Romney responds to Bain attacks in TV interviews

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DENVER — After a damaging day of stories focused on his murky exit date at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney sat down for a slew of network TV interviews to defend himself and, perhaps more importantly, turn the page.

“There’s nothing wrong with being associated with Bain Capital, of course,” Romney said in an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta. “But the truth is that I left any role at Bain Capital in February of 1999.”

On Thursday, a story in the Boston Globe cited SEC filings showing that Romney was still listed as the company’s CEO as late as 2002.

“I left the company in February of 1999, but retained ownership until we were able to negotiate a departure and retirement program from the company,” Romney explained to ABC News. “I had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999.

In the CNN interview, Romney said that remaining as the company’s CEO doesn’t mean that he continued to have any managing control at Bain while he was in Salt Lake City running the Winter Olympics — or, more importantly, as Bain began outsourcing U.S. companies, including SMTC, a circuit board manufactured that was shuttered in Denver and re-opened in Mexico.

In his interview with CBS News, Romney demanded an apology from the Obama campaign, which has alleged that Romney lied to either the SEC or the public about his actual exit date at Bain.

Asked by CBS’s Jan Crawford whether he believes Mr. Obama owes him an apology for Cutter’s remarks, Romney said, “Absolutely – my goodness! What kind of president would have a campaign that says something like that about the nominee of another party?

“This is reckless and absurd on his part, and it’s something that’s beneath his dignity. I hope he recognizes that even fellow Democrats have said that.”

On ABC News, Romney told Jonathan Karl that Obama’s attacks amounted to “Chicago-style politics at its worst.”

Romney also told the networks who asked that he would put out only one more year of tax returns, which won’t be enough to satisfy Democrats who have criticized the GOP presidential frontrunner for attempting to hide information about his personal wealth.

“The law requires us to put out a full financial disclosure and that I’ve done,” Romney told CNN, adding that the most recent year will be released “as soon as the accountants have that ready.

“And that’s what we’re going to put out,” he continued. “People always want to get more and we’re putting out what is required plus more that is not required. And those are the two years that people are going to have and that’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances.”

Romney didn’t give much of answer when Acosta asked him if he felt like he’s being “swift-boated”, a reference to the way outside groups pummeled Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the 2004 election.

But, clearly, Romney’s sudden availability to all five major news networks Friday shows the campaign is concerned about the Bain cloud hovering over the electorate as November nears.

Thursday’s initial attempt to change the narrative with a Drudge Report post about Condoleezza Rice emerging as a front-runner to be Romney’s running-mate fell flat, eliciting mostly derision from political insiders, dubious about the pro-choice, campaign-averse Bush confidant being a likely nominee for vice president.

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