July 13th, 2012
06:02 PM ET
10 years ago

Acosta interview: Romney's spirited Bain rebuttal

(CNN) - Following a week of some of the sharpest attacks yet on his management of the financial firm Bain Capital, Mitt Romney offered a vocal defense Friday of his tenure there and strongly disputed reports he left the firm years later than he has previously said.

"There's nothing wrong with being associated with Bain Capital, of course," Romney said in an interview with CNN's Jim Acosta. "But the truth is that I left any role at Bain Capital in February of 1999."

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The Democratic criticisms, combined with a series of recent news articles looking into what is and isn't known of Romney's complicated financial portfolio, are simply "an effort on the part of the president's campaign to divert attention from the fact that the president has been a failure when it comes to reigniting the American economy," Romney said of President Barack Obama.

Romney stopped short of saying Obama's campaign was lying in recent ads hitting at his Bain tenure. Democrats have charged that Bain - under Romney and after - profited when companies owned by Bain closed and when jobs were outsourced overseas.

Obama's campaign, he said, is "putting out information which is false and deceptive and dishonest" in their advertisements.

Related: Why is 1999 so important to 2012?

Financial documents filed with the Security and Exchange Commission, including some obtained and reviewed by CNN, list Romney in various capacities with Bain after what Romney has repeatedly said was his February 1999 departure from the firm. That month, he took the reins of the Salt Lake City Olympic games and "relinquished all management authority and role in Bain Capital," he said in the interview.

Democrats, however, have pointed to the fact that his name appears on Bain Capital financial documents until 2002 as evidence Romney did not actually leave the firm. In 2002, Romney signed a retirement package with the firm and was no longer an owner of the company.

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter charged in a conference call with reporters this week that Romney "through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony," or was otherwise "misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments."

Presented with Cutter's felony suggestion, Romney asked if that is "really what's expected from the campaign of the sitting president of the United States?"

"Is this the level that the Obama campaign is willing to stoop to? Is this up to the standards expected of the presidency of the United States?" he asked. "It's disgusting, it's demeaning it's something which I think the president should take responsibility for and stop."

In the interview, Romney also lent greater clarity to his intentions surrounding release of his tax returns. In January, Romney released his 2010 return and an estimate of his 2011 tax year liability.

Related: Romney team defiant in response to Bain attack

"The law requires us to put out a full financial disclosure and that I've done," he said, adding that the most recent year will be released "as soon as the accountants have that ready.

"And that's what we're going to put out," he said. "People always want to get more and we're putting out what is required plus more that is not required. And those are the two years that people are going to have and that's all that's necessary for people to understand something about my finances."

Also see:

Reid: Romney couldn't be confirmed as dog catcher

McDonnell furiously defends Romney from Obama salvo

Biden to Romney: 'Show your papers'

RNC backing Romney with $5 million ad buy

Barbour: If in Romney’s position, I would release tax docs

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Bain Capital • Mitt Romney • Taxes • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. ruff

    Another non-denial denial from Romney. He didn't deny he was the head of Bain during the years in question, he only pivoted to negative Obama comments.

    Romney has been elusive, secretive, dishonest. Is this the behavior we want in a president?

    July 13, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. Don Healy

    Watched the interview on Wolf Blitzer's program and was very frustrated because Gov. Romney evaded each and every question and Mr.. Acosta did not press him to actually answer the posed question. Why can't there be follow-ups to get the answers. Especiallly upset by his avoidance of the question about Bain when all his response was was a complaint that the President's team called him guilty of a felony, not explaining his Bain roll in the 2000-2002 timeframe.

    July 13, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    They are both deceiving each other. both calling each other liars. Plain and simple.

    July 13, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. Brian Yorke

    Spirited? More like pathetic.

    July 13, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. jim

    Nice try Romney.

    July 13, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  6. inewt

    Mitt's expression is that of the guilty child who is standing most indignantly behind his lie with a feigned moral outrage at the wrong that is being done him.

    July 13, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. Rick

    OMG Romney calling Obama what he has been for years. Now that is the worst politics.

    July 13, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. liar liar

    This guy is too much.. lmao.. I surely wish you GOP fools put this fool in office.. The country gonna Sink fast... in 1 year we will be at war...

