Romney in 2007:  Protect executive privilege
June 26th, 2012
03:43 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney in 2007: Protect executive privilege

Washington (CNN) - In 2007, when President George W. Bush invoked executive privilege in barring White House aides from testifying before Congress, he had an ally in Mitt Romney.

At the time, Mr. Bush had asserted executive privilege to block former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and other top officials from cooperating with Senate Democrats who were investigating the controversial firings of federal prosecutors.

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Several top Democrats had gone so far as to threaten to jail former White House adviser Karl Rove to compel his testimony in the matter.

During a March 2007 interview with conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, Romney defended Bush's use of executive privilege.

"Do you approve of President Bush's declaration that he will simply refuse these subpoenas that have been sent to Ms. Miers and Karl Rove," Hewitt asked.

"Yeah, he's got a responsibility to protect executive privilege. That's just part of preserving the powers of the presidency," Romney responded in the interview. "He should do what he thinks is the right thing with regards to members of his team but preserve executive privilege."

Republicans accused the President of hypocrisy for invoking executive privilege in the "Fast and Furious" case, pointing to comments candidate Obama made to CNN in 2007.

"There's been a tendency, on the part of this administration, to try to hide behind executive privilege every time there's something a little shaky that's taking place," then Senator Obama told CNN's Larry King.

The House may vote as early as Thursday to cite Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress in the "Fast and Furious" investigation.

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Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. His Nose Knows No Bounds

    Mittler's nose is growing again. I thought there might be at least one issue out there where he has not said one thing and then said exactly the opposite.

    His hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    June 26, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Common Cents

    Obama 2012 – BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    "Bush used it for people and communications with IN THE WHITEHOUSE. Obama is claiming this extends it Eric Holder and the Dept. of Justice."

    You do realize that Bush's evocation of executive privilege in the federal prosecuters case completely contridicts you're statement, right? AG Gonzales testified that the prosecuters fall under the service of the Executive branch in an effort protect Karl Rove from testifying. You can't have it both ways. What's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

    Go back to the drawing board to justify some more faux outrage, troll.

    June 26, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. CBR

    Another change which Mitt Romney has made. Just what does he want and where does he stand on issues? He seems to check to see what political pundits say and then joins in. Is this really a way to convince folks to vote for you?

    June 26, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney's suitcase of "Truth" is getting pretty darn heavy, too heavy to be in denial.

    June 26, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. J,V.Hodgson

    Four and the door. Welcome to politics in the real world ( which you clearly do not live in) of course from a Republican perspective this exercise of executive privilege by Obama is wrong just as Obama criticised Bush, who did it many more times. It's the power not the reason that's the point!!
    I personally think executive privilege is a mistake and that is what should be withdrawn other than in the case of
    Witness protection or federal investigative officer protection from endangerment and items classifed as secret or confidential.
    This is a case of oversight gone mad and serves no national interest purpose following the exercise of Executive privilege. = stop talking about the effect and eliminate the cause if you feel appropriate.
    It then affects both sides of the political spectrum in the same way rather than yours or my biased political leaning ( if any) or that of any President or political party.
    The he said Democrat in 2007, he said Republican in 2009 or whenever debate is stupid, fruitless, and contributes virtually nothing to our national well being in so many many senses.

    June 26, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. patNY

    Note to the republicans....ITS THE ECONOMY STUPID! Who give's a rat's you know what about this fast and furious nonsense.

    June 26, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    Karl Rove picked Mittens because Mittens has proven himself someone who will flip-flop and say and do anything to get elected.

    Rove likes that kind of malleability in a candidate; that much easier to control, ya know.

    June 26, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. Tyrone, Schenectady NY

    Well at least we know Romney @sides keeps it real he was on both sides of the argument again.

    June 26, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    The TRUTH is republicans don't want the president to have or use anything previous presidents have i.e., (Camp David, vacations, golf trips, executive privilege). Does anyone know why?

    June 26, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  10. Sean

    Lets not forget this program was started while Bush was still in charge.... this ones a hold over from the previous President and yet Obama is the one taking the flack for it... What else is new.

    June 26, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Mikey

    Issa has already stated he wants to hold dozens of these hearings on various topics going forward. He has no particular issues yet, he just wants to keep dragging Obama Administration officials into hearings. I guess he wants to utilize his position to pursue political vendettas and doesn't mind wasting a lot of taxpay dollars to do so. This Congress is working half as much as their predecessors and is spending the time they are in DC with witch hunts and politically motivated and useless legislation. Vote the GOTP out of office.

    June 26, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. military vet

    Fast & Furious plan originally started under Bush. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ran a series of "gunwalking" sting operations[2][3] between 2006[4] and 2011.[2][5] This was done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States.[6] "Gunwalking" or "letting guns walk" was a tactic whereby the ATF knowingly allowed thousands of guns to be bought by suspected arms traffickers ("gunrunners") working through straw purchasers on behalf of Mexican drug cartels.[7) Source is Wikipedia.

    So why isn't the Bush adminstartion included?

    June 26, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. SafeJourney

    Romney voted pro gay, pro choice, and invented Obamacare?Romneycare while governor of Massachusetts.....and you conservative just love this guy dont you

    June 26, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. John the Historian

    Romney is being very partisan here. Of course all the secrets one would have if in the unlikely event he gets elected. All the cult masonic stuff going on in the mormon cult. He might have executive orders authorizing polygamist marriages, or oval offices being built in Nauvoo, Illinois, or golden tablets being put on display in the Supreme Court. Romney needs to tell the mormon cult to open up their temples to the general public and not have guards keeping you out.

    June 26, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "The President waited untill the last moment to evoke this to save Holders rear end and possibly his and his administrations as well. "

    Yawn. If it was really so important, then why did Issa's congressional aide offer to drop all of it as long as one of the assistant AGs that was overseeing the program would resign in disgrace? Sounds liek quid pro quo to me...and sounds like Issa knows he's not getting the scalp he's hunting for so he was desperately seeking an alternative path to claiming victory. I repeat: YAWN.

    June 26, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  16. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Say_Nothing -Do_Nothing_Flip_n_Flopper VULTURE CAPITALIST

    GW BUSH used executive privilege to hide classified information about the DEATH OF PAT TILLMAN; a US soldier who fought in the WAR ON TERROR....Pat Tillman's family & friends were denied information that actually led to his death!!!

    GW BUSH used executive privilege to protect Harriet Miers, Karl Rove, Gonzales...etc. TAKE THAT TeaBAGGERS!!!!

    June 26, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. BigTBone

    The Obama team really doesn't need to do much to paint Mittens as a waffling wind sock. Between what Mitt has said himself over the past 10 years and what we've heard during the primaries, the reelection campaign is nothing but quotes and attributes.

    Don't like Mitten's position on an issue? Wait a couple days and it'll change...

    June 26, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    Mittens: "Hi, I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of MA taxpayer money destroying the records of my governorship and the computers on which they resided. Obama is bad for asserting executive privilege. Thank you."

    June 26, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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