Fight over Romney and Bain getting ugly

Friday , July 13, 2012 - 4:34 PM

Rachel Weiner

Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, is calling on President Obama to apologize for his staff for "a reckless and unsubstantiated charge .. so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign."

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, along with Obama campaign lawyer Bob Bauer, argued Thursday that Romney may have lied to the Securities and Exchange Commission about leaving Bain in early 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Their accusations were based on a Boston Globe article reporting that SEC filings show Romney controlled Bain through 2002. The date is important because Romney argues that he isn’t responsible for outsourcing, job losses and bad deals that Bain had a hand in after 1999 - he was busy running the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Cutter told reporters that Romney was either "misrepresenting his own position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people."

Bauer added that if Romney "was not the controlling person that is described in the filings, that means that these statements are false and . . . there are very, very serious legal consequences that would follow."

Cutter had a message aimed directly at Romney: "If the SEC filings aren’t accurate, prove it. ... Prove it by releasing your tax returns."

Rhoades wrote: "President Obama ought to apologize 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."

The aggressive statement goes along with a newly combative Romney campaign; earlier in the day the candidate released an ad calling Obama a liar.

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