2012 ELECTION

Romney demands apology; Obama doubles down on Bain, outsourcing, overseas investments

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Romney has tried to distance himself from this period in Bain's history, saying on financial disclosure forms he had no active role in Bain as of February 1999.

But at least three times since then, Bain listed Romney as the company's "controlling person," as well as its "sole shareholder, sole director, chief executive officer and president."

And one of those documents - as late as February 2001 - lists Romney's "principal occupation" as Bain's managing director.

"Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying," Cutter said, "why don't you just put the facts out there and let people decide instead of trying to hide them? If he didn't gain advantages, then show us, show the American people. What is it you're hiding?"

What's more Romney is encumbered with his failure to explain accounts he maintained overseas - in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Romney said on Friday he has no intention of releasing any more federal income tax returns, a fact that is fueling the Obama campaign's message that the former governor of Massachusetts has not been transparent about his financial history.

Romney has released his 2010 return and a partial estimate for the 2011 tax year. Past presidential candidates have produced far more tax records, dating back to the 1968 run by Romney's father, George, who set a precedent by releasing 12 years of tax records.

The 2012 race for the White House looks to be one of the closest in history and hinges, at this point, on which candidate can convince voters they are best suited to
the stagnant U.S. economy.

The Obama campaign was refusing to let the Bain matter drop, keeping up the drumbeat that companies that Bain invested in sent jobs overseas - the so-called "outsourcing" of jobs needed by Americans at a time of deep economic troubles at home. U.S. unemployment remains at 8.2 percent and the economy is the top issue for voters who will choose between Obama and Romney in 3 ½ months.

Romney contends Obama is focused on untruths about his involvement with Bain to distract voters from his failure to guide the U.S. economy to a robust recovery from the 2007-2009 Great Recession.

The Obama camp responds that Romney is basing his campaign on the claim that he is the best candidate to handle the economy because of his success as a businessman. It points, they say, to the questions about Romney's business record and activities. That in turn raises questions about how he would handle policy that helps stop the economic slide of middle-class Americans.

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