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. paulcat

    I know this isn't a republican using the word "CRONYISM"

    July 16, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. Re

    Romney loves accusing Obama of the things he himself is guilty of. Political cronyism? From the man who gets millions of dollars from the Koch brothers? What do people think those two are giving Romney money for? Looking pretty?

    July 16, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. TomNPitt

    So much for Obama's lying!! There's lots of accusations in here, but no sources are referenced (...seen these reports...; many news accounts...).
    Would cronyism also be employing everyone from the George Bush and Dick Chaney Presidency?? If you're saying you've got something new for us to try; bringing all the old people who got us this screwed up in the first place is not the way to go – unless you're going to be doing the same thing!! That's both nepotism AND cronyism!!

    July 16, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. kakaraka

    Cronysm? Sounds like Romnney is the one. Borrow money at Bain capital, buy companies, ship jobs and production overseas, lay off, fire workers, close plants, file for bankrupcity, get away with millions of dollars. Yeah. this practice sounds like cronysm to me. Obama is not.

    July 16, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. rosaadriana

    Oh please, the GOP perfected cronyism. Kettle meet pot.

    July 16, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. 4merRepubCT

    Romney-style politics: change mind with changing breeze – lie, lie, lie whenever possible – refuse to take responsibility for actions taken by company you owned.

    July 16, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. incredulous

    This from the guy who cozied up to Donald Trump and more recently Dick Cheney? Romney really has lost what's left of his tiny little mind hasn't he?

    July 16, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Typical Rovian politics!

    July 16, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. GonzoinHouston

    I don't think it's gonna work. There is a grain of truth in that yes, political donors and cronies do get favorable treatment. It would be nice if it never happened, but them's the breaks. The problem is that this is a bi-partisan problem, and the GOP has just as many cases of such cronyism, if not more. Can you say, "Halliburton"?

    But what matters is what resonates with the voters, and I doubt this will.

    July 16, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  10. Al-NY,NY

    deflect deflect there Flip. And surely YOU never did any "cronyism" when YOU were governer did you??? Also, why do you think Addelson, the Koch Brothers, and the others are pouring unprecedentetd $ into your campaign?? For the good of the country? You are more gullible than I thought

    July 16, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Wes B.

    Here is a telling line from the article: "Romney said on Fox News."

    Romney will send his crew onto other networks, but he's hiding from the non-FoxNews networks. Someone should tell him this strategy doesn't work. Eventually, he has to come out of hiding and show himself. If he is confident in himself, in his platforms, and his abilities, then he has nothing to fear.

    What's the worst thing that could happen-someone ask him what newspapers he reads?

    July 16, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  12. Jesus Christ Superstar

    Romney's got some major stones to accuse Obama of making decisions that line contributors pockets. Because we all know the millionaires and billionaires who contribute to Romney's campaign really do want to make the world a better place

    July 16, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. rs

    Pretty funny stuff from the man whose campaign is almost completely populated by the dregs of the Busg Administration, and that "pals around" with the likes of Mr. Cheney.

    July 16, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. Doug

    Romney is vacuous and offers nothing but criticism. Under Obama, bin Laden is dead, GM is alive and pre-existing condition loophole is closed.

    July 16, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. Core republican Values

    "Cronyism?" Seriously?

    This must be part of Romney's peaking for the London Olympics where he is favored to win the gold medal in the "Freestyle Hypocrisy Medley Relay."

    July 16, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Whammybar

    Really sad, they do all this when the could be addressing the countries problems. Millions in ads do not put middle America back to work. It does not bring manufacturing back to the U.S.. Realy sad by both of them. By the way, where's the Green party or the Libertarian party at in all of this?

    July 16, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. Logic N LA

    Another battle Romney will lose. his donations are made up of maximum contributions from millionaires- Obama frm small donations from the middle class. So let Obama help his donors all he wants.

    July 16, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. reaperfearer

    That's a pretty weak argument, considering Romney out-raises President Obama at every turn. Romney may lose the nomination if he can't come out with something strong.

    July 16, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  19. GI Joe

    I guess that's why Romney is all for deregulating Wall Street, and health and safety for Coal Miners, Oil Workers, etc. He would also pollute our national parks - even the Virgina coast would be be opened for drilling. Wouldn't those beaches smell really good then?

    Let the car companys go Bankrupt. I like to fire people. I took a leave of absence after I started the destruction of jobs but before the pink slips were handed out. Same old republican crap Karl Rove, Dick Armey, the Koch Brothers and that Chinese Mafia associated Vegas Casino owner have preached for years. NO MORE.

    July 16, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  20. Amazing

    And he won't line the pockets of the Koch brothers, Adelson, Trump etc. Pretty weak retort from Mitt!

    July 16, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. Greg C

    Ask Obama about Tony Resko

    July 16, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. emma

    What gets in the way of Romney leveling about how he plans to cut taxes for the wealthy and decrease the deficit? And how he will deal with corporations and their lobbyists buying Congress? And why is he dancing around issues of secrecy about his outsourcing, Bain involvement etc.?

    July 16, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. Dee

    I can't believe what I am hearing cronyism coming from Romney who is it that's pouring all this money into his campaign billionaires and they certainly expect something for their money. He needs to get another talking point because this one does not work.

    July 16, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Romney can't talk. He's getting donations from billionaires while running on a tax plan to reduce their taxes significantly and raises rates on the poor.

    July 16, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Let's end the Bain work the way Mitt currently says he did, which contradicts what he asserted while running for Gov. of MA, BTW. Given that Romney left Bain in 1999, he was still paid by Bain. Not only did Romney profit handsomely from Bain during the period of outsourcing, he still does. Furthermore, not only did Romney profit from the outsourcing he did nothing to stop it. I guess he was too busy counting his "entitlements" from Bain.

    July 16, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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