Obama refuses to apologise over 'felony' remark
THE US presidential race has descended into an all-out brawl, with the Obama campaign labelling Republican candidate Mitt Romney a possible felon and the Romney campaign peppering
its invective with allusions to the gangster past of US president Barack Obama’s home town, Chicago.
Tit-for-tat recriminations have become standard procedure.
To deflect attacks on Romney’s record at Bain Capital and his refusal to release more income tax returns, the Romney campaign now accuses the Obama administration of “crony capitalism”, claiming it has paid off more than 200 donors to Obama’s last campaign with government bank loans.
The Romney campaign points to a $535 million (€436 million) US department of energy loan to solar company Solyndra, which subsequently went bankrupt, and $193 million in federal loans to Fisker, which is manufacturing electric cars in Finland, as proof that Obama uses taxpayers’ money to reward his friends and is the “outsourcer in chief”.
Solyndra and Fisker have strong Democratic Party connections.
“If you’re a campaign contributor to Barack Obama, your business may stand to get billions or hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from the government,” Romney said on Fox News. “I think it stinks to high heaven.”
The Obama campaign responded in kind, saying Romney gave tax breaks to friends’ companies as governor of Massachusetts.
“Mitt Romney would do anything to avoid answering serious questions about his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist,” Lis Smith, an Obama spokeswoman, said, “but launching false attacks that only boomerang on his record of cronyism in Massachusetts and the Olympics won’t do it.”
A chief tenet of the Obama attacks has been the absence of transparency regarding Romney’s stewardship of Bain and his private finances.
The Romney campaign fought back yesterday. “If Bain is so bad, why did you take $120,000 in campaign cash?” read the headline on a statement from Romney’s spokeswoman, Andrea Saul.
Over the past eight years, Saul said, Obama received $188,121 in contributions from donors who listed Bain as their employer.
A three-page statement put out earlier yesterday by the Romney campaign, titled Transparent Hypocrisy, accused Obama of running “one of the least transparent administrations in American history”.
The Obama camp initiated the present offensive after a disappointing jobs report on July 6th.
The onslaught gained steam on July 12th, when the Boston Globe published its investigation of Romney’s claim that he had nothing to do with Bain after February 1999, when he left to organise the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
The Globe found that until 2002, filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), signed by Romney, listed him as “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president” of Bain Capital.
In addition to earnings on investments, Romney drew a salary from Bain of $100,000 a year from 1999 until 2002. He has in the past sought to take credit for jobs created by Bain after his departure, but says he had nothing to do with the lay-offs, outsourcing and bankruptcies that occurred under Bain management during the same period.