Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney told CNN Friday evening that he was merely an owner at Bain Capital after 1999 — when he said he left the private equity firm — and that he was not actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.
“I was the owner of an entity that is filing that information [with the Securities and Exchange Commission], but I had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999,” Romney said in the CNN interview.
“Not that that would have been a problem to say that I was with the firm beyond that, but I simply wasn’t,” he continued. “I left in February of 1999 to go and run the Olympics. I went out and did that full-time, relinquished all management, authority and role in Bain Capital after February of 1999.”
Romney’s signature appears on SEC filings with Bain after 1999, and Bain SEC documents list Romney as an executive in both 2000 and 2001, but Romney said those signatures and his title were merely formal and did not signal active dealings with investments that the firm was making.
President Barack Obama’s campaign has accused Romney of lying — and possibly committing a felony — by not being forthcoming about his role with Bain.
Either Romney “was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which would be a felony … [or] he was lying to the American people, that’s a real character trust issue that the American people need to take seriously,” said Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager.
Speaking with CNN’s Jim Acosta, Romney called the Obama campaign attack “beneath the dignity” of the president and called on his opponent to own up to the attacks and denounce them.
“He really needs to rein in his team and finally take responsibility for what they’re saying,” Romney said. “This is really absurd.”
With increasing scrutiny being paid to his time at the private equity firm, Romney took to five major television networks, granting interviews to CNN, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News and CBS News, which all aired in the 6 p.m. ET hour.
Watch the Fox News interview: