Romney, Obama campaigns tussle over transparency
March 31st, 2012
05:42 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney, Obama campaigns tussle over transparency

(CNN) – Call it a proxy war for their more significant differences: a volley of press releases from the political forces supporting President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

It began with a Thursday report that Romney's former financial firm allowed employees to buy a special type of stock in companies owned by the firm and include that stock in their retirement portfolios.

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Following the report, which was published by the Wall Street Journal, Democrats requested Romney release additional tax documents, which could shed light on some investment deals which Romney might have received. In January, his campaign released tax returns for 2010 and estimates for 2011, the two most recent years available - some 500 pages of documents.

"Today's report raises additional questions about Gov. Romney's manipulation of the tax laws," said Ben LaBolt, an Obama spokesman, on Friday. He questioned if Romney "may have engaged in questionable maneuvers to drive up the value of his IRA.

"Governor Romney could help answer the questions that have been raised by releasing his tax returns beginning with the year he became a corporate buyout specialist," LaBolt continued.

The Romney campaign countered by calling on Obama to release administration documents.

"The Obama campaign is playing politics, just as he's doing in his conduct of foreign policy," Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, told the National Journal in a story published Friday. "Obama should release the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders so the American people can be satisfied that he's not promising to sell out the country's interests after the election is over."

The Romney campaign did not respond to a request from CNN to confirm the statement. Romney has been critical of the president for asking the Russian president for "space" on a missile defense project in a moment caught on an open microphone.

The Democrats responded by saying the Romney campaign request demonstrated "remarkable naiveté about foreign policy."

"For example, does Governor Romney think we should release all the notes and transcripts of the President's conversations with our allies, such as the Israelis and Europeans, tipping our hand to Tehran about every last element of our strategy to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?" Colin Kahl, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under Obama, said in a statement circulated by the DNC and Obama campaign.

"Our friends around the world need to trust that they can speak with the President of the United States in confidence, and that these conversations will not be politicized during an election," he continued.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Ken

    Andrea Saul needs to take her medication. Nice try Team Romney!

    April 1, 2012 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  2. BT

    Given what we've already seen about Romney's returns, it's been obvious that his strategy leaned heavily on manipulating the system in ways that benefit him and hurt employees and other shareholders. It's pretty obvious there's a lot more going on, especially with the revelation that there were special classes of hidden stock that benefitted him and key employees. No wonder he wants that hidden. Every time he reveals more about his financials we find out more about his gaming the system rather than create value. A great example of his defense of the low tax rate for unearned income – he says he was just using the legal system (correct) but doesn't disclose that it was Bain Capital lobbyists that were pushing the changes that benefit him (and got them). If people want to know why they can never seem to get ahead but the CEO royalty class keeps jumping ahead by leaps and bounds look no further than Romney – he's been at the helm of promoting law changes that allow that for years. Now think of what he'll do if President – indeed his tax plan calls for more tax breaks for him and more gutting of everything that benefits the middle class.

    April 1, 2012 05:15 am at 5:15 am |
  3. J.V.Hodgson

    The absurdity and naivety of the claims about what should be " transparent" or not is ridiculous.
    If Romney tax returns are tax evading (illegal) not avoiding (Legal) it is up to the IRS to investigate and no one else. Only when the result of said investigation is proved or lodged in court is any transparency on his tax returns needed.
    Romneys advisors request for all Presidential conversations with allies or otherwise is complete and utter nonsense from a national security point of view. When will this kind of nonsense rhetoric stop, masked as campaigning!!

    April 1, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  4. caeser

    Mitt,you nearly cinched the nomination now isn't the time to remind everyone that they never wanted to vote for you in the first place.

    April 1, 2012 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  5. mary

    The Romney campaign is reaching! ..Reaching for anything to run on. They know they are in trouble and their throwing the spagetti against the wall and hoping something sticks. I feel sorry for the Repubs -because this is all they have. They let the TParty run things and they pandered to them right along–Now they are playing the price in a devided and weak party where no potential canidate of any substance wants to be part of the fray. Might as well throw in Palin and or Trump. The Gop Presidential race has been a complete joke! Their latest attempt to run against the President on foreign policy proves my point. Romney's only foreign policy experience is that he probably has "friends" who own yahts and sail around in the Mediteranian.

    April 1, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |

    Mitt McCain has the teabagger bullseye on his back. Can't wait until the Anybody but Romney convention in Tampa.

    April 1, 2012 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  7. laura

    I still want to know what was on all those computer hard drives Romney had his staff 'purchase' when his term as Governor expired. What is up with that????

