WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney's campaign adviser accused the president's campaign of saying or doing "anything to keep the highest office in the land, even if it means demeaning the highest office in the land," and Obama's deputy campaign manager told the former Massachusetts governor to take his own advice and "stop whining," as the campaign salvos moved to the Sunday talk shows.
The Obama campaign is questioning whether Romney was at the helm of private equity firm Bain Capital when it sent jobs overseas, allegations that "independent fact checkers have said are not true, they're indeed a lie," Ed Gillespie, a campaign adviser to Romney, said on CNN's "State of the Union."
On Thursday Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, suggested Romney might be guilty of a felony if he misrepresented his position at Bain to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Either you're the CEO, president, chairman of the board of Bain Capital as you attest to the SEC or he's telling the American people he bears no responsibility for that. Both those things can't be true. Either you're in charge or you're not," Cutter said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
The documents place Romney in charge of Bain from 1999 to 2001, a period in which the company outsourced jobs and ran companies that fell into bankruptcy. Romney has tried to distance himself from this period in Bain's history, saying on financial disclosure forms he had no active role in Bain as of February 1999.
But at least three times since then, Bain listed Romney as the company's "controlling person," as well as its "sole shareholder, sole director, chief executive officer and president." And one of those documents — as late as February 2001 — lists Romney's "principal occupation" as Bain's managing director.
President Barack Obama hammered away at the allegations while campaigning in swing state Virginia on Friday and Saturday.
Romney did five interviews with evening cable and network news shows Friday so people would know "he's not a felon," Gillespie said. Romney also demanded an apology during the interviews, a demand repeated by Romney's senior campaign adviser, Kevin Madden, who appeared with Cutter on CBS.
"He's not going to get an apology," Cutter shot back, adding that Romney should take the advice he gave to his opponents during the Republican primary: Stop whining.
"Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, why don't you just put the facts out there and let people decide instead of trying to hide them? If he didn't gain advantages, then show us, show the American people. What is it you're hiding?" Cutter said.