Adviser says Romney “retroactively retired” from Bain Capital
Republicans sought to push back against Obama’s attacks on Romney’s time at Bain Capital.
Allies of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took to the Sunday morning political talk shows to defend the candidate from the Obama campaign’s attacks on his work at private equity firm Bain Capital.
The uptake of the Romney campaign’s push back is that Obama’s claims are misleading and intended to distract from the sluggish economic recovery and high unemployment.
“I’m sitting here in Janesville, Wisconsin; people are not worried about the details as to when Mitt Romney left Bain Capital to save the Olympics or the details about his assets, which are managed by a blind trust for Pete’s sake,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” program. “They’re worried about their jobs and their family’s future.”
Obama has raised questions about government documents that list Romney as the top executive at Bain as late as 2001, three years after he said he left the company, arguing that he was responsible for layoffs and outsourcing that the firm oversaw at companies it owned.
The president and Democrats have used that information to argue that Romney’s business record does not show that he is qualified to serve as president and create jobs.
The Romney campaign released a television ad that hits Obama for going negative on his Bain record.
But senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie made a statement Sunday on CNN that muddled the already-vague narrative surrounding the candidate’s departure from the firm to helm the 2002 Winter Olympics.
The Hill reports:
Gillespie on Sunday sought to clarify the matter, saying that Romney initially thought he would be leaving Bain on a temporary basis, but the challenges of the Olympics led him to “retire retroactively.”
“There may have been a thought at the time that it could be part time, but it was not part time,” Gillespie said.
“He took a leave of absence and in fact he ended up not going back at all, and retired retroactively to 1999 as a result,” he added. “He left a life he loved to go to Salt Lake City and help a country he loves more, and somehow Chicago… is trying to make it something sinister.”
Democrats pounced on the remark, saying that it illustrates that Romney has not taken responsibility for Bain’s actions when he was listed at its CEO, president, and sole shareholder.
In multiple television interviews Friday, Romney said that he left the company in 1999 to run the Olympics, but remained the owner until he and company executives were able to negotiate a retirement agreement. Romney never returned to the company and was elected Massachusetts governor in 2002.
But documents showed that Romney collected a $100,000 salary from Bain in 2001 and 2002 and initial accounts of his departure described it as a “leave of absence” in which he would play a part time role at the company. But no documents have shown that Romney was actively involved in business decisions that directly led to outsourcing or layoffs during that time.
Gillespie took to Twitter Sunday to clarify his comment:
Mitt Romney’s retirement from Bain was effective Feb ‘99, when he stopped managing it. Pres Obama’s retirement will be effective Jan ‘13!— Ed Gillespie (@EdWGillespie) July 15, 2012
(Photo: Flickr, Gage Skidmore)