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Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.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

    Romney has some 'splainin' to do. Sure looks like a felony may have been committed, why don't you clear that up for us, Mitt?

    July 15, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Romney can proof Obama is wrong just be a man and show his and (DBA) Bain Capital. The SEC and the IRS are not going to lie for for him this issues will get bigger and bigger all the way to the GOP convention, were I do not think they will support his Whining, his creditworthy will be shot by then.

    July 15, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. georgewashington

    The Republican Party aka The Part of Dirty Tricks ala Nixon has absolutely nothing to complain about. It was they who honed these type of tactics. Throwing out lies and innuendo destroying good people along the way. Lee Attwater and Karl Rove went on to prefect and destroy more opposition along the way.

    Mitt Romney has a lot of baggage which the campaign is finding hard to combat. Romney's plan was to bury that baggage by carpet bombing the air waves with negative campaign ads. The campaign has reached another level, one which is not so easily manipulated merely with money. Running against a sitting president presents challenges which are far different than in a primary.

    Romney has it within his power to make this all go away simply by releasing his tax returns or unleashing his demise from what is contained in those documents. You be the judge as to why he has not released them.

    July 15, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Larry L


    Annie S the fact is Cutter didn't tell the truth.
    No Debby, this is not a "fact" simply because Romney expects people to believe he had no influence on a company when he remained hugely involved. Romney is more than a "flip-flopper". The more appropriate word came out of the mouth of Newt Gingrich – "liar".

    July 15, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. bill

    The uhbama has been whining for the past three years.

    July 15, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. Pander Bear

    Oh Boo Hoo. Mitt has been consistently lying about Obama's record and suddenly cries foul when they point out his. Typical bully – as long as he is attacking he's happy. Punch him in the nose and he sits down and cries. Can you imagine this guy staring down Putin? Please.

    July 15, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. Sorensen

    Cowards and liars always whine. It's their nature. And the whole world is finding out.

    July 15, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. mike

    Romney is such a hypocrite look how her bashed his opponents 8in the primaries. He is in a lot of trouble here and he knows it..this story wont die. This the real world Mr Willard live with it.If the shoe was on the other foot you would be doing exactly the same thing, so yes, stop whining!
    it is very simple there is absolutely no reason not to release his tax returns it will go on and on until he does and continually throw him off message..a very stupid political mistake if as he says he has nothing to hide. In politics perception is very often reality and Romney is being perceived more and more as dishonest and that he is hiding something. Show us and get over with it better now than in Sept or October!

    July 15, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. David

    The FACTS are the FACTS, and Romney doesn't like them. You want Obama to get off your case about Bain? Then make your tax records available and give the Democratic parts something to really blab about. I'm sure if the FACTS be known there are plenty of US tax sheltered accounts out there OFF SHORE that Romney wants nobody to know about. He may be a crook, but at least he is a rich crook.

    July 15, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. mike

    he gave all his tax returns to McCain why not now unless he truly has something to hide!

    July 15, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. chris in CA

    Just because you happen to be a candidate for POTUS doesn't mean you are exempt from the possibility that you may have committed a crime, Dem or Repub. If you want to be the leader of this country and you put yourself out there then you are under the microscope and you know it going in. Don't whine about and call it disgusting or whatever. Prove it wrong. Prove it false. I'm sure there are enough lawyers around you to take care of it. Suck it up and prove it wrong and don't hide behind some false exemption.

    July 15, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. David

    The Facts are the Facts, and Romney doesn't like them. You want Obama to get off your case about Bain? Then make your tax records available and give the Democratic parts something to really blab about. I'm sure if the Facts be known there are plenty of US tax sheltered accounts out there Off Shore that Romney wants nobody to know about. He may be a crook, but at least he is a rich crook.

