Romney camp turns to new message: Obama cronyism
July 16th, 2012
10:37 AM ET
11 years ago

Romney camp turns to new message: Obama cronyism

(CNN) – Mitt Romney's campaign rolled out a new attack on President Barack Obama Monday, hitting the Democrat for making governing decisions that lined the pockets of contributors to his political campaign.

Romney himself hit Obama for what he described as a record of political cronyism in an interview Monday morning, and his campaign followed suit with a conference call and a web video following similar lines of attack.

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"There is no question that when billions upon billions are given by the Obama administration to the businesses and campaign contractors, that is a real problem, particularly at a time when the middle class is really suffering in the country," Romney said on Fox News.

The presumptive GOP nominee continued, saying a record of helping political supporters was particularly galling as millions of Americans face economic uncertainly.

"It is a tough time for America. If you are a campaign contributor to Obama, you stand to get millions in cash from the government. I think it's wrong. I think it stinks to high heaven and I think the administration has to explain how it is they would consider giving money to campaign contributors' businesses," Romney said.

Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Romney, first issued the "crony" line of attack on Obama on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, pointing to a discrepancy between middle class Americans and Obama's donors.

"If you're a political donor to Barack Obama you're going to do fine, because you're going to get a payoff," Gillespie told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "If you're a middle class worker you're in jeopardy. You're facing a layoff. That's the kind of economy we're seeing with President Obama. His buddies do well, political supporters do well, they get green jobs, money, and they get stimulus dollars. If you're a middle class worker, you're struggling right now."

In their attack, Romney's team points to reports that high-level contributors to Obama's 2008 presidential campaigns won spots on advisory boards that distributed government loans to energy companies, as well as a report that a high level donor was put in charge of hiring in the Obama White House.

The Romney campaign's new focus on Obama's record comes after a week of bitter back-and-forth over the Republican's departure from Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded and ran before heading the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Democrats last week seized upon newspaper reports 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.

Romney has also been batting back calls to release additional income tax returns. He says the two years of information he's already disclosed more than fulfill his legal obligation, but Democrats say more returns would answer questions about offshore accounts.

On Saturday, Obama's campaign released a television ad featuring Romney singing "America the Beautiful" while the graphics flash the names of countries where the Obama campaign charges Romney either "shipped jobs," "outsourced," or stored portions of his financial portfolio.

A new video released Monday by Romney's campaign flipped the formula, using a clip of Obama singing the Al Green lyrics "I'm so in love with you" to suggest that Obama only had "Lots Of Love For The Donor Class."

And on a conference call, Gillespie labeled Obama's style of governing "Chicago-style politics."

"People have seen these reports over the course of the past three and a half years, there's been many news accounts of these different examples of President Obama's supporters and friends getting benefits form these political decisions about taxpayers' dollars that have ended up being wasted, but it's not been put in one place for people to kind of see the pattern and to see the underlying approach here, which is essentially Chicago-style politics and Chicago-style economics," Gillespie said.

Obama campaign press secretary Jen Psaki responded to the "crony" charges on Air Force One Monday as Obama flew to an event in Ohio.

"President Obama has set a bar of transparency that Mitt Romney has not met, cannot possibly meet, even on his tippy-toes," Psaki said. "We have released bundlers, we release people regularly who visit the White House. We release far more than Mitt Romney has come close to."

"These are old, tired, haggard attacks," Psaki continued, adding that Romney's campaign is attempting to "change the conversation becaiuse he doesn't want to answer questions about his time at Bain Capital."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. John F

    This ad shows that Obama is the better singer, nothing more. lol

    July 16, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. ghostriter

    GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has hammered President Obama for his administration’s tax-funded investment blunders — but when Romney was governor, the state handed out $4.5 million in loans to two firms run by his campaign donors that have since defaulted, leaving taxpayers holding the bag.

    The two companies — Acusphere and Spherics Inc. — stiffed the state on nearly $2.1 million in loans provided through the state’s Emerging Technology Fund, a $25 million investment program created while Romney was governor in 2003 that benefited 13 local firms.

    Acusphere, a biotechnology firm headed by a Romney campaign donor, got $2 million in 2004 that it was supposed to put toward a $20 million manufacturing facility in Tewksbury, which never became fully operational. Calls to Acusphere’s headquarters in Lexington were not returned…

    Spherics Inc., meanwhile, was lured from Rhode Island to Mans–field with much fanfare from the Romney administration, partly through a $2 million loan in 2005. By 2008, the company laid off all employees and completely shut down. The state received about $300,000 when the company liquidated its assets, but the firm defaulted on more than $1.5 million of the state loan, Abbruzzese said.

    Together, the two companies’ investors and executives donated more than $7,000 to Romney’s past campaigns.

    July 16, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  3. ghostriter

    So.....An Obama contributor gets a loan guarantee from a program started by Bush and was already involved with the program before Obama was elected and that is crony capitalism.

