Tonight on CNN’s The Situation Room in an interview with Jim Acosta, attempting to deflect from his contradictory SEC filings and exit time at Bain, Romney, sounding a bit Nixonian, doubled down on his wife’s claim that all of this is Obama’s “Kill Romney” strategy.
Video clip of Romney parsing and spinning via CNN:
In between climbing on the persecution cross, Romney explained that he has done nothing wrong by misleading the voters on his Bain exit timing, and he spent time doubling down on his claim that he left in 1999.
Romney told Acosta, “There’s nothing wrong with being associated with Bain Capital, of course. But the truth is that I left any role at Bain Capital in February of 1999.”
Here is Romney whining about Obama and breaking put the kill Romney line:
Romney claimed that the Obama campaign saying he is either a crook or a liar is “an effort on the part of the president’s campaign to divert attention from the fact that the president has been a failure when it comes to reigniting the American economy.”
Romney accused Obama of “putting out information which is false and deceptive and dishonest” but he didn’t specifically accuse the Obama campaign of lying about his departure date. His campaign statement today also refused to deny the Obama campaign charge specifically.
The reason for that refusal is not that Romney is afraid to use the word lie, he used it just yesterday in the launch of a new ad campaign against Obama.
We covered Ann’s moment of “Kill Romney” perfidy here, and noted then that the 2011 Politico story was poorly sourced with an anonymous person who claimed to be “aligned with the White House”, which I suppose a janitor could say. Since that writing, the Obama campaign came out with a full rebuttal:
The reference to a “kill Romney” strategy stems from a thinly-sourced Politico story from August 2011, which anonymously quoted a supposedly Democratic strategist “aligned with the White House” who said the President’s campaign might have to go negative and “kill Romney.” This source—who, unsurprisingly, chose to remain unnamed—in no way represented the President’s campaign. As Obama for America National Press Secretary Ben LaBolt stated immediately, “Anyone purporting to hold a crystal ball for our strategy … does not speak for the campaign.”
President Obama never said any such thing, and they flatly deny that it represented their campaign. I tend to believe this, because my own experience working for the Obama campaign in 2008 showed me that he runs a tight ship. We were told in no uncertain terms that anyone who said anything negative about Sarah Palin or her family would no longer be volunteering for the campaign. If they were that strict in the field, it’s hard to picture them sloppy at the top.
At any rate, it’s rather desperate for Romney to attribute a thinly sourced quote to the President himself in order to dodge the very real trouble he got himself into with his slick “I left Bain but I was CEO, President, and sole shareholder” routine.
Mitt Romney is in a world of hurt, and the only way he could climb out was to seek refuge in being persecuted. We’ve seen this routine before.
Perhaps Romney forgot a few things in his rush to the cross:
Romney touted his staff’s rude heckling of the President’s campaign, saying, “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” Unfortunately, that includes such childish antics as blowing bubbles at President Obama’s advisors during a press conference and repeatedly using the campaign bus to circle Obama events and honk loudly.
Romney’s first ad of the season was panned as “misleading,” “deceptive,” “deceitful,” “untruthful,” “demonstrably false,” and “a lie.” The ad’s most devastating line—President Obama saying, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose’—was taken wildly out of context. In fact, the President uttered the line in 2008, when he was referring to something that an aide to his then-opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona, had said in reference to the McCain campaign—not Mr. Obama. And even though Romney’s campaign admitted they took the President out of context, they argued that it was “intentional.”
Even Republicans said they’d like to see less character attacks and more policy suggestions from the Romney campaign. “The Romney campaign is tilted too heavily toward biography and not nearly enough toward ideas,” said Karl Rove. “You have to campaign to govern, not just to win,” said Gov. Mitch Daniels. And as Republican strategist Nelson Warfield noted, “It’s clear the negative ads are what’s keeping this guy alive.”
Playing the vaguely paranoid victim only goes so far, even for a Republican.
Mitt Romney needs to release his tax returns and let the voters decide what they think about his record. He likes to talk about his record, and paint the narrative himself, but he doesn’t seem to trust the people enough to give us the facts and let us decide. The Obama campaign never said anything about killing Mitt, but Romney sounds as if he’s falling victim to the same paranoia that plagued Nixon.
Just because people want straight answers doesn’t mean that they are out to get you. To interpret asking for the facts and truth as persecution is telling.
Video of the full interview will be uploaded as soon as available.