Mitt Romney stuck to his guns in interviews with the major networks, this afternoon.
“I had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after 1999,” Romney told CNN.
Romney went on an major offensive today granting interviews to CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox News. The Republican presidential candidate has been on the defensive since The Boston Globe reported on Thursday that documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed Romney was listed as the sole owner of Bain three years after he said he left the company.
Those three years — 2000, 2001 and 2002 — have come into focus because as the Globe put it Romney “has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date.”
The Obama campaign has tried to define Romney as a pioneer in outsourcing American jobs. Obama’s campaign manager Stephanie Cutter posited during a conference call on Thursday that Romney’s “misrepresentations” could constitute a felony.
In his interview with CBS, Romney repeated his criticism of President Obama’s campaign.
“What kind of president would have a campaign that says something like that about the nominee of another party?” Romney told CBS. “This is reckless and absurd on his part, and it’s something that’s beneath his dignity. I hope he recognizes that even fellow Democrats have said that.
“Look – the president needs to talk about the direction he’d take the country, and stop these kinds of ads and attacks that are so disparate from what the American people want to talk about,” Romney said, adding that Obama “has demeaned the leadership which he should be bringing to this country.”
President Obama did not back down from his campaign’s position. In an interview he gave WJLA — portions of which were released by the White House — Obama said that ultimately when Romney was listed as CEO in the SEC documents, he was responsible for whatever happened at the company.
The president told the local Washington, D.C. station:
“Well, here’s what I know, we were just talking about responsibility and as president of the United States, it’s pretty clear to me that I’m responsible for folks who are working in the federal government and you know, Harry Truman said the buck stops with you.
“Now, my understanding is the Mr. Romney attested to the SEC, multiple times, that he was the chairman, CEO and president of Bain Capital and I think most Americans figure if you are the chairman, CEO and president of a company that you are responsible for what that company does.
“Ultimately Mr. Romney, I think, is going to have to answer those questions, uh because if he aspires to being president one of the things you learn is, you are ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations, but again that’s probably a question that he’s going to have to answer and I think that’s a legitimate part of the campaign.”