(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Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.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."
Romney's advisors are all Bush advisors. Do we want 8 more years of THAT? I don't.
@Russell: I don't pay a cent of penalty because I already HAVE healthcare like a RESPONSIBLE citizen. If you're foolish enough not to then you deserve to pay every CENT of the penalty!
Respect received should be the respect given. Any who complains really shouldn’t. Maybe more respect. Maybe he should show how in his first year in office how he will average ¼ millions jobs gained per month by spending less money.
I'm with the Dems on this one issue.
Romney is kind of a baby. He shredded his competitors in the primaries, outspending them by factors of tens, and then cried when Gingrich ran an attack campaign on him. Frankly, Obama has gone easier on him than his primary competitors did.
I think Cutter's statement was more than fair. If he had made two statements that were contradictory, it would be fair to ask if he was lying about issue A or issue B. The fact that the consequence in this instance could be a felony doesn't mean that the topic should be off limits–if anything, it's more fair given that Bain is supposed to be why we should elect Mitt. He can't say "look at my experience" and then whine if anyone does.
Given Romney's inability to answer any question correctly the first time, if she was really being unfair, she could have gone with "Mitt, have you quit beating your wife."
Dear old Mitt well just keep lying thinking he can get buy with it forever. Why does he think he is so holly that he only shows one or two years of his tax return. This is the kind of slug you guys want running the white house, I didnt think their were that many dumb people in america, I hope they wake up and see what Mitt really is.
Since Bain is Romney's only leg to stand on, he needs to take Michele Bachman's advise and 'Man Up'. You can't take credit for the 'good' and disown the 'bad'.
This guy has more secrets that any other Presidential candidate in my lifetime, dating back to Harry Truman, WHY is he so afraid to be open and honest with the American people? What about the tax returns, "I gave one year's return and I won't give ANY more." This guy scares me, who in their right mind would VOTE for Gordon Gekko for ANYTHING?????
Hey its easy to resolved. Show your taxes, let us see then you can move on Mitts.
Nobody said that Romney IS a felon. They are just asking him to clarify, did he LIE to the SEC in 2001 or is he LYING to American people NOW?
Romney IS whining. He's busy citing Factcheck.org and Politifact about this Bain stuff all the while ignoring all the lies about Obama they busted him on on the past...and present! What a loser.
When liberals are in power, it's literally like there are children running around the White House. God help us. Please let's vote the adults back in.
Party politics aside, Willard Romney needs to grow up. If you're afraid of heat, YOU SHOULD NOT BE IN THE KITCHEN! Actually, we now have a clear picture of what he would be like as President: A Whiner. I could just see the rest of the world getting off on that. Another idiot republican president.
Romney filed these papers with the s.e.c. hesaid that he stepped down in 1999, but he was listed as sole stock holder c.e.o. and administrator for those 3 years he said he wasn't there. so he has either lied to the s.e.c. or the american people. and he has only shown tax returns for one year, 2010. he has filed an extention for the year 2011 so he has six months to hide stuff. it is romney and the republican party that are liars.
This sort of "whining" seems to fit the image most people have of mittens anyway. That old saying – If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen – probably fits here. What did he expect during the campaign, a sunday school (Mormon, of course)??
Cutter is right. To lie on official SEC filings is a felony. Romney must know that, which is why he attacked her back so strongly.
He is being told to stop whining because the accusation blew up in the Democrats face and every time he brings it back up it shows how stupid the attempt by Obamas guys was.
Report the news, Tired of reading about subjective opinions. As an independent voter, who appreciates social conscience and responsibilities to all Americans, as well as the shortfall of this economy. iT is time to elevate the economy and stop the talking heads from debasing our electorate. The lowest common denominator as expressed and repeated by the press, does not elevate our nation, but reflects the depths of our future.
People of this country I decry for you to take back the country and demand a form of speech of respect and intelligence from these small minded representatives..
It sounds like all those crackhead democrats don't like it when they get a taste of their own game .They have been whinning since 2008 blaming everybodyelse for deadbeat obamas huge failure. Besides meth head obama needs to release all of his records previous to getting installed in our WH. That crackhead had all his records sealed to keep the people from seeing his hidden agenda,destroy the U.S. at any cost.
Got a feeling that Romney is going to have more and more to whine about as more and more investigative digging goe on.
The Obama campaign didn't "lie" about Romney possibly having committed a felony. It's a fact that he may have violated the law. He is extremely dishonest and lies all the time. He says he didn't say certain things, when in fact there are interviews with him where he DID make such comments. There is evidence in government documents that HE SIGNED that show that he was the CEO and sole stockholder of Bain. Who's lying? Not the Obama campaign!
@Judith, you hit the nail on the head. The republicans on here do not believe what they are saying. They are playing mind games with their own base, the ones who do not read or research, which is most of them. From the begining of finding ther candidate for president we have seen them parade clowns across the stage. They picked Romney as the best clown and now are stuck with him, because if they vote him out now they will really look stupid. Romney is a flawed candidate period. He is a liar, bully, out-sourcer,corporate raider and God knows what else. He cannot be trusted period.
What was actually said was that either he lied on the SEC forms, which he signed regarding Bain Capital until 2002, which is a felony, or he has lied to the American people.
Who do Romney think he is? want the President to apologize to him, he call the President a liar this last week he should
apologize to him. Mitt think just because he is this wealthy guy the American people should let him do or say what
ever he want to. He took down all his opponent with negative ads. Now he is whining. Mitt man UP and release your taxes. If everything is okay with your taxes than let us see them. By not releasing them it look like you are hiding
m. You Mitt is the only candidate who want
The Democrats are the biggest whiners of them all. Everything was George Bush's fault until the new demon, Mitt Romney, showed up. Now everything is Mitt Romney's fault ala Bain Capital.
Romney needs to answer every single, lying attack with facts and truth. So far he has done an admirable job.
this is just a back-atcha for the recent "contempt" charges which was a load of crap. this really simply put just using the Dem's using the GOP's tactics to lie confuse the electorate. "swift boat", death panels, etc. etc
Perhaps we should discuss how President Obama gave $29 billion in stimulus funds for "green energy" to Foreign companies or how he shipped GM jobs to China. Oh, but that would mean that journalists would have to actually do their job, instead of being partisan hacks. Obama is the Outsourcer in Chief.