be associated with all of the companies he destroyed and jobs he shipped overseas.

    So he just lies about it.

    July 13, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. Mama for Obama

    Romney appears to be self serving and dishonest. He makes himself look very bad when he calls the President of the United States a liar. Romney is the biggest liar out there and I think he is a racist and a mysogynist. Why won't he release his tax records? What else is this unethical man hiding? Anyone who votes for this man in CRAZY!

    July 13, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. myearshurt

    I knooooow you are but what am IIIIIIIII

    How can mitty walk around with his pants on fire all the time? Wouldn't it be uncomfortably hot?

    July 13, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. Bill

    So you have one guy who has presided over continuous growth in GDP and jobs since the last GOP administration nearly took it off the cliff. He also kept us from going off the cliff again when the GOP decided to play politics with the debt ceiling – something they came out looking shockingly uniformed on the importance of. Then you have another guy who is an elitist, out-of-touch, flip-flopper, and who's record on American jobs is fairly lousy in both the private sector at Bain, and also in his only stint in elected office, when Mass. was one of the worst states in terms of job creation during Romney's only term as governor.

    July 13, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. Captain America

    "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." Spoken like a man with everything to hide LOL

    July 13, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. md22mdrx

    Romney is such a snake in the grass .....
    Do you REALLY believe he was the President, CEO, manager, 100% stockholder, etc and NOT have anything to do with the company for multiple years? I have a bridge to sell you!!!
    Secondly, if there wasn't anything to hide ... he'd release his tax records. If you want to be the President of the USA, you should be required to be an ABSOLUTE OPEN BOOK. Have the IRS dig through their records and release ALL the info for EACH Presidential candidate. It should be REQUIRED if you even want to be considered for the position.

    July 13, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. Tr1Xen

    Agreed, sir.

    July 13, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. KM

    Obviously, you're looking at a president who is desperate to cast his opponent in the most negative light possible because he can't run on his own record. I found the ad by the Romney camp where they aired Hillary Clinton stating "shame on you Barack Obama" as thoroughly hilarious. I am sure if pressed to explain the claims made by his surrogates, the POTUS would claim that he didn't authorize those statements. The truth of the matter is, people that had worked with Romney at Bain said he had no active role in the business after February 1999. To make a claim to the opposition to that position is ludicris. Who else would have more intimate knowledge of Romney's role there, the people he worked with or Obama's surrogates. Furthermore, there has been no credible evidence to demonstrate the claim is true.

    July 13, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Drew

    Obama is a hypocrite. Obama funded his "green initiative" on companies that have operations set up outside the US, mainly in Asia. Obama is playing dirty and dishonest politics, which is a shame since he is the leader of the free world

    July 13, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. Paul

    yes, because Mittens Rmoney is a BASTION of honesty and integrity. Ho. Lee. Fook.

    July 13, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  21. Lou50

    gee, took you four years to come up with that one!

    July 13, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. BJB

    Where are your tax returns Willard?

    July 13, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. Daniel

    Who was in charge of Bain then, if not Romney? Romney is listed as sole stockholder, CEO, and chairman.

    July 13, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. needNewGov

    I like how he didn't answer the question about the filing papers.

    July 13, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  25. JoJo

    Where's all those people screaming about Obama's birth certificate? Why aren't they screaming about Romney producing his financial records? Maybe that 14% tax rate Romney was paying last year was a high mark, even though it's lower than any of us non-multimillionaires are paying.

    July 13, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
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