Democrats to Romney: 'Stop whining' over felony remark
July 15th, 2012
12:04 PM ET
11 years ago

Democrats to Romney: 'Stop whining' over felony remark

(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Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.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."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Rahm Emanuel
soundoff (517 Responses)
  1. ooshie

    I think most people get that Cutter's comments were an oratorical device and she probably didn't mean that she actually thought he is a felon. The second half, that he was seriously misleading the American people, was the meaning of her words. To be fair, she didn't finish it off by making it that clear as I've suggested. But come on, it doesn't take a rocket scientist.

    July 15, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  2. PTBarnumboy

    Isn't that what spoiled rich boys do?

    July 15, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  3. DanW

    I'm an Obama supporter, but this Cutter person is doing more harm than good.

    July 15, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  4. Sf

    If it was President Obama who didnt sign over the company for three years and claimed on paper that he was still CEO, the right wing nut jobs would be feasting off the presidents carcus! What a joke! If u people fall for the republicans crap again as u did with bush, u have no one to blame but yourselves!

    July 15, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  5. enuff

    I bet Romney was wishing for some hair clippers and old buddies right now to take care of Obama. I guess he may finally be learning that what goes aroud, comes around.

    July 15, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  6. hillcrester

    The comment–quite correct–was that IF Romney provided false info to the SEC he MAY HAVE committed a felony. It is surely curious–the very rich really are different from the rest of us–if Romney was still being described to the SEC as CEO, Board Chairman, and owner of Bain THREE YEARS after he claimed he no longer had anything to do with what Bain was doing. Is this Romneycare's "Enron Defense"? "I was the owner but I didn't know what they were doing"?


    July 15, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  7. Mindiefrom India

    you people are all ridiculous – there's more to life than politics you know. Do you like all this bickering and hatred? My gosh.

    July 15, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  8. yankhadenuf

    Mitt Felony, don't do the whine if you can't do the time

    July 15, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  9. enuff

    The fact of the matter is: if Romney lied to the SEC when he signed, then he is a liar. If Romney was in charge over that time frame, then he has lied to us. Either way, he is a liar and his integrity is seriously in question.

    July 15, 2012 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  10. Romney for Prez

    I can't wait to hear the reaction of all you Obama Kool Aid drinkers that Romney did not lie about his tenure at Bain Cap. the bigger melt down comes the day after the election when the liberal Commie Obama loses and his sugar Daddy George Soros has a heart attack because his "Puppet" lost........Book it....Obama loses...Bye Bye

    July 15, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  11. tonyrains

    Obama and the losers around him will do anything to stay in power. But it's too late. They are gone in November.

    July 15, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  12. badcafe

    Well guess what GOPs, when you thrive on slinging mud at others, you better make sure you can handle some inevitable back-spatter! – after years of calling Obama a Kenyan socialist Muslim unpatriotic terrorist, when the spotlight swings around to Romney's equivocating statements about Bain ... mommy, that guy is being mean!!! People aren't falling for this one... either you're CEO or you ain't ... you can't claim a $100,000 a year salary and list yourself as CEO to SEC, and then on the same breath claim to have absolutely nothing to do with the company. CRegardless of how many excuses and clarifications you and your pals can cook up... legally speaking, you can't have it both ways Mittens.

    July 15, 2012 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  13. dah00

    Ha ha, whine whine, Mr Romney. That won't get you to the White House!

    July 15, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    Instead of whining Romney should do as Cutter says put out the real facts. Based on the slight tweak in what is now being said ( 3 years to finalise the papers) means that even the issue of whether he had any influence declines he benefitted from whatever Bain did and if he was against outsourcing ( I think not) he could as CEO and MD have stopped it. The point is outsourcing was major turn around tool of any venture capital or consulting company.
    Can we also get the real data out in these articles
    1) He was paid all thru 1999 to 2002
    2) the SEC filings carry fiduciary financial and legal responsibilities and obligations which you cannot abdicate from because you are running the Olympics. The buck legally stops with him.
    3) Talk to anyone, and in the Bain hey day they will all tell you how hands on Romney was and that nothing got finally signed without him there and to sign. Saying he had no involvement after 1999 is perhaps the biggest flip flop in his campaign, or character in business.

