Obama allies tell Romney to 'quit whining' about Bain attacks

Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:12pm IST

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By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) - Mitt Romney should "stop whining" about attacks on his business record that have knocked the Republican presidential candidate on his heels over the past week, aides and allies of President Barack Obama said on Sunday.

Obama officials said they would not apologize for suggesting that Romney may have broken the law by misrepresenting his position at private-equity firm Bain Capital, part of a relentless assault on the former executive's business career and personal wealth that appears to have hurt him in the polls.

"Stop whining," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Obama's former chief of staff, said on ABC's "This Week" program. "If you want to claim Bain Capital as your calling card to the White House, then defend what happened at Bain Capital."

Romney allies said the attacks were an attempt to distract voters' attention from the fact that Obama has failed to counter high unemployment and sluggish economic growth during his three and a half years in the White House.

"The president can talk all he want about this, but it's the economy and jobs that are going to address this election," Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, seen as a possible vice presidential running mate for Romney, said on ABC's "This Week" program.

Obama said he understood why Romney was trying to make the Nov. 6 election a referendum on the incumbent's economic record.

"You don't hear me complaining about him making that argument, because if I was in his shoes I'd be making the same argument," Obama said on "CBS This Morning."

The Romney campaign released a new television ad relying on footage of journalists talking about how Obama's negative tactics this year contrasted sharply with the message of hope and change he campaigned on four years ago.

"This is not the candidate of hope and change, this is a candidate who is hoping to change the subject," Republican Representative Paul Ryan, another possible vice presidential candidate, said on CBS's "Face the Nation."


Romney has argued that the economic expertise he developed as an investor, manager and consultant make him a better choice than Obama to kick-start an economy that has been slow to recover from the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

But Romney's record at Bain is also shaping up to be something of a liability. Democrats have highlighted companies that went bankrupt or shipped jobs overseas under Bain's ownership to argue that Romney is only concerned with helping his fellow millionaires, not working people.

Some polls found that Romney's negative ratings in battleground states rose in June, after Obama and Democratic groups launched their attacks on the former Massachusetts governor.

Romney's campaign has said he should not be held responsible for many of those decisions because they occurred after he left Bain in February 1999 to oversee the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

But Romney continued to claim in regulatory filings that he was still in charge of Bain through 2002, according to documents that have surfaced over the past week. Bain and Romney officials say it took several years to sort out the terms of his departure but that he was not involved with the company's day-to-day operations during that time.

"He actually retired retroactively at that point. He ended up not going back to the firm after his time in Salt Lake City," Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program.

Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter suggested last week that Romney could have committed a felony if he signed forms saying he was in charge of Bain when he was not -- which prompted Romney to demand an apology.

"He's not going to get an apology," Cutter said on "Face the Nation."

Cutter and other Democrats have also criticized Romney for setting up bank accounts in offshore tax havens and refusing to release more information about a personal fortune that is worth as much as $250 million.

"Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, why don't you just put the facts out there and let people decide rather than trying to hide them?" Cutter said.

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Comments (6)
SRLevine wrote:
If Romney is going to use his experience at Bain in order to convince us that he can right the economy and create jobs, then he has to answer for his time at Bain. This issue isn’t going away. It’s a matter of character.

Jul 15, 2012 12:09am IST  --  Report as abuse
SRSwain wrote:
Look: They are both failing the test of the underlying requirement to be elected president. Obama fails because he refuses to lead from a position of vision. He just whines and equivocates and blames everything on “W” and the bozos in the Republican-controlled House, who are dolts. The MItt-Unit fails because he has no vision to offer, being stuck forever in Leave It To Beaver-landia. Meanwhile, the deficit gets deeper and deeper, the legislative branch gets more and more obstructionistic and irrelevant, and the country is going right down the tubes. They are both a disaster. As the song writer wrote: “Any way you look at it, you lose.”

If we had a grain of common sense between us all we would say: “They’re just politicians, whores to their ambition, who will say and do anything to sit in the Oval Office.” A pox on the lot of them. We’d be better off being led by moles or lemmings. At least they can’t help their inability to choose a better course.

Jul 15, 2012 12:32am IST  --  Report as abuse
bondi777 wrote:
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich hinted to us about Romney’s integrity during the 2012 primaries but nobody paid him attention. Recently, one Republican woman asked the current Republican House speaker, John Boehner, at a Romney fund raising event in West Virginia on how he can make her love Mitt Romney. Speaker Boehner basically said it needs the act of God for it to happen. Then he added that many Republicans would go to the polls in November to get rid of Obama but only the Romney’s co-religionists and the folks he has invited to his for dinner would go to the polls to vote for him. Romney can enjoy the support of my Governor Bob Jindal but not mine. He is the most dishonest candidate. It is a shame on how we conservatives have allowed Mitt to progress this far through smoke and mirrors. In describing Mitt Romney, the former NY Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani said “This is a man without a core, a man without substance, a man that will say anything to become president of the United States.” It is a shame that our political machinery has allowed him to go much this far without close scrutiny. We urgently need the “Real Deal” Rick Santorum to rescue our Party in the November 2012 Presidential Election.

Jul 15, 2012 12:32am IST  --  Report as abuse
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