(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Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.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."
I think it is so funny to hear Republicans complain about being maligned. Remember the Birther issue, just to mention one. I say let the Republicans have it full throttle, no apologies.
Romney's a bigger girl than Ann Romney
They call it despicable because they don't know how to defend themselves from these attacks because these attacks are true and damning. You can tell when one party hits another in a weak spot, because rather than proving then wrong they accuse the accuser of commiting disgusting political tactics.
The SEC filings show Romney as President, CEO, and Director of Bain. If he made a mistake on the filing, let him file amended papers. His Dad released 10 years of taxes when he ran for office because he wanted voters to see who he was. Why doesn't the son release his taxes, if he is so proud of his success? He should defend his overseas tax shelter accounts.
Financial statement with the SEC shows Romney still owned Bain after 1999-2003. Doesn't we go by what was filed with the SEC rather hearesay?
RNC Roadblock Nearly Complete, GOP Get Out Poor
Gee, its amazing how these Republicans can raise millions of dollars but cannot decide on how to fund things to help get the economy rolling again. Oh wait, I know!!! G-R-E-E-D!!!!!
Rombot is a standard issue, born of privilege, chickenhawk pansie. But, he makes up for his absense of courage and integrity with a double helping of duplicity and ambition. There are layers of lies and deceit we haven't even addressed yet. Next up, What about those millions you're hiring from the government Mitt??....mitt...mittt, hello?
I'm glad I'm not a party liner for either side. It's both hilarious and frightening how you people are completely blind and just believe what you're told by your party.
We LOVE to hear romney snivel.
Romney is truly a sick puppy! He is quick to dole it out but obviously unable to take any criticism. Of the myriad of political news reports written by the media that I have personally read, the republicans, as well as Romney, have put out more nasty, cruel, and fallacious statements than any campaign that I can remember! The former republican party was well-respected with politicians such as Bob Dole, George Bush, Sr., Alan Simpson, and the likes. They had integrity and the willingness to work together "get the job done". The party today has severely lowered their standards under the likes of people like Romney, Bonheur, Trump, Rove, the Koch Bros., the tea party, Sarah Palin and many more than I could possibly name. I can honestly say that I would be ashamed to call myself republican and I am grateful, no matter the outcome of the election, that I voted for Barack Obama and left the republican party.
Agreed. The RNC hates it when other people play their politics. I say it's one more thing for Speaker Boehner to cry about. Kleenex anyone?
Seriously I'm kidding. I'd like them to cry some more. The longer they do the longer the news outlets keep running the story and the more exposed people are to the allegation. No one will care about the truth they will only remember what they "heard" when they vote!
"I was not responsible for what happened at Bain Capital" – Mitt Romney
"I was the Sole shareholder, Sole director, Chief executive officer and President of Bain" – Mitt Romney
"The Arizona immigration policy is a good model" – Mitt Romney
"I didn't really support the Arizona immigration policy" – Mitt Romney
“The Massachusetts healthcare plan should be a model for the nation” – Mitt Romney
“Healthcare reform should be left to the states” – Mitt Romney
"Let Detroit go bankrupt" -Mitt Romney
"I'll take a lot of credit for saving the auto industry" -Mitt Romney
“I believe Roe v Wade has gone too far.” – Mitt Romney
“Roe v Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.” – Mitt Romney
Stop whining over Obama lying?
Yeah, let's just kick back and let the liar in chief ruin the country while we bury our heads in the sand.
Democrats are soooooo clueless when it comes to reality.
TKO, really? Obama never accused anyone of disagreeing with him due to racism? See if this quote rings a bell: "“We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’’.
The reason why it took 3 years for Mitt to sign over ownership of Bain is because A) there are laws to follow and B) no one knew at the time he left if he would return. Whats Obama's excuse on the economy? He didn't know there was one?
Etch a sketch, flip flop Romney. I was the CEO at Bain but I was not, I was there but I was not. I am for healthcare mandate but I am not. I hate China but I want to help Chinese people get jobs. I love America but I want to ship the jobs overseas and layoff Americans. I want to create middle class jobs but I want to see GM and Chrysler go bankrupt. I want to cut more taxes for the millionaires but I want to decrease the deficits. He does not know what he stands for. He is on all sides of all the issues facing the nation. No core beliefs. No guts. Uncomfortable in his own skin. He is one sorry candidate.
republicans are such crybabies.
What a crybaby....Be a REAL person instead of a politician....Take responsibility and tell the TRUTH. Obama was literally forced to present his birth certificate!!! How ridiculous is that?!?! Why isn't Trump on Romney's case about producing documents?!!?!
.I can't believe people believe everything this doofus (Romney) says....Where does the GOP find all these clowns to be their candidate?!
the 1% picked mitt and republians are mad at every body-your not happy get rid of him
This is a man's reputation we are talking about here, Ms Cutter and other democrats. I am a Democrat and I am disgusted in the sly way my party is trying to get around accusing Mr Romney of lying and/or commiting a felony. When Obama ran for president several years ago he was accused of being a friend to a terrorist and a racist pastor. Obama himself called them lies and every democrat out there came out to defend him. Rightfully so.
But the difference here is that Republicans were saying that Obama was using bad judgement in his associations. A character flaw. WIth Romney, Cutter and other democrats are hinting at the fact he is a liar and/or a criminal since a FELONY is a crime and without solid proof they are doing it.
All it took was one person to say Obama was not a US citizen and people bought on to the idiotic logic of it and to this day believe it. If you read the blogs now with this Romney piece of crap accusation people are believing this, as well, and it's been IMMEDIATELY DEBUNKED.
Let's just tell the truth and make sure we have proof before putting it out there otherwise this will be the ugliest of elections ever and every subsequent election will be worse than the one before.
Bain should release the boardroom minutes and tax returns to show what they paid Romney for. My guess Romney was paid as a part-time consultant. Romney was signing the SEC documents as CEO up until 2002. But, now claims he was "retroactive retired" this is weird.
Mitt, maybe you should select Ben Quayle (rep AZ) for you VP. You could then lay claim to the ALL WHINER ticket.
All Mitt has to do is show his 2001 and 2002 tax returns, and it would settle this issue of when he left Bain Capital. Many Republicans are begging him to do so. Unfortunately, he won't, obviously because it would show he made lots of money from Bain Capital outsourcing U.S. jobs overseas – where he keeps his money hidden. Great candidate you got there Pubs.
Mitt didn't lie to the SEC, because that would have been a felony. He actually was still on the books as CEO and he signed off on filings in that capacity. During that time Bain was involved in some significant outsourcing to China, which would be embarrassing to a presidential candidate. To avoid that, Mitt simply lied to the American people. And got caught in the lie.
Romney is acting like just another bullet-headed Saxon-mother's son, the stereotypical privileged Americen bully who wants to dish it out to everyone but cries foul if the same is done to him. Hey! Republicans invented "swift boating" and have been running the dirtiest campaigns for decades, so how does that goose sauce suit you GOP ganders?
This story will smolder for another week or two and then most likely go away. That said, I'm truly not expecting, but wouldn't be the least bit surprised, if sometime in the next six-to-seven weeks evidence surfaces that Romney did in fact have a hand in the running of Bain from 1999 to 2002. Then Mitt will be guilty of a prosecutable felony: lying on the 2011 disclosure he had to file w/the Feds before running for President.