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Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, originally made the claim Thursday on a conference call.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

    He shoudl stop whining about everything, he and his self entitled wife seem to make a career out of playing the victim. If they are so innocent of everything being said, there tax returns will prove it. They should do what every single Presidential nominee before them has done, release their tax returns.

    July 15, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Tom in San Diego

    Kinda like the "Pot calling the Kettle Black"! Typical Democrat hypocracy.

    July 15, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Franks

    Mitt fears that ad coming up that lets the anti-abortion crowd know how him and Bain made millions off disposing dead babies at abortion mills. Mitt only became anti-abortion when he couldn't profit off it.

    July 15, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. koothoosi

    Romney should reveal his IT returns for the last 12 years, like his father, and prove once and for all, that he has only three foreign bank accounts worth several millions and no more! I do not know of any potentail presidential candidate stash away money that away.

    July 15, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Myths

    The problem with Romney is that, if somehow Bain bought companies that produced tens of thousands of jobs between 1999 and 2002, as sure night becomes day, Romney would insist he made a mistake after all, he was still at Bain until 2002. He always takes whichever position he thinks will put him in the best light, not what are the facts and truth. Romney: The worst, wimpiest, yellow-bellied, lying, nominee for President EVER.

    July 15, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. Mrs. KATZ

    Even republicans are telling the Mitt, the Outsourcer-in-Chief, to stop whining and reveal his tax returns to the American public.

    July 15, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  7. cj1

    Romney has every right to speak out. Obama camp are the whiners.

    July 15, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. jennifer in Houston

    It seems the Democrats learned well how to play dirty pool from the masters themselves.. the Republicans. Romney needs to stop whining because he was either in control of the company or drawing his salary for doing nothing. He's sleazy.

    July 15, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. Bob B

    The GOP can give it, but they can't take it.

    July 15, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. edpeters101

    Hey Mitt, show us your tax returns and prove that even though you told the SEC that you were the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board, you were never paid by Bain Capital. So far all you've said is the you were not involved with the day-to-day management of the company, but nothing about the companies philosophy! You try to take credit for the few jobs that were created after 1999, but not the continued outsourcing, bankruptcies, etc.. How many sides of the issues are you going to be on (3, 4, 5 or more)?!

    July 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Operator

    Funny, Obama and Democrats have been whining about Bush's failed policies and how they have kept them from doing the job they promised and were elected to do. The Bain accusations are a lie, a lie that has been proven by nuetral parties ( and even on CNN. Truth is, some of Obama's own team were managing Bain after Romney was tied up in running the Winter Olympics and Obama accepted campaign contributions from those people. Doesn't look to me like Romeny was whining, looks to me like he was standing up for himself. As an independent, Romney will be getting my vote this time. People really need to investigate candidates outside of the mainstream media and from both parties and come to educated decisions. Neither side is perfect and there's so much work and weeding out in both parties that need to be done, hoping come November we can at least weed out the main one.

    July 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. felix el gato

    Is it fair for Democrats to call Romney on his lies? I think it is fair.

    July 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Rosslaw

    There is nothing so entertaining as when the right pulls out their doilies and smelling salts and declaring that they are about to faint over some imaginary outrage. Mittens personally signed SEC filings stating that he was CEO of Bain through 2002. Now he says those filings were not true and the Obama team is unfairly pointing that out. I think Santorum and Gingrich might have some choice comments on Mittens' flooding the airways with negative adds when they were in the primaries. Mittens has got to grow a set at some time of his life.

    July 15, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Tom

    Willard Romney is unfit for the presidency of the USA. His judgement is bad.

    July 15, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Speaking as a long time dem, I think we were sold a fantasy

    As a long time democrat, after almost 4 yrs of watching and listening to President Obama since I voted for him, I have come to the conclusion that he is a huge dissapointment...I didn't vote for him for this angry partisanship....I just seems to me that he's 180 degrees opposite of the man I voted for and believed in. I can't really see myself voting for Mitt, but, I may just sit this vote out or I may change my mind and see how mitt would do. I reeeeeeally don't like or respect how president Obama has pitted black versus white, rich vs. poor, legal vs. illegal, muslim vs. jew, catholic vs. atheist, men vs. women...etc...etc..etc...

    this has got to stop...his leadership is frankly, angry and divisive.

