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Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.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

    The Democrats should now respond by asking, "Okay, so you're claiming that CEO, President, and sole Owner of Bain were merely titles for the last 3 years of your Bain relationship, that you weren't really in charge and that you're not to be held responsible. Is that your plan for the Presidency of the United States?

    July 16, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. sortakinda

    Obama beware. If you can't or don't want to control your aides, then you are condoning whatever they say or do. BTW-how would you have liked a headline that read "Obama Aides Out of Control?" You won't see that on CNN, and it would probably lead many to think he had AIDS.

    July 16, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  3. sortakinda

    Obama: "What's the big deal? I'm a felon. You're a felon. They can't try us all."

    July 16, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    It's simple, show the tax returns during that period to prove that Willard had nothing to do with Bain.

    July 16, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. Puddin

    Ed Gillespie put out a good one on "Meet the Press." He said "well, whatever the SEC says Romney's date of departure was, he meant it was "retroactive" to 1999." Tee hee...... you gotta love that one. And as far as revealing more of his tax returns, I think we can pretty well forget about that. My daddy always told me "Hon, watch out for guys like that. They are known as "shiesters." I've said it before, and I'll say it again: that which is being put out by supporters of Romney "is an insult to American citizen's intelligence." It's all so transparent.

    July 16, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. cedar rapids

    "zaggs...... TKO, really? Obama never accused anyone of disagreeing with him due to racism? See if this quote rings a bell: "“We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’’."

    But that quote doesnt accuse anyone of disagreeing with him because of racism, that quote states what he expected the opposition campaign to be like, and you know what? he was right.

    July 16, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. navyvette

    Hmmmm....seems to me whining and complaining is what politicians do best...

    July 16, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  8. freelance

    Stay firm Mitt! we are behind you!!
    – Koch Brothers

    July 16, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  9. Tom

    Stick a fork in him, Willard Romney is done!

    July 16, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  10. Tom

    Ron Paul will be the republican nominee for president.

    July 16, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  11. Dennis

    Yes Romney.quit whinng and quit lying!

    July 16, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. Dump Mitt

    Mitt, Outsourcer-in-Chief, is a bold-faced hypocrite. He excoriated Gingrich in the primary campaign, now he's begging Obama to apologize. Pathetic.

    July 16, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  13. Pete

    when Kerry was getting "swift boated", were the Republicans calling for an end to Chicago politics? how about when Willie Horton became prominent in the news? time to get out of the kitchen, Mitt.

    July 16, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |

    Willard can dish it out but he can't take it. Such a wuss. Not presidential material.

    July 16, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  15. birdman

    Romney was responsible, just like Obama is responsible for the mess we are in..
    Romney went to do another job,
    Obama went to be on vacation 50% of the time just like he did in the senate.
    Nothing like being 50/50
    Money is just a way of keeping, so beg for it and some work for it...
    A beggar is not a producer...but a manipulator...

    July 16, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. Buckeye

    Put on your biig boy pants Romney. No way you're dodging the tax return issue nor the SEC filings. He needs to explain why was he paid over 100,000 in wages from Bain during the time he was retired from Bain.

    July 16, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. CalDude

    Why doesn't Obama run on his record instead of trying to dig up dirt on Romney?

    July 16, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. carmelo

    how about when mitt blasted ginrich with all those adds in the primaries. now he is crying like a little boy when he is getting some of his own medicine

    July 16, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  19. Reemo

    Seems like whenever someone says something bad about the GOP, that person is accused of making "the worst, most offensive, most divisive, most unpatriotic, most fear-mongering, most abusive, and most malicious comments ever in the history of mankind." But when a GOP'er accuses President Obama of a crime by illegally becoming president...nothing wrong with that.

    July 16, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  20. whoCares

    Romney has crook written all over his face.

    July 16, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. larry5

    The media is all wrapped up in how Romney spent his own money when they should be covering how Obama is spending our money. If Obama's re-elected I'm going to have to sell my car, move out of my house and get used to eating beans three times a day. My employer is converting me to a contractor because the health care premiums went through the roof this year and my policy was cancelled. I'm loosing my doctor and my new individual plan costs twice as much and the deductible and copay have gone way up. I lost my vision and dental coverage. Obama's promises appear to reflect the quality of his character. He's at least been consistent. Everything he's said about Obamacare and what it would do for me has been wrong. The truth is that there is nothing in Obamacare that is the least bit concerned with patient care. The Obamacare bill has made Obama the worlds biggest snake oil promoter in the history of mankind.

    July 16, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Retroactive date of departure.
    You're kidding us right?
    The GOP reached a new low in subterrenean depths when they HAD to settle for this caricature as their nominee.

    July 16, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. MikeL

    Stop Whining = Stop defending yourself against false accusations.

    July 16, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    I wish I was able to interview Romney on Friday. It's obvious Mitt Romney wants to play by a different set of rules, his rules. I would have asked him about releasing tax returns. He claims to have "done everything required by law." But, that is not the issue.

    As a *rule* candidates release more than two years of tax return. At least you do if you expect to actually win. I would have posed the following question. "Were you prepared to release tax returns back in 2008? If so, then why can't we see those returns, too?" Hmm?

    July 16, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  25. Tacitus Talks

    All Romney needs to do is challenge Obama – "You say I broke the law? – Indict me" No law was broken, so Obama has to put up or shut up. He won't shut up, because he is not a very intelligent man.

    And as far as outsourcing – CNN – report on the amount of jobs overseas the stimulus package created – about 24 billion of the stimulus went over seas.

    July 16, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
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