The Obama campaign on Sunday said it would not apologize to Mitt Romney for remarks made suggesting he may have committed a felony.
“He’s not going to get an apology,” said Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter , who made the controversial comments, during an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday.
Cutter said Romney should “stop whining” about the attacks from the Obama campaign which have targeted him over his work at private equity firm Bain Capital and his offshore financial holdings.
Romney called for the president to apologize to him on Friday after Cutter suggested that the former Massachusetts governor might have committed a crime by misrepresenting his tenure at Bain to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Romney says he left the private equity firm in 1999, but filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) suggest he had a role beyond that date.
The Obama campaign has focused intensely this week on attacking the discrepancy, with Cutter telling reporters on a Thursday conference call that, "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.”
The campaign is hitting Romney to clarify when he left Bain, as they seek to tie him to companies owned by Bain which laid off workers after 1999. Democrats have also jumped on a report in Vanity Fair detailing Romney’s foreign banking accounts and calling on him to release additional tax returns.
Romney’s senior campaign advisor Kevin Madden, appearing beside Cutter on CBS, said his boss had gone “above and beyond” the legal requirement for turning over his tax records. Madden balked at Cutter’s attacks, saying it was “very troubling” that the Obama campaign would label the GOP presidential candidate a felon.
Cutter fired back, saying the point she was attempting to make centered on whether Romney was telling voters the truth about his time at Bain Capital and not whether he had committed a criminal action.
If Romney was still acting as the head of the company beyond 1999, Cutter questioned what role he played in Bain’s outsourcing of American jobs to foreign countries during that time.
“No one is suggesting Mitt Romney isn’t following the law, that’s not what this discussion is about,” said Cutter. “This discussion is about transparency and showing the American people what your perspective is and what judgments you’re going to make as president.”
“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,” she said. “Those two things both can’t be true. Either you’re in charge or you’re not.”
Romney campaign has called the Obama attacks an attempt to distract voters from the president’s own economic record, which took a hit after two weak jobs reports.