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."

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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. Rick

    Romney, the paper trail and your actions and words tell the real story. you lie Romney.

    July 13, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  2. I love irony

    "Ohhh don't smear me" – Romney...who put up a clip of Obama QUOTING John Mcain as if Obama had said it. Ridiculous!

    And his taxes...the man is hiding everythign befoer 2010 because the man has $100 million in the Caymans and paid less than 10%, maybe close to 0% on taxes the years prior. 2011 is going to be a year he pays the highest percentage of taxes precisely as a dog and pony show. Why else hide it? Common sense says hes hiding something. Why give John McCain 23 years of data but the American people barely 2?

    July 13, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. Kenric

    Romney really has no grounds to call anyone else dishonest.

    July 13, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. Independent in Ohio

    This is the fire that I have been waiting for! Its about time he directly addresses the mudslinging. I wish this were the Romney during the Republican Primary. Leaning Romney and his executive experience over Obama and his community organizing. Both are important but our economy isn't getting much better anytime soon

    July 13, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  5. Deptirado

    Really? He is telling obama that he is stooping to low? IT is funny how republicans dont like to be on the same playing field...Also when so many people stoop to find out if the president is american or not? Or if he christian or a undercover muslim seeking to destroy america? Obama is using the same strategy the republicans used against Kerry and they don't like it!

    July 13, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. Armbar MoFo

    Man I cant wait til Mittens is forced to release his taxes. He said the last two years is all people need to see. LOL what are you hidding mittens

    July 13, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  7. TheMovieFan

    A Republican accusing someone else of being deceptive and dishonest? That's funny.

    July 13, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. Cyg

    SEC says you didn't, MITT – also your accounts overseas say you didn't either. Guess that makes you the liar – but we knew that already.

    July 13, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. ronald raygun

    these arent attacks, they are unanswered questions that mitt keeps dodging. bain is a joke, the writing is on the wall he was directly involved.

    July 13, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. Babaruge

    Because the Republicans have been truthful in their characterizations of the President...HA!

    July 13, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  11. Jim

    Yeah, "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." You just were the owner of the company. So if it closed companies while wiping out their pension funds for profit, you're not responsible? Maybe you shouldn't be running for president if you don't want to take responsibility for what you own.

    July 13, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. Big_D

    How was that fundraiser hosted by Cheney this year Mitt? Closed door fundraisers with oil and mercinaries are the stuff of totally honest campaigns.

    July 13, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. Mittey Romulous

    Of course it has to stop...he doesn't want anyone to see his finances from 1999 to 2002.

    July 13, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Anthony

    Romney,
    You were away from Massachusetts most of the time in 2005-2006, but you were still the governor. The health care plan you signed into law in 2006 is still on your record. Just because you were not actively managing Bain in 1999-2002 does not mean that you were not the CEO.

    July 13, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. RositaCA

    Hey WILLARD.......this is just the beginning of it, get ready for more discovery :)

    July 13, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  16. Steph

    Mitt Ronney said in Interview with CNN regarding surrounding himself with George Bush advisers (John Bolton & Condelizza Rice) ………..….That Mitt Ronney is his own man

    Well let see about George Bush administration …….. Bush lie about weapon of mass distruction in Iraq and Ronney is liying about his record at Bain Capital

    Bush hide water boarding to American people … Ronney is hiding is tax Return …
    Bush gave tax break to the rich and Ronney hide is asset in Cayman Islands …..

    Bush administration threw CIA agent under bus (Valerie Plane) …. Computer in Massachustes Governor office … Mitt Ronney had files erase on the computer ……

    As American People did we not see this pattern from George Bush and Mitt Ronney is surrounding with Bush people from John Bolton, Condelizza Rice and Vice President Channey ………did American people not run away from Bush people and Mitt Ronney is surrounding himself this people …….GOP going forward or going backward by the Candidate Mitt Ronney surrounding himself with Neo-Con from Bush administration ………

    If Mitt Ronney gets elected and be surrounded with Bush people …. We night go to war with North Korea, Venezuala and Cuba ….. … Is that what we want has American people …. Another War from the Neo-Con that Mitt Ronney is surrounding himself with ….. My Bad……

    July 13, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. brian

    my tax returns had to be done months ago so why are his accountants his excuse for the delay they wanted obamas birth cert sowhy cant we get his taxes fair is fair ! !!

    July 13, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. J. Richter

    Only the tax returns he carefully prepared after he started running? How insulting! He couldn't be confirmed for a cabinet position by the senate for that level of disclosure. The senate requires 6 years. HE MUST REALLY BE HIDING SOMETHING!!!

    July 13, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. Tax Investigator

    What's up, Mitt?

    You don't want to release your income tax records because there are years when you paid less than 14%.

    Well, it's payback time!

    July 13, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  20. Dennis Price

    My response to you Mitt is, yeah, right.

    I can't believe he won't produce his tax returns. He's doing the bare minimum and all conservatives will give him a pass. They'll just cheer and act like he has scruples. Well kiddies, he doesn't. His Father was an honorable man. Mitt, not so much.

    July 13, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  21. Tha Chikin

    Seriously all this "OOO he did that" and "OOOO they did that" is ridiculous! Why does campaigning have to be like that? What happened to the days when we had honest politicians stating what they believed? Wait... there haven't been any honest politicians!! HA HA HA HA HA!! Sorry... my brain must have been hijacked by aliens or something...

    July 13, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. Benita

    This is the worst interview I ever read before, I don't care about what Obama campaign said. This interview is supposed to me about Romney, what he told the SEC and what he testified to. This reporter needs to be fire.

    July 13, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  23. Frank O'File

    Okay. He just kept his name on the masthead and got a $100,000 paycheck. For doing nothing. So later he could criticize the NAACP for wanting "free stuff."

    July 13, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  24. gj2001

    I left Bain before I left Bain not when I left Bain.

    July 13, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. Kent

    "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."

    But you gave John McCain 23 years worth of tax returns when he was vetting for a VP. Do the American people deserve less?

    July 13, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12