    Romney can create a fund and his contributors get a flat out loan, that is dafaulted on, and that is just good business.

    Republicans, you couldn't have picked a worse cnadidate.

    July 16, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. GL

    Going on Fox News of misinformation is singing to the chior. Only RobMe supporters listen to Fox News of misinformation.

    July 16, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. Khaleeshi

    Right out of the Karl Rove handbook – accuse others of what you are guilty of, say it over and over again, and maybe you'll fool some people. Where are your tax returns? If you don't show them it will be obvious you are hiding something really big – like not paying any taxes, offshoring most of your billions – just like you offshored American jobs. Why does Romney hate America?

    July 16, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. GL

    Nothing Mitt RobMe have to say is going to be heard from the American people if he do not come clean.

    July 16, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Hey, Mittens, got any more of those 100K Bain jobs for doing nothing? 'Call Me, Maybe'?

    IF President O has "cronies" they are NOT in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda or Switzerland!

    All this deflection is not going to take OUR eyes of the fact you are hiding something in your tax returns, especially '99-02

    July 16, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  8. sharon

    Awww come on Romney, if thats the case why are you letting Koch Brothers and any other big corporations buy you out? You're nothing but a sell out to America. Just Man Up and take responsibility for your mistakes and STOP SELLING AMERICA TO CORPORATIONS.

    July 16, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Seriously?

    Two things:

    1. Why would anyone who is a Mormon trot out the old cronyism line of attack? Be careful Romney campaign, do you really want to open up this can of worms? Did we think this one through at all?

    2. Let's talk about Vulture Capitalism, Crony Capitalism, Spencer Zwick, Taggart Romney, and Solamere.

    July 16, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. Thomas

    This coming from a guy who was kisses up to Dick Cheney on a daily basis !

    Right !

    Romney / Rove
    We can do all over again 2012

    July 16, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. safejourney

    Karl Rove would be so proud. but Mitt cant sing. Mitt I am sure you have enough money to get singing lessons
    Oh and where are those tax returns

    July 16, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Sigh. Where are those tax returns Willard?

    July 16, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. Newmoon2

    Cronyism?! Geez, I hope so! I've contributed to the Obama campaign... I'd love to have a job in Washington. Yeah... I'll keep holding my breath on that one! 😉

    July 16, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Grahame Rhodes

    Thrashing around are we? better get another angle this won't fly

    July 16, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Mack

    Romney wants to build a strong middle China & India. Most people in this country won't survive Bush III, although Romney will be fine with his millions hoarded away in offshore accounts.

    July 16, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Keep reaching Robmey because you STILL have nothing.
    Three and a half years of digging a hole for the President by the GOP.
    They've turned around and found THEMSELVES at the bottom of said hole looking up at the President wondering how the hell they're going to get out.
    Throw dirt on them. The GOP is done.
    Obama 2012. Because Romney is just not fit, ethically, physically, intellectually nor morally to be President.

    July 16, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. California Gary

    Really? The campaign that is being bought lock stock and barrel by the Kock brothers is complaining about campaign contributors to Obama being given favors? Really? Are we to believe that the Koch brothers will not be expecting a return on their investment if Romney somehow wins this thing? Do the Romney people think we have "stupid" stamped on our foreheads?

    July 16, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    Obama should demand apology from lying Romney like Romney demands for his attacks-Llike Romney hasn't already promised his multi millionaire friends millions in lower tax rates

    July 16, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Dagnytag

    @ ghostriter, you're wrong and spreading propoganda. Here are the facts: the Bush admin REJECTED the Solyndra loan and flagged them as being too risky, considering them an *unsound investment*. However, the Washington Post showed that The B.O. Admin pressured the Office of Management and Budget to rush the review of the loan ($535 Million) in order for Biden to announce it as part of the stimulus back in '09.

    Your hack job post above on Romney (if even remotely true) amounts to mere millions vs B.O.'s BILLIONS that he's burned. Get a clue. Stop your partisan biased propaganda and try using some objectivity.

    July 16, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. Darryl

    Prophetic words from Newt Gingrich: "We're not going to beat Barack Obama with some guy who has Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island accounts, owns shares of Goldman Sachs while it forecloses on Florida and is himself a stockholder in Freddie Mae and Freddie Mac while he tries to think that the rest of us are too stupid to put the dots together to understand what this is all about." Newt Gingrich, Mt. Dora, Florida, Jan 26, 2012

    July 16, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. tellin it like it is

    it is the chicago/union way. millions of the taxpayers money went to an obama campaign contributer in the solyndra disaster. why do you think obama fast tracked the money to them even when the company was on the verge of bankruptcy? the guy was also making frequent whitehouse visits. i'm sure it was just to chat about the weather and pat the dog.

    July 16, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Doug

    Anyone who has their money docked "offshore" and will not release tax returns while trying to run for POTUS will NOT get my vote!

    July 16, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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