From the Guardian:
Barack Obama‘s campaign team ratcheted up the rhetoric in the White House election battle on Thursday, claiming the Republican contender Mitt Romney may have committed a crime over how he portrayed his involvement with Bain Capital, the company where he made his fortune.
In remarks that took the campaign to a new, uglier phase, Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said Romney had either misrepresented his position to government regulators or had lied to the American people.
Romney has been claiming for a decade that he ceded control of Bain Capital in 1999 to run the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, but Bain filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) list him three years later as the “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president”.
The issue is significant because the Obama campaign claims that after 1999, Bain Capital, an investment vehicle, was involved in lay-offs, bankruptcies and the outsourcing of American jobs to China, Mexico and elsewhere. The remarks are a potent charge in a tight election – Obama and Romney are neck-and-neck in the polls – in which unemployment is the main issue.
Following a report in the Boston Globe that identified the SEC filings, Cutter called on Romney to “come clean” about his role in Bain.
She said that there were two ways to interpret the story: either Romney was “misrepresenting his position at Bain” to the Securities and Exchange Commission “which is a felony” or he is “misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people. If that’s the case, if he was lying to the American people, that’s a real character and trust issue.”
Responding to the Globe report, Romney press secretary Andrea Saul said in a statement: “The article is not accurate. As Bain Capital has said, as governor Romney has said, and as has been confirmed by independent fact checkers multiple times, governor Romney left Bain Capital in February of 1999 to run the Olympics and had no input on investments or management of companies after that point.”
Matt Rhoade, Romney’s campaign manager, called on Obama to apologise. “President Obama’s campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign,” Rhoades said.
“President Obama ought to apologise for the out-of-control behavior of his staff, which demeans the office he holds. Campaigns are supposed to be hard fought, but statements like those made by Stephanie Cutter belittle the process and the candidate on whose behalf she works.”