(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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Willard Romney his name says it all.
Deceptive and dishonest? Lets start with your lies Romney. When do you plan on making your tax filings public? After the election? What about your offshore accounts, what's in those? The American people have every right to question his activity at Bain capital.
No apologies needed. Just come clean and be transparent Romney, You're hiding stuff
How much in Swiss accts and why? How much in Caymen's and why? how much and why on all the secretive stuff he's had going on for 20 years.
Don't trust him.
Hogwash. "And that's all that's necessary for people to understand something about my finances" Sorry, Mitt, sorry that we that aren't as rich as you are too stupid to understand something about your finances. We're not stupid enough to elect you.
Take your 30–40 something percent of the vote and fade into history. Good luck finding a VP. Who wants to hitch their star to your wagon.? (PS, Pick somebody fast, so it's something else in the news. This Bain thing is eating you alive, and will be your demise, but it will be a temporary distraction at least.)
Everyone knows John King is in the pocket of the GOP. He is always echoing their talking points, whether true or false. Of course Romney's buddies at Bain are going to cover for him. The SEC filings, including some for investment vehicles beginning in 2002, are clear proof that he was either lying then or he is lying now. Please also explain the nice salary he was drawing for his position after he resigned.
I never thought I'd say it but if Romney gets elected I will be missing Bush.
When you are called a liar and your only reponse is call the other person a liar, both comments cancel each other out. This could be something that conservatives and liberals agree on. Its a start.
Obama has proven to lack the leadership capabilities to work with the otherside of the aisle. Plus Obama has directed his Party in the Senate not to produce a budget so there is no compromise with the house budget and nothing gets done. The only strategy Obama has left is to smear Romneys creditbility. America is in desperate need of a leader, I do not particulary care if they are DEM or REPUB. Last leader was Clinton
"Obama's campaign, he said, is 'putting out information which is false and deceptive and dishonest'"
And this has already been verified and supported by CNN, FactCheck dot org, the Washington Post, and Fortune.
Obama's campaign is attack and fear. It will implode by September.
None of the above
Why won't Bishop Willard Mitt Romney release enough to satisfy the public and move on. It's as easy as that.
Mitt... you can dish it out, but you can't take it? You'd make a poor President for a LOT of reasons.
word s are one thing....PROVE IT!
I have to side with Romney on this one, bad move Obama...ouch that hurt.
It seems that with so much at stake that the Obama campaign would have vetted this information more thoroughly before taking such an aggressive stance.
Someone should ask Gov. Romney if he's made more money than he's lost since 01/20/09. If it's more well, then, there ya go.
And yet, Romney never once spoke out against the birther fringe that demanded President Obama show his birth certificate. I just live the hypocrisy of the "new" GOP.
If obummer wins another term in office you can kiss america goodbye as we know it...this man and his condescending wife are true america haters....you have been warned....!
WHAT?! You mean to tell me that politicians are being dishonest?! STOP THE PRESSES!!!!11oneone
I will vote for a jar of mayonnaise before I vote for Mitt Romney; mayo has a higher IQ.
Who cares about when he left Bain or if they threw him a party... Or what his portfolio consists of.....all this petty BS.
But Mitt, did you address the issue? Either you is or you ain't. What a non-answer. A perfect politician's answer.
Wromney = wrong for America, and wrings his hands of his financial plunder and ill-gotten largesse. What's there to hide, Mittens?
I didn't do anything for 3 years at Bain Capital but I still got paid this whole time while they were laying off people and outsourcing their jobs overseas. I also have a wide stance...
No, Mitt Romney is dishonest and deceptive! Obama has made government more transparent than ever before. I don't trust Mitt any more than I can throw him.