(CNN) – The suggestion this week from a top Obama campaign official that Mitt Romney may have committed a felony by listing himself as CEO of Bain Capital after leaving the firm was picked apart Sunday, with Republicans decrying the remark as the worst type of divisive politics and Obama's team urging its rivals to "stop whining."
Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.
"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," Cutter said, responding to a newspaper report that Romney was listed as Bain Capital's CEO after 1999, when he has repeatedly said he left the private equity firm.
The significance of Romney's date of departure centers on companies acquired by Bain that later shipped jobs overseas. Romney claims he left the company before those decisions were made, but Democrats point to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that indicate Romney was still listed as the firm's CEO.
Cutter's words drew a quick response from Obama's opponents, who said the suggestion that the presumptive GOP nominee had committed a felony was below the office of the presidency.
Romney himself said in an interview with CNN on Friday that the charge was "disgusting" and "demeaning," and called on Obama and his campaign to apologize.
Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Romney, echoed that sentiment on Sunday, saying on CNN the charges reflected a "say anything" stance adopted by the president's campaign.
"We now know that this president will say anything to keep this highest office in the land, even if it means demeaning the highest office in the land," Gillespie said.
And Kevin Madden, newly appointed to a more senior role on Romney's team, said on CBS that the felony suggestion was out of line.
"I think it is very troubling that the president would direct this campaign to label someone like Gov. Romney, who is a very good and honorable man, as a felon. That's very troubling," Madden said.
Cutter, sitting next to Madden on the CBS set, said she was not calling Romney a felon, but merely stating the Bain documents, if misrepresentative of his role at the company, would amount to a felony. She refused to apologize for the remark.
"He's not going to get an apology," Cutter said. "Just a few months ago in the primary Mitt Romney said to his opponents - who were crushing him at the time – 'stop whining.' And that's a good message for the Romney campaign. Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, just put the facts out there and let people decide rather than trying to hide them."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who left his post as Obama's chief of staff in 2010 to run in the mayoral election, had similar advice for the Republican candidate.
"Give it up about Stephanie. Don't worry about that," Emanuel said on ABC. "What are you going to do when a China president says something about you? Stop whining. If you want to claim Bain Capital as your calling card for the White House, defend what happened to Bain Capital and what happened to those jobs that went overseas, those jobs that were actually cut and eliminated."
Mitt i think is time that you put on the gloves and hit them back. Eye for an eye no more nice guy! They want dirty politics let's give it to them.
"May" have committed a felony- that's what she said and her argument was correct. At best he is a poor business man, You hould never be a CEO and not know what's going on in your name. As CEO he was still legally responsible for the actions of Bain. Ignorance is not an out under the law. Releaase your tax returns- show you received no compensation as CEO (that can't be done) then maybe you can say you weren't involved.But you cannot escape criticism- you were CEO – you were responsible legally as 100% stockholder.
Actually why are the Dems. so taken back at Romney when they put this whole thing out there.
If the same thing was done to Obama we would be hearing CNN and the mainstream media wanting the repubicans to fire that person and give an open apology. Democrats always want things to go their way and they think that the loufer they speak above everybody that they will win the argument. Obama could never reach that level that Dr. Martin Luther King had. Dr. King had class about him but Obama only knows the Chicago style politics.....corruption and nasty politics.
Let's face it. The only two reasons why people and companies keep bank accounts in countries considered tax havens:
1. To conceal their illegal and criminal activities hidden from law enforcement. Drug dealers, mobsters corrupt officials and business managers iuse these as their favorite destinations.
2. The second is tax evaders. Most investment even legal ones such as HALIBURTON, who until recently were listed as Caymen Island corps paid no US income tax even when they worked for the US gov. (Thank you Dick Cheney).
Mitt Romney will have to show which category he belongs to. He can claim he was following Dick Cheney's fine traditions.
well romney thats the way politics works. stop crying about it. release your tax returns, explain how a company you own puts your time of leaving differently, stop crying about things you are blaming this president for when everyone knows your party put the economy in trouble and start giving the details about how your going to change things instead of just depending on "just trust me , put me in office than i will tell you"!
Romney needs to call a news conference--ALL channels...........He then needs to say....."Okay, so if I am a felon, why have I not been arrested? And, Obama.....I will tell you what.......Even though I have released all tax returns required by law, I will be willing to release even more-–when you release the Fast and Furious documents, your college records/transcripts, and the contract for the mansion that you bought in Illionois through the deal you made with convicted felon Tony Rezko"............Watch how fast Obama, liberals, and the liberal-leaning MSM shut up and back off the Bain attacks then!!
