Romney hits back at Obama attacks on Bain
By Steven R Hurst|AP - WASHINGTON
16th July 2012 11:11 PM
Mitt Romney, stung by President Barack Obama's persistent attacks on the Republican challenger's record as a businessman, said Monday the president should be talking about his own record in the White House instead.
The Obama campaign has hammered at discrepancies about when Romney departed as chief of the private equity firm Bain Capital that he co-founded in the 1980s. Romney says his business record is his chief qualification to be president, and it is the source of his vast fortune, estimated at a quarter of a billion dollars.
"What does it say about a president whose record is so poor that all he can do in this campaign is attack me?" Romney asked in an interview Monday with Fox News.
In a separate interview with CBS, Obama said he has run mostly positive campaign ads but said those are largely ignored by the media.
In his interview, Romney was asked whether Obama should apologize for statements and campaign ads suggesting that Romney has not been truthful in his accounts of his record as head of Bain.
Romney responded: "I think when people accuse you of a crime, you have every reason to go after them pretty hard, and I'm going to continue going after him." He defended his business record but did not demand that Obama apologize. Romney also declined to make a fuller disclosure of tax returns than he has already committed himself to releasing. He has released a federal tax filing for 2010 and an estimate for 2011.
The latest exchanges came as Obama made campaign appearances in Ohio, a critical state for both candidates, and Romney was to join Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, one possible candidate for his running mate, on a fundraising trip.
Ohio is heavily dependent on the auto industry, and Obama was planning to remind voters of his administration's 2009 bailout of that industry, which was near collapse four years ago. The move saved thousands of jobs in Ohio, according to Democrats. Romney opposed Obama's use of massive federal loans to keep Chrysler and General Motors afloat while they reorganized under bankruptcy protection.
Over the past week, a furor has blown up over when exactly Romney left Bain. He says it was 1999, when he took over management of the 2000 Olympic Games. But recently uncovered filings by Bain with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission list him as holding all the top positions in the company as late as 2001.
That becomes important because it shores up the Obama claims that in that period Bain closed down some businesses it owned and sent the jobs overseas.
Romney's campaign said Sunday that Obama was willing to say anything to win a second term and should apologize for the attacks over Bain Capital. "No, we will not apologize," the president responded, adding that if Romney wants credit for his business leadership, he also needs to take responsibility.
Romney's campaign released a new television ad on Sunday asking why the president had stopped talking about hope and change, his signature message during the 2008 campaign.
The ad began a day after Obama started running one that showed Romney singing "America the Beautiful" over images that recalled his ties to Bain, U.S. jobs lost overseas and to his personal foreign investments.
"If you look at the ads that we do," Obama told CBS on Monday, "first of all, we've done a whole slew of positive ads that talk exactly about how we need to change our education system, how we need to change our tax code, how we need to rebuild America, how we need to promote American energy."
In fact, about three-fourths of the president's advertising so far has been critical of Romney.
White House aides said Obama on Monday would cite news reports suggesting that Romney's plans for limited taxing of overseas profits by U.S. companies would encourage foreign job growth. The two candidates have repeatedly accused each other of outsourcing American jobs.
The White House said Obama also will renew his call for extending the Bush-era tax cuts on all households except those earning more than $250,000 a year. Romney says the wealthiest Americans also should keep their tax breaks because they are the most likely people to create jobs.
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