(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Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.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."
1999 Vs 2001
Not even the man on the street can make the connection between 1999 & 2001 with respect to Romney.
If he totally disconnected himself from Bain Capital in 1999 as he claimed...No one would expect his name to appear as the CEO earning $100,000 on a government filing document for Bain...there's something FISHY going on here, and like the president rightly said, 'Romney has some serious explaining to do' to clarify these muddy waters.
Maybe he commits felony and is liable to be investigated in this matter. Let's see what happens.
Etch-a-sketch responses and tactics may be ok in the corporate world but are not the way to run our nation.
Mitt and GOP talkers, it is simple to solve this problem. Tell the truth and the whole truth. For a change, be concrete and candid in answering questions about your self claimed qualification to run our country. Have you lied to the SEC? Did you keep the titles and the power at Bain? Where you responsible for the company you owned (100%) and its policies and declared fiscal decision making powers to the SEC?
Romney is for the "bAInalization" (outsourcing) of American jobs. He needs to be stopped.
How can anyone take this guy seriously. If elected, he will be a puppet for the extreme right.
when Republicans that support Romney say negative things about the president, like the lady that said he should be tried for TREASON, Mitt's response is "Well I can't help what people think or say" or as for Limbaugh's attack "Well those aren't the words I would have used" BUT if someone from the Obama team, not the president himself says something perhaps off color they have to come out and apologize for it. In other words freedom of speech only works if you're a Republican. Ok NOW I get it.
i agree all the whining should stop Release the information we all want. Start with releasing Obama's transcripts, academic records, selective service application, and Illinois state senate records. Thanks.
WOW!!!! I'm still waiting for the moron-in-chief to say one thing positive. However based on his record I am sure that can never happen. When will the Republicans ever get it that the dems never run on their records-they are too dismal and people don't like worthless failures–so- slam the other guy!!
"Truth: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."
Hit him with what?!? The Rep. been trying for 3 years using every dirty trick they could think of. Never mind helping to fix any of the problems created mostly by failed republican ideas.
Your candidate and party are deeply flawed, and by extension most of your remaining blind followers. The grown-ups have either left or been rooted out of the party and the radicals have taken over.
google mr, and mrs,romney inveiew with boston globe in 11-11 2000. and make up your mine.
If you actually read what Cutter said she makes perfect sense. Either he was still doing business as the head of Bain or he was not. Set the record straight by showing the documents that prove Romney was gone since SEC documents seem to say otherwise
Mr. Romney needs to tell all and to stop blaming others. He is being asked to explain this snafu just as any other person who wishes to hold a position in the White House, the Cabinet, or Congress would be. The "aw shucks" answers will not do.
Well, from the outside looking in, and after listening to both sides, it seems that Romney and his team have been saying lots of nasty, dishonest, greedy lies also. They seem anxious and fearful. Just the fact that Romney is not releasing more tax returns seems suspicious. Is he hiding something? I , as an American want to know. I want to know what kind of person Romney is, Americans want to know in order to vote more responsiblely. We already know what kind of a person Pres. Obama is, we've gotten to know him during these past few years, now it's time we get to know who Romney is. Mr. Romney, please be open and let us, Americans, get to know you before election time. Are you a job outsourcer, are you a job killer, did you hurt many, many people by firing them and sending their jobs to China, India,etc.
Please, Mr. Romney tell us the truth. Release your tax returns. Prove to us that you didn't do what Dems are saying. Thank you,
osama hasn't done one thing in four years worth bragging about e.g. Fast and Furious, 10% unemployment, the trillion dollar 'stimulus, etc.... So when you have nothing to say positive about yourself then slam the other guy. osama is still a worthless non-leader so any tactic short of telling the truth will be worth a try for him.
I guess Romney and his people have forgotten the Republican primaries when they dragged Newt Gingrich through the mud with every dirty trick they could come up with, see how it feels now Mittens?
