During today’s surprise press conference, President Obama directly denied that his campaign has accused Mitt Romney of being a felon.
Nancy Cordes, CBS: As you know, your opponent recently accused you of waging a campaign filled with anger and hate. You told Entertainment Tonight that anyone who attends your rallies can see that they are not angry or hate-filled affairs. But in recent weeks, your campaign has suggested repeatedly – without proof – that Mr. Romney might be hiding something in his tax returns. They have suggested that Mr. Romney might be a felon for the way that he handed over power of Bain Capital. And your campaign and the White House have declined to condemn an ad by one of your top supporters that links Mr. Romney to a woman’s death from cancer. Are you comfortable with the tone being set with your campaign? Have you asked them to change their tone when it comes to defining Mr. Romney?
President Obama: Well, first of all, I am not sure that all of those characterizations that you laid out there were accurate. For example, nobody accused Mr. Romney of being a felon.
Stop the tape. At least two major players on the Obama campaign have accused Mitt Romney of being a felon. They organized an entire conference call to levy the charge.
Mitt Romney either lied in federal filings that show he worked at Bain Capital through 2002 and could be guilty of a felony, or has lied to the American people in saying he left the company in 1999, the Obama campaign is arguing in light of news reports on the firm’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“This is serious business,” said Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign’s counsel, in a conference call for reporters coming after the Boston Globe published a story Thursday that calls into question the timeline of Romney’s involvement of the firm that the Republican candidate has been promulgating for years.
Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter laid out the issue as the Obama team sees it: “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony.”
The felon charge fell somewhere between “bully” and “murderer” among the accusations that Team Obama has lobbed at Mitt Romney. Either the president isn’t isn’t paying attention and isn’t in control of what his own campaign does and says, or he is and therefore he directly lied to the nation about what his campaign is saying and doing. It’s a binary choice here: He’s clueless or lying.
The greatest “tell” in all this is that no one on the Obama campaign has been Bookered for saying anything negative about Mitt Romney. Stephanie Cutter hasn’t been Bookered for calling Romney a felon, and Bill Burton hasn’t been Bookered for accusing Romney of murder by cancer. Until we see a hostage tape from these people, we have to consider their words and actions as sanctioned by Barack Obama.