    July 15, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Jean Sartre

    Yes, Willard should stop whining; will Willard stop whining? NO!

    This wooden-core of a human being made Bain the centerpiece of his campaign, now he needs to defend it.

    I'm just wondering, about all those companies that Bain destroyed, by loading them up with debt and then having them go bankrupt, with their pension plans destroyed, while Bain walked off with millions in profit... the federal government with taxpayer monies had to step in and make the pension plans whole again, so all of America paid to bail out these pension plans... does Willard want to talk about this, perhaps repaying the federal government or the taxpayers for all the money used to fix Bain's greed for profits at any cost?

    Personally, I think Willard will just whin some more...

    July 15, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Eric

    LOL Romney's boat keeps taking water. What happened at Bain? Where are the tax returns? Why do we need to equate money to morals? Romney just trying to gloss over success as justification, but dares not show how he became successful. WOW ARE WE BUYING THAT?

    July 15, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. sandyj

    How about the off-shore accounts?

    July 15, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. DeboG

    Every republican talking point uses disparaging names for our president. Sound to me is that they are really unhappy with the candidate they picked. After all, Mr. Romney, Obama has only done to you what you did to your opponents in the primary. I guess it's time for you and Boehner to take a house by the sea together, get a good tan and have a good cry.

    July 15, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. suze

    Own up to it, explain it best you can, move on. Does anyone on Romney's team seriously think they're going to make it to November with no more explanation concerning Bain, more on Romney's personal finances in general, or Obama's team showing what looks like actually very real and compelling evidence that Romney should never, ever, be seriously considered for the presidency? So far we have tax evasion, undercutting American jobs, chronic flipflopping - not owning up to RomneyCare , seriously? - very poor approval ratings of his job as a governor, and like it or not the whole Mormon thing, and I've undoubtedly missed a number of news items. This is the party that thought Clinton's consensual doings with an intern - something that harmed no one outside his family - was an impeachable offense. The biggest deal that the Republican lunatic fringe can find to glom onto about Obama is made-up concern about his birth certificate. I think the only question at this point is who is actually going to be the Republican presidential candidate.

    July 15, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. batjones

    I thought the purpose of listing the CEO on the SEC documents was to identify who manages the company. Where are the documents from 1999 to 2001 that show that someone else besides Romney was the CEO or Managing Partner? We will not find such a document because Romney was the Managing Partner until he decided to finally retire from Bain Capital after the Salt Lake Olympics. Remember Romney was a full-time head of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee, but on a part-time leave of absence from Bain Capital. What part-time worker do you know that gets full company benefits and pay?

    July 15, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. TazMage

    Posted by Debbie: "Annie S the fact is Cutter didn't tell the truth. This makes her look like a flip flopper for the Obama team. She can't have it both ways put it out there then tell the Romney team to stop talking about it. It doesn't make sense and makes the Obama campaign look dumb."

    Hey Debbie, IF Mitt is telling the TRUTH, tell him to PROVE IT. If he WON'T, he looks GUILTY. And you know the saying..."If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably IS a duck!" If he doesn't want to look and sound like a DUCK, and, consequently, get shot down like a duck, then MAYBE he should just release his tax returns and get over it! Otherwise he risks LOSING this election for the Republicans who, btw, I WAS going to vote for this time around....

    July 15, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. Davis must be kidding. He has the right to do far worse than whining. If Romney had called Obama a crook, you can bet your lucky stars he would be doing far more than whining. Obama camp needs to step up and take responisbility for these lies.

    July 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Mack

    That ain't workin..that's the way you do it...get your money for nothing and your 100k checks for free!

    July 15, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. tttttt

    Your done, Overseas Romney!!!

    July 15, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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