    July 15, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  15. ryan

    Mitt is like any school yard bully, you punch 'em back hard enough and they sit in the sand and cry.

    July 15, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  16. Mittsadimmwit

    The felony is now retrocative... so don't worry about it. The american people are fully aware of how you change stances and history to make yourself look like the Savior... like when YOU saved the US auto industry with that letter... yeah that was a good one... and the time you passed that healthcare law and now its the worst thing you have ever heard in... plus it is a tax... lucky you were against that... retroactivily.

    July 15, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  17. Dino

    Let me get this straight. You're not allowed to vote if you're a felon but you can run for president? Only in AmercIA!

    July 15, 2012 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  18. indie52

    Why won't Willard Romney show his tax returns, what's he hiding? I smell a Rat.

    July 16, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  19. mariner v

    "Mommy, why are they always saying these bad things about me?" "There just plain untruths." Oh, honey they don't mean it, they're just a bunch of bullies." "You were a bully in highschool, remember sweetheart." "No.........!" Oh, sure you do, rememember when you cut that little kid's hair because you thought it was funny?" " Well, it the same thing." "Sure doesn't seem like it........." Romney is a wimp and a sissy, that's what bullies turn into when they grow up. You mean you're surprised?

    July 16, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  20. Paul

    As Ronald Reagan use to say "Trust but verify". It's your move Mr. Romney!

    July 16, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  21. John N Florida

    at some point Mitt is going to have to reject his Bain Claim, or refute his deposition to the MA board that he gave. In that he said he was a participating partner in Bain as well as on the boards of 3 Bain acquired companies. According to the statement by his lawyer at the time, Romney was handling those jobs concurrent with his Olympics duties.
    The SEC filings are made under Penalty of Perjury and a 1st Degree Misdemeanor. The Deposition to the MA Board was to underpin his MA residency as making hem eligible to run for Governor.
    One or the other is not true. Romney has to explain it or fall on his sword.

    July 16, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  22. Drake

    Is Romney complaining that life is not fair?

    July 16, 2012 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  23. Benjamin

    If it is no insult to say that a dead man is dead, then it is no insult to say dependent on who a man lied to about his work history in a specific situation, he could either be a panderer or a felon.

    It frankly doesn't matter to me whether Romney committed a felony or not. The fact remains that it has been establish that he DID lie about when he left Bain Capital. That is one lie he was caught up in, let someone else figure the specifics. He is still a liar.

    July 16, 2012 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  24. @home

    Regardless of anything Romney says or does there is no way I would ever vote for him.. Plain and simple!

    July 16, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  25. miles

    Let me think out loud for a minute. The Bishop said"I left Bain 2/99 for 3 yrs and it's dy to dy operation, I only acted as an investor would. There was but, one investore at Bain (willard m. romney). SEC filling 5/10/01 a member of the"Management Committee" of Bain Fund and Bain Capital NY 1/02 Romney himself filed Mass state disclosure forms 100% owner. This Fund incoraperated in Del 4/12/99. Bain Capital Investors,LLC Annual Report 2002 12/10/02 article #10 of that report states(the llc does not have a specific date of dissolution) Under the pain and penalties of PERJURY, that to the undersigned's knowledge and belief,the forgoing statements are true. Willard M Romney/Joshua Bekenstien 12/9/02. So I left my self for 3 yrs and only acted as an investor and i'm the only investor, I was not legally responsible for my self during those 3 yrs. But, I signed a doc under threat of perjury in 12/02 saying I was and hadn't dissolved my interest yet with no specific date in mind. Is that PERJURY?

    July 16, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
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