Politics
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Romney hits Obama on Fast and Furious, ‘broken promises’ of transparency

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Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is ripping President Barack Obama for his transparency failures when it comes to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal and other matters.

In a lengthy press release posted on its website, the Romney campaign laid out a series of examples of Obama’s transparency “hypocrisy.”

“President Obama has run one of the least transparent administrations in American history,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement accompanying the release. “Whether hiding lobbyists in coffee shops, cutting back-room deals on Obamacare, or concealing the records of ‘Fast and Furious,’ President Obama’s pledge to be transparent has turned out to be just another broken promise. With no rationale for reelection and no plan to help middle-class Americans, President Obama has resorted to running a campaign of distraction, distortion and dishonesty.”

The Romney campaign leads off its list of transparency failures with Fast and Furious. It points out how then-Senator Obama attacked President George W. Bush for using executive privilege in 2007, and how Obama is now asserting executive privilege to withhold Fast and Furious documents from Congress.

Romney’s campaign cites several local and national newspaper editorials that bashed the president’s decision to use the secrecy power to hide documents, including one from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that suggests the White House may be covering up “criminal activity.”

“By now declaring executive privilege, the administration is legally stipulating that there was direct White House involvement,” the Pittsburgh newspaper wrote on June 22. “And it has placed itself in Catch-22 jeopardy: It was more intimately involved in Fast and Furious than previously stated and it has been involved in nothing less than a cover-up to prevent that public disclosure. Either the White House lied or the White House lied. Whether it has done so to prevent being embarrassed politically or to shield criminal activity remains the question.”

The Romney campaign cites articles from Newsweek, Salon, The Associated Press and The Hill that question Obama’s transparency practices.

Romney staff also point out how Obama reneged on his 2008 campaign promise to televise all health care negotiations on C-SPAN. PolitiFact rated that Obama promise as “broken.”

The former Massachusetts governor’s presidential campaign criticized how top Obama aides and staffers have held meetings with lobbyists and special interest leaders at a coffee shop across the street from the White House or in a complex just off the White House grounds – moves that help the administration evade transparency rules and White House visitor log requirements.

This move from the Romney campaign comes as Obama’s team has demanded Romney release more of his tax returns.

The Obama campaign’s rapid response director Lis Smith fired back at Romney’s transparency criticisms by calling the press release a sign the Romney campaign is “flailing.” Smith also suggested Romney’s support of Bush’s executive privilege assertion in 2007 was inconsistent with his campaign’s Tuesday press release.

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