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. CP in FL

    Rmoney is a liar that only cares about the 1%. Anyone not making over one million dollars a year that votes for Rmoney is voting against their own best interest. Rmoney should release his tax returns from 2000 and 2001 if he wants to prove that he was not still the owner of Bain Capital. Mittens, I hope you are going to wear your magic underwear on November 6, you are going to need them.

    July 13, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. joeazona

    so..you all know that Romney and Obama are the same..right? Ron Paul is the only REAL game changer here. Just google and watch Dr. Paul's videos. I promise it will clear your mind.

    July 13, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  3. Blobert

    After years of Republicans using loaded words such as communist, socialist, fascist to describe the Obama administration and questioning their "Americanism", they call foul on this???

    July 13, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. Liz

    Why would someone sign a retirement package three years after they left a company?

    July 13, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. Pat

    You can tell by his face, he's running scared.

    July 13, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. Mike

    Oooohhh. "Deceptive and dishonest". You really hit 'em below the belt, Romney. Not.

    July 13, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  7. Malory Archer

    I missed the interview, but the article above doesn't really look much like an "interview" as a defensive whine fest. Did Acosta even ask any questions? What did he ask and what were mittens' replies? For starters, who was running bain from 1999 until 2002 when mittens was the be-all/end-all for the company?

    July 13, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  8. Real Patriot

    Both campaigns prove to be useless, uninformative and an insult to our intelligence...wheres the facts and the ideas that are going to turn this country around, instead of the childish ad hominem attacks on each other?

    July 13, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. airdrummer

    North Korea has YET to dismantle it's intelligence into a quantifiable effort among Latinos. If Romney is ever going to win this election, hes going to need the support of the Lithuanian Government. I can't believe the U.S. Embassy allows turtles. Anybody wanna bet we take the General in the third round and leave McCain swimming in his own sour cream and onion dip?

    July 13, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. George Bush II

    Sooo....he is in a corner now....pretty darn interesting stuff going on .

    July 13, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. bookgirl

    Anyone as rich as Romney is a cheat and a crook. It is so ingrained in them they don't even recognize it. Money is Romney's God. Otherwise, he would be giving his money away like a good Mormon. Oh wait, Mormons are all money grubbers–this I know because I am familiar with their church teachings, which are utterly bizarre. This guy can't become president. He may look good, but he's evil on the inside.

    July 13, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. dolly lanna

    I, an American Citizen, do not feel two years of Romney's tax returns (recent two years) will not tell me enough about his financial dealings. I want to know more about my President's financial actions, especially when he is running on his expertise in this area. If I am to hire him to fix the economy, I want to be sure that he has not done anything against America's best interests, and not just for his own gain. Something is just not right about a real American hiding money over seas so that they don't have to pay all the taxes on millions. I do not want this trait in my President. I want someone who really loves this country and all of it's peoples.

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  13. Kay Citizen

    Do we have another cover-up scandal? Just as Penn State personnel cried that they did no wrong, Romney continues to deny any wrong doing. How sad that so many Washington pols are so corrupt that they believe their own rhetoric and try to cram it down our throats. Time for a change in all members of both the house and the senate! Doesn't mean we still won't have corruption, but at least it will take a while to get where it is today!!

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  14. Blutto

    Romney worked at Bain Capital and they closed businesses and moved many jobs abroad. He can't come clean since he was partially responsible. Now the same guy wants to lead the country. Can he be trusted?

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  15. kman02

    Pot calls kettle.

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. USwatcher

    Vewy vewy intewesting...

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    If Romney lied to the SEC, he's committed felony.

    If he's been lying to the American people again, he's can't be trusted.

    Which is it?

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. gaucho420

    Shove it Mittens. The GOP has spent four years calling Obama a communist, socialist and then went on a rampage insisting he wasn't even born in this country. Those baseless accusations are much more vile and evil than anything the Obama camp has ever done.

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. Marvin (Edmonton, Canada)

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

    With due respect....you are not any better....you are lame and dishonest. You don't have guts to even accept what you have done in the past.....

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. henryvu

    Yes, This is the right way to fight. Obama will taste the bad fruit now.

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. kman02

    This is the pott calling the kettle blackk.

    July 13, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. Mitt Romney_LIAR

    Is this his defense?! What a joke! Just release your returns from the years in question, Mr. Romney. It's not like you haven't done so before? Didn't John McCain ask for these records when he was vetting you for VP? Apparently, he didn't like what he saw and picked Sarah Palin over you! You are too secretive and your dealings are done too much in the shadows for anyone to TRUST you with the Presidency. You are truly unfit for this job. Bain, Swiss bank accounts, outsourcing, etc..etc..etc...

    July 13, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. Cary Castle

    If a person has sole ownership of a company, are they not responsible for the actions of the company?
    I do not doubt that Romney had no "managerial" responsibility, but surely he was acting in the capacity of a director.
    To say he was not is to say he has no problem leads to other serious questions.
    Does he not believe in trust and verify?

    July 13, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  24. WS

    Obama is a subversive Marxist, a pathological narcissist and a shameless liar... easily the worst, most corrupt President since Nixon.

    July 13, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Namej brown

    Ask the president to unseal his college records

    July 13, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
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