All this guy does is throw baseless accusations he's a 24/7 presidential heckling machine. Please stop crying, one by one you took down RNC folks in the primary with some dirty tactics. Given the fact that the Bain thing cost you the election in the early 90's it makes it plausible you would want the best of both worlds. Stop crying and layout your plans for this week that is because they change like the wind
Romney wants our vote, but says he does not have to share information or be transparent with the American people. SEC filings are legal, material, and significant filings. If they are not truthful, then what are they? Same with tax returns.
all I'm saying is how a Guy that is running for a country which has assets worth trillion and trillions of dollars, and didnt looked in on his business he owned worth billions in over 3 years at bain. is this the Guy we would want running our country, either mitten is the lyingest candidates ever to run for the American presidency or he's incompetent as ....
@truth, did you not watch the GOP primarys with all the nasty commercials Mitt put out against his opponents? Wake up , Mitt is a dirty as they come.
Mitt is the guy that lost to the guy that lost to President Obama. Really repubs? This is what you are going with.
Mitt your Bain Pain is not going away. Either deal with it by releasing your tax returns or leave before the convention.
You know it and the Repub powers that be know it.
@Reggie please stop, they are not digging below the surface on this Bain thing and the Media does Obama no favors. Acosta sat on Romneys lap for the interview, Romney has 24/7 pro Rnc channel on his side that is supposed to be the most watched network if you believe Nielsen. So what are you guys crying about, you want every channel to reinforce your belietfs you guys don't want News
It's a lot easier to hammer Romney on his sucess that talk about: SUMMER OF RECOVERY, SOYLNDRA, Millions of people out of work, 47 Million on Food Stamps, Rising Food Prices, morgages under water the 16 Trillion Dollar Federal Debt,. Yes! Let's talk about Romney's sucessful career nd stop whining about the Democrat's Flubs. Let's talk about TAXING the rich. THAT'S MORE FUN.
Government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time.
Romney has 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.”
Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
Not quit whining but show how the claim is a lie? You did sign the SEC forms in 2001 and 2002, and now you say you had NOTHING to do with Bain during those years.
Sorry, but lying to the SEC IS A FELONY!
'Sides if it took 4 years for a company that specializes in dissolving companies 4 years to change the leadership, would a "President" Romney EVEN have complete Cabinet by the end of his first term???
If I response to the attack I am losing Mitt Romney said
Romney know he can’t go against the truth
Boo hoo hoo! Romney likes to punch but can't take a lick...wuss!
I own a company with 25 employees. I know with absolute certainty that wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, i am responsible for what goes on in my company – even if others are doing it on my behalf. If my employees did something to break the law, if my accountant didn't do my taxes correctly, I would be the person who would be responsible. I would be the one in jail – not my employees. So what i don't understand is why this argument hasn't been framed in that llight? If Romney owned the company – it doesn't matter if he was on the moon – he is still responsible for what happens at that company! To infer that somehow he's not responsible for what the company does because he was busy doing something important, is just amazing to me – beyond logic! There's a reason why he signed the SEC paperwork while he was working the Olympics... because he was responsible for the company!
Let's see, has Romney stood up and decried the statements of the "birthers," including his friend Donald Trump? This was not the President saying it, however since Karl Rove brought nasty tactics into the race between Bush and Kerry, the Republicans have been dishing it out but apparently can't take it.
As they say, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen Mittens! Welcome to the 2012 election 101! Hahaha!
God knows Republicans would NEVER stoop so low and say such things about Obama regardless if they were true or not, so let's play nice guys!
@RayE stop repeating talking points, blame your RNC congress rep you vote in without any thought. That person has been in office longer and influences policy, think about how dumb you claim is a president in office for three years vs congress reps in office for 30 years. Soylendra was a mistake, but trust me there are plentyof succes. Funny how you folks never mention the 800000 jobs being bled, financial downfall, housing downfall, auto industry downfall by a RNC controlled country in every office. so yeah no ones stupid, 3 years to fix a mess that tool 30 to create by the same idiots you will relect because they rep your party in congress and have been for decades
Good for Cutter. I'm tired of Democrats apologizing for telling the truth!
Still waiting, Mitt, Still haven't heard anything beside your empty words saying, "I wasn't at Bain", and "Apologize to me for hurting my feeling". Proof, Mitt, that's what we need. PROOF. Were you at bain during those years or not, and if not, PROVE it, then explain why your name was on federal documents say you were in fact there. Waiting....
I'm sick of 12 years of secret, dirty, greedy politics. The republican party needs to run people with ethics and consciences, not corporate giants with only legal departments to restrict their corrupt shenanigans, or worse, lobby to get them legalized.