On Sunday, the campaign for Mitt Romney said that President Barack Obama will say anything to be elected to a second term in the White House and that he should apologize for his attacks on the successful career of Romney at a private equity firm. “No, we will not apologize,” the president responded. Obama also said that if Romney wants credit for his success he should also take responsibility.
Romney has been asked hundreds of questions about his time at Bain Capital, based in Boston. He claimed he left the company in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympic Games but documents say he was in charge at Bain Capital until 2001. Ed Gillespie, the adviser for Romney, said, “He actually retired retroactively at that point. He ended up not going back to the firm after his time in Salt Lake City. So he was actually retired from Bain.”
Kevin Madden, another adviser, said that Romney had to leave his name on documents for the Securities and Exchange Commission because he was trying to have the company’s leadership transferred to partners.
“The reason that there is a document that had … his signature is because, during that transition from 1999 to 2002 … there was a duty to sign those documents,” Madden said.
The role handled by Romney from 1999 to 2001 at Bain Capital is very important because Bain was reportedly sending jobs overseas during those years. Obama has said multiple times that Romney needs to clarify this time frame.
“Mr. Romney claims he’s Mr. Fix-It for the economy because of his business experience, so I think voters entirely legitimately want to know what is exactly his business experience,” Obama said. “Mr. Romney is now claiming he wasn’t there at the time except his filings with the SEC listing says he was the CEO, chairman and president of the company.”
Advisers for Obama also said that the story being told by Romney will not be bought by voters.
“Either you’re the CEO, president, chairman of the board of Bain Capital as you attest to the SEC or he’s telling the American people he bears no responsibility for that,” deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said. “Both those things can’t be true. Either you’re in charge or you’re not. Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, why don’t you just put the facts out there and let people decide instead of trying to hide them?”
The documents in question show that Romney was in charge at Bain from 1999 to 2001. During this time, the company outsourced jobs and caused other companies to fall into bankruptcy. Romney has tried to say he was not with Bain during this time on financial disclosure forms. Three times since then, the company has listed Romney as its ‘controlling person’ and as its ‘sole shareholder, sole director, chief executive officer and president.’ One of the documents from Bain, dated February of 2001, listed the ‘principal occupation’ of Romney as Bain’s managing director.
“He’s very willing to take credit for everything good that he thinks happened after that point that Bain Capital was involved in, but he’s not willing to take responsibility for this,” Obama strategist David Axelrod said.
Kelly Ayotte, a Republican Senator from New Hampshire, said, “With these attacks, it shows that he’s just a small politician and running on small-ball politics at a time when our country is facing grave, grave challenges. We now know this president will say or do anything to keep the highest office in the land – even if it means demeaning the highest office in the land.”