    April 1, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |

    Romney represents only, ONLY, the one percent. As for the rest of us, well, he quotes Marie Antoinette a lot: "Can't they eat cake?"

    April 1, 2012 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  9. some guy in New Hampshire

    Does Romney really expect a president to release transcripts of his confidential conversations with world leaders? Any president who would do this would be reckless and foolish beyond description. Iis Romney implying that he'll do this as president? Does Romney really think this would be a positive, responsible action for ANY president to commit?

    April 1, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  10. Steve-Illinois

    "Our friends around the world need to trust that they can speak with the President of the United States in confidence, and that these conversations will not be politicized during an election," he continued.

    I believe it was the President, himself, politicizing foreign policy during an election when he made the comment on the open mic.

    Believe what we tell you, not what you see with your own eyes, or hear with your own ears!

    April 1, 2012 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  11. taylor

    romney found all his money under a rock and was told to go forth and run for president.

    April 1, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  12. diridi

    This Bain-Capital evaded all the Taxes, paid only 13.3%, Shipped jobs to China. No more arguments. Watch him on youtube, type when mitt romney came to town. GM alive, Bin Laden Killed.
    PS: Let Detroit go bankrupt....NY times. by bain-capital.

    April 1, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  13. Capitalism

    How about Obama release all of his records and school transcripts? Let's see how transparent he is willing to be. Total hypocrite. .

    April 1, 2012 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  14. Just Say No to Flipper

    Wow, the Rmoney gang is so desperate they demand the President's foreign policy notes when Rmoney is confronted with his sleazy vampire capitalist tricks. Only in the GOBP's Bizarro World are those two subjects even remotely related.

    April 1, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  15. TM

    If Romney really values transparency he can start by using his real first name on the campaign trail. Unless, of course, he doesn't think voters will support him if he does. So, what's it going to be WILLARD?

    April 1, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  16. Marie MD

    The flip flopper is not just naive he's a clueless robot that was programmed from birth (has anyone asked for his birth certificate becaus his daddy was born in Mexico, wasn't he) that he was going to be president like it or not.
    The fact that he has enough money to build a house with car elevators should tell us that he is too far removed from the little people that he is supposed to govern if were ever elected anything else of importance in the US.

    April 1, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  17. Stephen in VA

    "Release the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders"? That's the silliest call yet. I guess "national security" only means something to the Republicans when it comes to keeping our military bloated.

    April 1, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  18. Rick Sutter

    So, Marie, the first dem birther against Romney! I forgot though that Obama was so experienced when he took office.

    April 1, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  19. diridi

    Obama's Foreign Policy directly reflects "He killed Bin Laden". Do you know? Mommar Gaddaffi...etc,

    April 1, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  20. Joe public1

    Miitt Romney is character assassinating himself but he is too out of touch to realize it. Come on... "Obama should release the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders so the American people can be satisfied that he's not promising to sell out the country's interests after the election is over." get real Mitt. Now you and yours are calling our president a traitor. Venture capitalist success is not sinonimous with political leadership ability. You cannot be a good leader when no one wants to follow you. The left doesn't want Mitt and neither does the right!

    April 1, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  21. caydence

    Romney doesn't have ANY SENSE!!! Why on earth would President Obama want to release ANY notes that he has made concerning foreign policy, foreign governments, foreign affairs, or ANY NOTES that he has made on ANY POLICY OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION????? And Romney thinks he would make a good President???????

    April 1, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  22. ST

    Romney should explained why he tied his dog on top of his car roof rack? Was that a good idea and how good decisions are made? How can people trust him that he will not make bad decisions for the country, as he did to the poor animal!

    April 1, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  23. .

    Liberals blasting Romney for being naive? Are they serious?

    Liberalism is a mental disorder.

    April 1, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. SkyKing

    I'm a Republican and wish I could support one, particularly Romney.
    But the evidence of his performance just doesn't justify support.
    And his constant bashing of the President is pretty much a concession that he has nothing better to show.
    What he puts forth is just the opposite of what the US needs.
    No wonder the Eisenhower family recognize the President as being more like Ike than the current Republican contenders, and support the President for re-election.
    Is there any viable Republicans for Obama group out there?

    April 1, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  25. clarke

    Mitt, there are just some things, you don't talk about. If Mitt were to ever become President, it would be in name only, he really is not a leader or a statesman. He would need a very good team of horses, who would tell him what his next move would be. Unless I have him pegged wrong, I do not think he is very bright. Newt would be a much better fit. I am not a fan of his, but I do believe he is a better leader. The GOP has some real slim pickings.

    April 1, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
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