    July 13, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. Maggie

    I think they both need to grow up and quit bashing each other and tell us not what we want to hear but what they are really going to do. At this point, I'm sick to death of the whole campaign. They both make me sick.

    July 13, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  10. CoJo

    Romney's group wants Obama to apologies for supporter's comments? If I remember correctly, the other republican candidates asked that of Romney during the republican debates. Didn't he state he has no control of his support's comments?

    Also Romney's group accuses Obama for outsourcing jobs? I didn't realize that Obama has influence on how businesses run their companies? In fact, is it not a fact that GOP does not want government to tell businesses to not tell them how to run companies? Therefore businesses outsource on their own accord. They have been doing this long before Obama took office. So Romney's group ought to come out of the closet and admit government (GOP administration too) has been outsourcing jobs for a long time, or they should apologies to Romney

    July 13, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  11. Mitzi Eckert

    This was a terrible interview. Why didn't you ask him what he was hiding? All you did was give him free airtime. I'm very disappointed with your very unprofessional, softball performance.

    July 13, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. Big D

    What a hyprocryte. What kind of campaign did he run in the primaries along with his super pacs. Why won't he release more of his taxes? Did he or did he not say he left Bain in 1999 but claimed credit for jobs allegedly created by Bain after 1999 and what does the SEC paper say????? I find what he did at the NAACP convention and what he said about it afterward totally disgusting.

    July 13, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  13. FOfa

    Mitt Romney is the perfect example of what is wrong with America! Greedy , deceitful, power hungry .

    July 13, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. erich2112x

    Tricky Mitt. Shame on you, Mr.

    July 13, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. Sirned

    The only one being deceptive is a man claiming to have no ties to a company that he is getting over 100 thousand dollar a year salary, is the chairman of the board, is sole proprieter, and signed his name to these facts...And by the way Mitt how much over 100 thousand dollars did you pay your self for doing nothing?

    July 13, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. Jennifer Angoy

    Mr Romney
    answer the question. Why was your name on the tax filings for Bain?
    I do not want to hear your wining about President Obama.
    Money does not make you smarter than us middle class Americans.
    Stop insulting our intelligence.
    Hiding your money in Switzerland and the Caribben is called Tax evation. So you want to be the leader of the great country and not pay taxes.
    Yeah wait for my independent vote.

    July 13, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Patriot

    "Is this the level that the Obama campaign is willing to stoop to?
    Gee Mitt that's like the pot calling the kettle black.

    July 13, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. John V

    3 years in a Obama can't run on anything he'd done positive? He has to throw crap against the wall hoping something sticks? That should tell you enough right there.

    July 13, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. orion7x

    Always pointing at other and accusing what you do yourselves...

    July 13, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. TBS

    Why doesn't Willard release his tax returns from 1999 onward. Doing this should clear up any doubt as to whether or not he was still being paid after he supposedly left Bain Capital!

    July 13, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  21. acutabove

    Obama has been lying all along. So what else is new. He was only elected so his voters could feel good about themselves anyway and definitly not on his record then (which was non-existent) nor can he run on his record now (which even Obama says disqualifies himself from being considered). So he must continue being the most devisive president ever and running the most negative campaign ever, contrary once again to his promises.

    July 13, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. v.l.

    Who cares what mittens has to say.

    July 13, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. DaveF

    Ah yes, the old "trot the CEO out and deny everything while not answering the question" strategy. Worked well for Lehman Brothers....

    July 13, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  24. Clear and Present Thinker

    Romney speaking on any subject is not "breaking news." By the time he gets around to saying anything, it is old news by several days.

    July 13, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. Grant C

    ""There's nothing wrong with being associated with Bain Capital, of course," Romney said in an interview with CNN's Jim Acosta. "But the truth is that I left any role at Bain Capital in February of 1999."

    ...and that's why his signature is still on SEC filings for Bain deals right through 2001 Not "his name is listed"... HIS SIGNATURE IS ON THEM.... and why he testified in 2002 UNDER OATH that throughout the previous years he had been regularly attending board meetings at companies that were Bain holdings...

    Oh wait, those mean the opposite of what he just said. Did Acosta bother pointing this out or was this the usual act of head nodding stenography we have come to expect from the press?

    July 13, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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