During a surprise press briefing on Monday in which President Barack Obama took questions from White House reporters for the first time in months, he claimed that “nobody accused Romney of being a felon.”
Obama’s statement was in response to a question about his re-election campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney‘s time at Bain Capital. It appears to directly contradict something his deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said back in July, when she suggested that Romney may have committed a felony.
“Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony,” Cutter said on a conference call with reporters back then. “Or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments.”
The rub came because of Securities and Exchange Commission documents that the Boston Globe claims show Romney worked at Bain until 2002 — despite him having said publicly he left in 1999.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul called that Boston Globe characterization inaccurate because as “Bain Capital has said, as Gov. Romney has said, and as has been confirmed by independent fact checkers multiple times, Gov. 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.”
Basically, Romney was the owner of the company but didn’t run the day-to-day decision-making processes after 1999. Independent fact-checkers have upheld the Romney campaign’s assertions.
The Romney campaign responded harshly to Obama’s remarks, too. Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a release that Obama “falsely alleged no one in his campaign had accused Mitt Romney of committing a crime. President Obama’s failure to stand up to dishonest rhetoric and attacks demonstrates yet again he’s diminished the office that he holds and his record is nothing more than business as usual in Washington.”