WASHINGTON -– Mitt Romney called attacks on his business record by President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign “disgusting,” but backed off calling the president a liar in one of a series of TV interviews on Friday afternoon.
“What the president is doing is terribly destructive to the political process and beneath what the people of America expected from someone who said he was going to rise above partisan politics and bring a new era of change to Washington,” Romney told CNN, in one of five TV interviews to address the uproar over his time at private equity firm Bain Capital.
The round robin TV sessions, scheduled hastily on a Friday, demonstrated how Romney’s campaign has been thrown off balance and off-message by the questions and criticisms regarding his successful business career before he held political office.
Referring to Obama advisers who suggested Romney might have committed a felonyif he filled out federal disclosure forms that were inaccurate or misleading, Romney demanded Obama apologize and told ABC’s Jon Karl: “The president needs to take control of these people.”
In all five interviews Romney conducted -– with CNN, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News and CBS News -– he said he did not have any active role in Bain Capital after he left Massachusetts in 1999 to go to Utah and oversee preparations for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
“There’s absolutely no evidence that I had any role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999,” he told ABC.
The time period in question is under debate because Democrats say Romney is responsible for investments made after February 1999 by Bain that led to U.S. companies sending jobs to other countries.
Romney insisted Friday that he was not an active participant in the company, despitesigning multiple forms filed on behalf of Bain with the Securities and Exchange Commission from 1999 to 2001, appearing as the “sole shareholder, sole director, chief executive officer and president” of Bain on other SEC forms, and attending board meetings on behalf of at least one firm Bain had a stake in during that time. He signed a 2011 disclosure form with the federal government stating he was not involved with Bain from 1999 to 2002 “in any way.”