Romney camp turns to new message: Obama cronyism
July 16th, 2012
10:37 AM ET
9 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. Dean

    Obama is a lousy president. His record alone should preclude him from remaining in the White House. U.S. voters will not be so gullible this time.

    July 16, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. King

    atleast obama is investing money to folks that are trying to curve the overheating of our planet, you mitten wants to speed up the process by giving oil companies billions of dollars to dig oil Wells in every backyard in america. then cry about disaster money going to help the devastated.

    July 16, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  3. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Uh oh. There goes Willard with his projection again. A revisit to his time in MA will show that way too many of Willard's friends benefitted from him being Governor. It gets better, too. Let's just say that when the MSM gets into Mitty's Olympic behavior, he won't want to talk about that either.

    So by the time September rolls around, the following will have been deemed off limits by team Willard:
    Bain, Governing MA, healthcare, taxes, immigration, and "saving" the Olympics.

    All Willard will campaign on is that he knows how dressage horses work and this President has failed at promoting dressage. He might finally have a point there.
    Show us your taxes Willard, the issue will not be going away

    July 16, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. go

    this should be the last election – corporations are people

    July 16, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |

    Willard, you can't divert attention from yourself. I saw the ad of you singing when I woke up this morning and I couldn't stop laughing. However, your tax evading is not a lauging matter. Show us your papers!

    July 16, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Larry L

    Romney speaks to cronyism? Really? Ever heard of the Koch brothers? Where was the concern for cronyism when Dick Cheney was giving no-bid contracts to Halliburton? This is straight out of the Karl Rove playbook – attack your opponent on exactly the things that make you subject to attack. If you're a liar – say the other guy's a liar. If you are conducting class warfare – accuse the opponent of that activity. Nothing is too ridiculous for it to work on the ultra-right wing because they want to believe every negative thing possible. However, it won't work on true independent voters who actually have a brain.

    July 16, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    Cronyism is known for GOP thugs to ship jobs to CHINA, INDIA, Phillipenes etc. obama12.

    July 16, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Thomas

    Pot calling the kettle black.

    July 16, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. Sandy

    Lame response! Not sure what this ad was supposed to tell me other than Obama can sing. LOL

    July 16, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Sirned

    Is this the Chinese knock off of an Obama ad? Coming from the pioneer of outsourcing it doesn't surprise me to see him stealing other peoples ideas and profiting from them....Geez what a lame and unimaginative response....

    July 16, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  11. Harry From Pa

    Trying to flip not showing your taxes isn't going to work Mitt, best thing to do is show them, what are you hiding? So tell me Mitt Rmoney, how many of YOUR people benefited by laying people off and sending jobs over seas? GOP strategy, change the subject.... But now they have articles when Rmoney was asking for tax transparency, yet he wont show his own, this is what we call a classic case of foot in mouth syndrome.

    July 16, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Randy, San Francisco

    Nice try by Romney but this line of poltical attack won't work, especially as a member of the one percent richest Americans with a net worth of 250 million dollars.

    July 16, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. s

    Ah Mittens is that you got, god lets look at bush, everytime you open your mouth you insert your foot. Bye Bye Mittens

    July 16, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Tom

    Romney's response to GOP calls for transparency on tax forms, sources/locations of income is to lash out in a series of big-money ads reminiscent of the GOP primary: obliterate with carpet bombing by Super PACs....just ask Gingrich, Santorum as Newt particularly knows the strategy well..."there is no communication between our campaign and the Super PACs as that would be illegal". Mitt has "released all that is required by law". That said, Obama is no better as Romney on defense isn't discussing lousy economy, high unemployment, and the "tax" on Obamacare. Does it really matter who wins?

    July 16, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. charles

    Until Mr outsourcer in -chief, the greatest flip flopper, Bishop who lies shows all his tax returns and bring his money home whatever he says is not ' severely retrogressively' important. Period. He should stop copying Obama.Cry baby in chief Romney stop whining.

    July 16, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  16. Cj

    That is true

    July 16, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. feedledum

    Romney shows again he has no class and no imagination. First he complains that Obama's ad is "disgusting" and then he goes on to try an one-up it. The character of a wet paper towel.

    July 16, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Governor 47th in Job Creation (excluding jobs off-shored to China)

    Speaking of the Olympics again. Let's combine two things on Mitt's resume that he sometimes likes to talk about. Being governor in MA and the Olympics; but this time we'll talk about the Special Olympics. While governor of MA, Willard tried to defund monies for the Special Olympics, presumably because they don't feature dressage in the Special Olympics. Also on his chopping block was a program for MS...wait what disease does Ann have? Ooops. She didn't need that program anyway since Willard was making big bucks destroying jobs here and hiding the profits in tax free shelters overseas.

    July 16, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  19. kakaraka

    I do not buy this. Romney needs to release his tax returns.

    July 16, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  20. Floretta

    What's that old saying about "people who live in glass houses....?"

    July 16, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. n

    The Romney machine is on the ropes throwing air punches, in hope that a few may land . . . a desperate attempt to look like he's still in the fight as he try to buy more time, in hope that the bell will soon ring. While Romney is throwing wild punches, accusing Obama of cronyism when Romney is getting ready to pucker up and bend over for the likes of the Koch brothers, he is leaving himself wide open for the Obama knock out punch!

    July 16, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. B.

    Fishing around trying to find anything that will stick and it won’t because it is about him and his credibility.

    July 16, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. GI Joe

    "Capital Cronyism" is the name of Romney's game. He'll give them deregulation (dirty water, filthy air), NO tAXES, minimum wage workers with no benefits. You name it - he'll let them ruin this country beyond belief.

    Not to mention money-making wars in Iran, N. Korea, Syria, -- where else? Who knows.

    OUR kids will be killed, not the wealthy ones.

    July 16, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. cali ha ha

    Robbed Mr would turn bain into another halburton. Everyone knows this.

    July 16, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. CanadaONE

    Repeatedly shown on Canadian news channels – very effective!!!

    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.

    July 16, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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