    July 15, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. Micahel Wheeler

    I love how this is playing out. Obama and his moronic followers have forgotten the first rule of winning a Presidential campaign in a divided country. If you attack your opponent and the facts make you look like you are over-reaching and being a liar – then the independents who swing these elections are going to break the other way. Keep telling lies Obama administration. Keep looking desperate. It's going to be so nice to see those moving trucks pulled up at the White House in January.

    July 15, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Every time Mitt makes a gaffle, he blames it on his campaign managers! Perhaps he will soon come out and blame the REAL CEO of Bain for not removing his name from Bain! Hey Mitt, how does it feel to blame yourself for your Bain gaffle?

    July 15, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  15. Dr Matrix

    All of you righties out there hating on Obama for this have a short or slective memory. There is the Swift boat campaign against John Kerry, a Democrat and decorated war hero and the campaign against Max Cleland in Congress, another Democrat who lost limbs in combat. Both were turned into cowards and con artists by a Republican disinformation machine that set the standard. Don't whine when your own tools are used against you.

    July 15, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. Larry L

    Romney's refusal to come clean on his tax returns clearly shows he's hiding something critical to the campaign. Is it unethical use of tax law? Will it uncover yet another lie told by the World's biggest flip-flopper? Did he skirt the law and doesn't want more scrutiny? Could it be he doesn't want business associates or shareholders to uncover something? What's he hiding?

    July 15, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  17. joe

    Romney is one of the world's biggest hypocrites. He and his cronies are raising tens of millions of dollars specifically to target Obama with negative smear ads, and he thinks he can whine about ads targeting him? Just wait....

    July 15, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. livingston

    I noticed that Romney called it "disgusting" and demanded an apology but he hasn't said that it is a lie. And he hasn't attempted to prove them wrong. Which is it? Were you lying about it to the government or were you lying to the American people? You can't have it both ways.

    July 15, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  19. LiberaLIowan

    If he will not release his tax returns, it sure makes it look like he's hiding something, even if there isn't anything to hide.

    July 15, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  20. Sager

    This is typical of the Democrats.
    When Joe Wilson screamed out YOU LIE, the dems went nuts on him. Joe was COMPLETELY CORRECT, but the time and place was not right to do it, so, LIKE A MAN, he apologized. Humans make mistakes,, well unless your a democrat.
    When a democrat makes a mistake, the actions which follow, remind me much of a 13 year old. They refuse to take responsibility for their actions, nor do they apologize. This 13 year old mentality has shown through the entire obama administration, in their actions with other governments, their new bills/laws, and their constant blaming of BUSH for everything which is wrong in the world since the dawn of time IT IS TIME FOR A CHANGE, YES WE CAN!

    July 15, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. Mary

    The article is right on spot. Mitten needs to get over it. Do you know many years, the birthers have been after Obama's birth? Even after supreme court refused to take the case? Even now, Mitten's buddy Trump is after Obama's birth? There are some right wing idiots still asking for his college credentials. Don't they know Universities, specially the good ones like Harvard will kick out a student if he/she does not maintain the grades.

    July 15, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. jim

    Pot calling the kettle black in my mind

    July 15, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. David

    What is Romney talking about, there is a clear paper path indicating that he was still in charge of Bain during this period. Don't think what he did was a felony, rather he is trying to pull one on the people. He is proven to lack conviction and just say what he thinks will gain him political points so not surprised. I am shocked that he has no answer for this as should have seen it coming from a mile away, also obvious that Obama has bigger dirt on him they are saving for closer to the election – no way they would show their curve ball yet.

    July 15, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Norma Vessels

    All Mr. Romney has to do is release his 2000 and 2001 income tax returns. That's the time in question, after all. That simple act would prove whether he was connected to Bain at that time, or not. The question is, why won't he?

    July 15, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. Milton K. Wiah

    Let Mitt release 10 t0 12 years tax information, all these bain things will go away. But if he refused to do so
    it means he is hiding something that may reveal more about his role in Bain. I never witnessed something like
    before for a man who is seeking the highest office in the land could not release a piece of information that
    is important to everybody, even those on welfare can release tax information.

    July 15, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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