(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Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.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."
Kile: Sources? Obama never called or even suggested anyone who disagrees with him is a racist. Never happened. And can you quote hion his Fox News opinions? I thought not. And the deficit thing? Well, how about the fact that Mitt is whining about how long it took him to sign the papers to turn over his business–three years–and then attacks Obama because its taken three years to start the economic turnaround. If mitt can't sign over his business in less than three years, I'm supposed to believe he will turn the country around in less time than that?
Calling Romney a "a whiner" over lies born in the campaign rooms of Obama schemers really takes the cake. Better just to campain on honest arguments than to see what greater Obama lies Romney should stand up against.
Where does the Republican party find these buffoons? Seriously, they've all been a bunch of weird, whining idiots.
Romney reminds me of a former coworker. We imagined he was the only son in his family and spoiled by his mom and sisters because the guy seriously thought everyone else on the team would do his work for him. If anyone pointed out things that he needed to improve on, the pouting began.
How dare anyone point out that much of what he says makes absolutely no sense. In his little mind, the truth is whatever he wants it to be at that particular moment.
Good for you Stephanie. Don't apologize to Mitt because he committed a felony. It's time the Felon Mitt stops whining, steps down, and lets a REAL alternative to Obama run. Of course scuzzy Rahm doesn't want to press Mitt on his felony because the DNC can only regain One Party control if Mitt stays in.
What "party" wanted to see a birth certificate from 40 plus years ago, but yet won't release any tax returns from two years and more ago?
You can't have it both ways. Either he was the head of Bain or he wasn't. Romney can't seen to understand that very simple concept.
Like a 4-year old, he thinks he can just start calling the other guy names and everyone will lose track of the topic at hand. =>
I would be embarresed should anyonethink I would vote for a republican this year. Until the tea party is out, the republican party is no in contention for my vote. The party of Lincoln is being held hostage. Haveever head the rants they make on AM Radio? Hosts and caller/lesterners alike are mental cases with out any grip on reality.
If you put the issue of Bain Capitol aside, there is still the problem Romney has with trying to explain why Republicans have made it their sole mission to block every attempt to improve the economy just so they can say Obama couln't fix all the damage 8 years of a Bush Republican administration has done. This is the logic of a vulture capitolist, ruin everything, and then try to act like they are going to save the day, while at the same time getting rich of the misery they cause.
Obama can whine and blame with the best of them but can he boast that he has been successful at every "DIFFERNT" challenge/job he has had??? I think NOT!
“I do not know why, given that Mitt Romney knew the day that McCain lost in 2008 that he was going to run for president again, that he didn’t get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest.”
- George Will
Republicans hate when you use their tactics against them.
So you were the CEO of Bain and then left right before they started doing bad stuff you say, but then again you were listed as the CEO and got paid as the CEO for two more years? I wish I had a CEO job where I didn't ever have to show up or do anything for two years and yet still get paid as the CEO. That makes perfect sense.
Can Romney retroactively retire from the Republican nomination before it is too late?
Too late Mittens. BAIN = Bankrupt American Industry Now.
It's all over the web. Toooooooo Laaaaaaate.
He's must be lying about his time at Bain and also must have something to hide regarding his taxes or there wouldn't be a problem with releasing them. How anyone could even consider voting for this spoiled primadona is behond comprehention. Running this country is not like the Olympics. Get a grip people he is hiding something BIG and running scared. Is this who you want decideing what to do in a disaster. If it can't be his way he'll go pout in the corner.
Well, let's see, since the felony remark has proved to be a total fabrication - by even CNN's own John King - perhaps Mitt should stop "whining" and take the next step: suing the DNC for slander and label. Pretty easy to show malicious intent here.
Romney does not want to release his tax records from 1999-2002 because they will show that he was still very active in the decision-making at Bains.
I agree. Stop whining and show us some tax returns already. If you've got nothing to hide -then stop hiding.
Technically, she didn't call him a felon. She said there were only two options – either he was the CEO and is now lying about it, or he was not the CEO and was lying about it then. Romney isn't dumb, no reasonable person should think he would knowingly commit a felony, which leads us to the conclusion that he's simply lying now to avoid an uncomfortable truth. That's not the same as calling him a felon, it's just saying those are his two options – cop to lying or cop to committing a felony and lying.
mitt rommney is a confuse bunch.if he wants dat office then he must learn to be truthfull.Americans cant be fooled by a guy wit a pocket full of money.Dis man will sale America to his rich friends in wallstreet.he is a cunny business man.i prefer to dine wit this devil obama dat i know dan share d same table wit a manipulative Angel.
Obama cannot run on his record
The mere fact that this Romney / Bain situation is open to question makes it bad news for a political campaign and leads to too many unanswered or unasked questions for which straight forward answers are NOT forthcoming!! As a kid, my mom always said "When in doubt...the answer is NO""!! We HAVE NOT HAD AN ACCEPTABLE EXPLANATION OF THIS RELATIONSHIP!!!!!!
Romney better get a tougher skin. This is just the beginning and his past is catching up to him fast. Backtracking, rewinding and denying isn't helping his richie rich image. Let's see his tax returns from 1999 to 2002 and that will prove if he was getting a salary or still involved with Bain. Liars always get caught in their lies.
The Obama administration was supposed to clean up the dirty politics of DC. Instead we have him giving executive privledge cover in withholding documents from Congress and massive negative attack ads early in the re-election campaign. Independent sources and even Democrats have confirmed that Romney was focused solely on the Olympics starting in early 1999. But the negative attack ads continue. Now he and his staff are resorting to name-calling.
Obama is supposed to be the American President and leader of the free world. Doesn't he have anything positive to say about why he should be re-elected?
Romney is hiding so much. Just release the tax forms like the standards set by his Dad, and all this would go away. This man does not want Americans to know who he really is.