(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Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.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."
It's really quite simple...are these his signatures on the SEC filing, yes or no? At the time you signed these documents were you or were you not the CEO, etc? The law treats these types of things quite simply...either Romney, on behalf of Bain, filed false documents with the SEC for approximately 2 years OR he has been less than accurate in asserting his lack of any kind of decision making role at Bain after 1999. He cannot be free from all fault on both sides of the issue as filing false or misleading disclosures with the SEC is in fact a felony...which is the simple point the Obama spokeswoman was trying to make. Romney has been using the "best defence is a good offence" approach here by attacking Obama camp for making such an observation in the first place...as opposed to responding to the substantive issue with demonstrative facts in rebuttal (perhaps because said facts don't exist?)
Romney demanding an apology and being all in a dither because someone said something of questionable honesty ranks as first-order whining. Stoppittt! Owww! Mo–om! Suck it up. Romney's been telling outright lies about Obama for months (never did a trade deal, hasn't offered a jobs plan, etc) but he's crying on TV because someone said something bad about him? Yeah, that's presidential.
Fine then the democrats should stop whining when Obama is called a socialist.
If Ms. Cutter said ANYTHING that was factually incorrect, then Mr. Obama would fire her. She did not.
I`m sure that making a material misrepresentation to the SEC, MULTIPLE TIMES, is [or should be] a felony. Claiming to be the President & CEO and personally warranting the validity of the documents filed, IS MATERIAL.
Beyond the SEC documents, When trying to get a favorable MA Residency status to run for Governor [i.e. after 1999] Mitt himself is on the record talking about ACTIVE involvement in board mtgs & management meetings of companies. Just play the tape.
Mitt, we don`t trust you, that`s the REAL PROBLEM.
Yo, Mitt-Witt. You said that your business background and experience qualifies you to serve as President. Well, let's hear all that you have to say, all the decisions that you made, and all the business dealings in which you engaged so that we can see what values drive you as a man whom your new campaigner, Ricky Santorum, called a person with no core.
What a big baby he is! He just makes up lies all of the time – and when he gets caught by the truth, he was instrumental in offshoring jobs – destroying companies and telling lies about being the CEO when the company took jobs ut of this nation, he acts insulted. Well, MR ROMNEY, the truth hurts! You cannot change reality as much as you and your team of liars and haters might try. You have nothing to offer this great country but more destruction for the people who do the work that creates the wealth. All of you racist haters who insult the President of the United States are not representative of the good people of this nation. We want decent jobs, decent schools for our children, a decent and clean environment and voting rights for all people, all of which Mitt Romney wants to destroy> He is so out of touch – he tells us to just 'borrow money from your parents' to pay the obscenely high tuition rates for a college degree- un, can your mom and dad loan you a hundred grand? Get real- this guy is no president. but a rich little spoiled brat who hides his money offshore while also sending our jobs offshore. If Bush was the great 'decider' ( not) then we can call Mittens the great destroyer.
The Republicans are getting some of their own medicine. Remember what they did to Kerry, a real war hero? Putting all the smokescreen aside the American people need to know how Romney manages his own finances. As a taxpayer I would like to see his 1999-2003 tax returns to see if he really benefited from still being involved with Bain since he says he had no daily management responsibility as Bain was outsourcing jobs to China et al.. How can he say he had no involvement when he was still CEO and single owner? Something is fishy.
That's a hoot! After all the whining the Dems/libs do. Even CNN doubts the truth of Obama's statements. And, speaking of supposed "out-sourcing:" Obama's had campaign fund-raisers this month, so far, in France, Sweden, Switzerland and Communist China. Talk about out-sourcing! He lies about Mitt. And, then out-sources the power of his office. Whew! Oh, well...he's just calling in the payments from those he's aligned with.