Here's one for liberals, how about stop lying? Doubtful that you can handle it, but try it for once.
If there is anyone out there who honestly thinks that the Chairman of the board, the sole share holder and owner of Bain had NOTHING to do with the running of the company then I have a bridge to sell you. Of course Spit Romney was involved in Bain, the most important thing in the world to Romney is his money and he would NEVER let other people take full control of HIS COMPANY. No matter how you look at it ROMNEY was running Bain period. He could do it easily with phone calls, he would never let others make important decisions without his say so.
If you don't believe that then you are a fool and deserve to have another fool (Romney) running for president.
Romney is weak, vacillating and a liar.
Well, as an outsider I've listened to both sides, both have been nasty to each other. Mr. Romney however, has to defend himself by releasing his tax returns. We've seem Pres. Obama release his birth certificate after much hounding by the Republicans, now Mr. Romney must do the same. He must release his tax returns. Mr. Romney claims to be a responsible transparent presidential candidate, and we do believe him, however, he must prove he's really truthful. Don't just tell us, show us. Americans want to know you better, Mr. Romney, so please let us see your tax returns. Thank you, Mr. Romney.
What's the problem here? Romney's status as CEO of Bain Capitol is on the filed SEC documents. Who's error was that? They were filed by Bain and given to the SEC. You'd think that Romney and his business associates and all their skills would have seen this BEFORE said papers were filed. Guess what? They didn't and let the papers stand without correction or amendment. All that "business experience" we've been hearing about from Romney seems to overlook a basic principle in business and life. Always double check any written document you are about to sign or agree to. Just think if was a trade agreement or a weapons treaty? And, by the way, Cutter didn't call Romney a "felon". She simply stated a fact that falsifying information on ANY government document can be prosecuted as a felony! .
Oh stop. The Republicans are masters of divisive politics. Look what they did to poor old Kerry with the 'swift boat' garbage... and those were all lies as Kerry was a true war hero. Everything the Democrats are saying against Romney at least appear to be true.
"Romney was still listed as the firm's CEO."
AND 100% owner of its stock.
So obviously he was oblivious to the business practices and it's culture; IF he was NOT committing a felony forging SEC documents. Who cares? His job as a bagger POTUS is to liquidate the national assets as any profitable repo man would.
I feel so sorry for the republicans. Romney is the best that they can do. Now he is being manipulated by he wealthy right rich to do what they say if he wins. How sad. Did I say I feel sorry? NOT!!!!Romney is a clown and should step down.
How do you like getting swift boated, Republicans? That's what you get when you take the genie out of the bottle. Now EVERY tactic is fair game in an election. You made it that way!
Poor little picked-on Mittens.
And his spokesperson Gilliespe said that Mr. Romney "retro-actively retired" from Bain. Please explain how that happens and document with evidence that he refunded his $100,000+ salary. Tax returns would show that to be true or false.
Anotherf possibility is that Mr. Etch-A-Sketch Romney is trying to amend a decade of tax returns. Oh wait a date certain would be on those documents also, Poor Poor Mittens.
The fact is that the SEC papers were filed by Bain Capitol and clearly state Romney's position with the company. I would have thought that as smart in business as Romney claims to be, this "error" would have been corrected or amended long before now. Further, Ms. Cutter didn't call Romney a "felon". She stated a fact that's printed on every government document: ".....that providing false or misleading information can lead to criminal prosecution." (or words to that effect).
There is no bigger political whiney-butt than Mr. Obama, who has moaned and groaned through 3 and a half years in office.
After watching Mr. Romney's explanation as to why his name appears on papers filed at the SEC I am wondering why Bain Capital had no idea their President left the company to run the Olympics. His name was there and whether he wishes to believe it or not that makes him head of the company. He needs to get together with Ed Gillespie to pull together one story.
Romney then goes onto blame the Obama administration. Just show us the document instead of blaming everyone else.