Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is having one of those "be careful what you wish for" moments. Throughout his White House bid, the former Massachusetts governor has said curiously little about his tenure as an actual legislator, choosing instead to focus on his time as head of the private equity firm Bain Capital. It's his business experience, he constantly says, that makes him uniquely qualified to fix what's ailing the nation's economy and the reason Americans should elect him in November.
According to recent news reports, there is some discrepancy between the date when Romney says he left the firm to run the Salt Lake Olympics in 1999 and U.S. Securities Exchange Commission documents that show he was still the owner and receiving a salary a few years later. In a statement that had the Twitterverse laughing, Romney adviser Ed Gillespie said Sunday that the candidate had "retired retroactively."
President Obama's re-election team has made major layoffs, bankruptcies and outsourcing that occurred as a result of Bain's investment in various businesses around the nation a running theme in many of its campaign ads. Obama says what happened with Bain would happen to the nation if Romney becomes the next president. Ideas such as retroactive retirements, the campaign argues, are just another example of Romney's unwillingness to be transparent about Bain, his foreign bank accounts and tax returns.
Romney says he was uninvolved in Bain's day-to-day operations and has accused Team Obama of being "dishonest" and "misdirected" to avoid talking about the president's stewardship of the economy. His campaign also has called on Obama to apologize for attacking Romney's success, something the president and his surrogates have said won't be happening.
"Stop whining," said former Obama chief of staff and now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel on ABC's This Week. "If you want to claim Bain Capital as your calling card to the White House, then defend what happened at Bain Capital."
Obama spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter expressed a similar sentiment on CBS's Face the Nation.
"He's not going to get an apology," she said. "Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, why don't you just put the facts out there and let people decide rather than trying to hide them?"
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting from conservative corners for Romney to produce multiple years of tax records. Romney's reticence has raised some serious questions about what he doesn't want the public to know. The fact that he provided the 2008 Republican nominee John McCain 23 years worth of returns and the senator chose Sarah Palin as his running mate instead also has tongues wagging.
"He should release the tax returns tomorrow. It's crazy," conservative Bill Kristol said on Fox News Sunday. "You've got to release six, eight, 10 years of back tax returns. Take the hit for a day or two."
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(Photos from left: Courtesy of CBS, Courtesy of Fox News)