Listening to Mary Matalin on This Week lecture that the American people don't care about where Romney has his money or how much he's paid in taxes, that we only care about our taxes. Well, half of that is correct. I do care about my taxes. I also really care about the slight of hand philosophy of the 1%. I'm sure Romney has done nothing illegal, but just barely. Along with his cadre of corporate accountants and lawyers, he threads the needle through a system that is rigged in his favor. 14% is no doubt at the high end of what he's been taxed at. This is not a man in favor of the middle class, this is a man with an arrogant sense of destiny. He speaks to investing in our great country and then does everything he can to get around not paying his fair share. Show us 2000, 2001, 2002...We actually do care.
Every voter who pulled the lever for Romney in the primaries committed a felony.
Well, Mitt is a proven liar – he takes both sides of every issue, (see Youtube for verification) but that's not a felony unless he's under oath. However, he did sign SEC paperwork, under penalty of perjury, that he is the person responsibile for Bain at the end of the day. If he wants to use his time at Bain as a positive for his campaign, he has to accept the consequences that people will be disecting all his statements, based on the fact that he is a proven liar.
So, yes, Mitt needs to stop whining. If it's too hot for ya, get out of the kitchen. If President Obama can handle being called every lie from a marxist to a witch doctor with class and dignity, Mitt should be able to handle accepting the consequences of his actions without whining.
I have a feeling this is just the tip of the iceberg. Seems like the Obama campaign knows something big to come out of the gate with this so early. Think about everyone who had access to Mittens' financials when he was vetted by McCain. Pass the popcorn!
This is how democrats and the liberal media want it.....total hypocrisy on what they can say about conservatives, but never can conservatives return fire...... The REAL PROBLEM is that we have president who is acting like small town mayor!!!
But, but, he's rich. Shouldn't he be able to say what he wants? That mean old Obama.
And you thought Vaudville was dead! The "Annointed" one keeps harping the Rich need to pay their Fair Share. You know, Obama says, WITH YOUR MONEY AND MY BRAIN'S we will go places. So all you Obama supporters Divvy Up! It is time to pay the Piper! Don't be bashful, step rith up, and drop your money in the bottomless pit! With Obama's brains and your money, you will go places.
It about time for Romney to make his "I am not a crook" speech. He can watch tapes of Tricky Dick Nixon to see how it's done.
Show your TAX RETURNS if there is nothing to hide! I will never vote for a Republican ever again. They are dishonest and so self serving! They care nothing about most of Americans. RONEYCARES LESS!
We want to see more of his tax returns. What is he hiding?
Romney, the flip flopping Whiner, is obviously hiding something illegal or embarassing on his tax returns.
The Republicans better start knocking off the dust on Newt or Herman. Mitt is done, Ron Paul is waiting.
Romney's always been a bully and always will be. They push, shove, hit, cut hair, and cry when someone says Boo.
If Rmoney thinks Ed Gillespie lying for him is going to make a difference, loook at what Ed Gillespie's lies have done TO others.
Why in blazes is this not settled? All that matters is the purpose and weight of the documents filed with the SEC. Do those not settle the question in a legal sense? Or are they so much t-paper? Romney and his many lawyers could not possibly have mistakenly signed off on his personal ownership and command of it, even if some other stooge was nominally running the company. SO, he owned it. So what? I thought his management at Bain was supposed to prove his competence to be POTUS, does he now think otherwise that he wants to distance himself from it?
Yes, the Romney camp are a bunch of big fat babies! But really, all the Obama camp has to do is, instead of running their adds attaching "Romney" for shipping jobs overseas, they can say that from 1999 – 2002 "Romney's company" shipped jobs overseas and it really has the same effect. It was HIS company, even if he was running the Olympics. He was still the sole owner and listed as CEO. So, who in their right mind would completely ignore what is going on regarding the decisions of a company that you are the so owner of? He is the one that left in charge whomever it was that was making the decisions and the idea that he paid no attention to what was happening and didn't condone it is ridiculous.
so anything can be said now? and when asked to produce evidence or stand by it you can just say "well im not saying they did, but they my have." Obama campaign is dust in the wind having to resort to this.