By Matthew Larotonda | ABC OTUS News – 7 hrs ago Republicans continue to call on President Obama and his campaign to give an apology for questioning Mitt Romney’s role at Bain Capital. They won’t be getting one.”No, we won’t be apologizing,” the president said in an interview aired today. „Sometimes these games are played during political campaigns. Understand what the issues are here: Mr Romney claims he’s Mr. Fix-it for the economy because of his business experience, so I think voters entirely legitimately want to know what is exactly his business experience.”Speaking to NBC’s Richmond, Va., affiliate station, WAVY-TV, Obama invoked a past White House occupant in an argument he has used for days on the campaign trail.”Harry Truman said ‘the buck stops with me,’ and I think understandably people are going to be interested in are you in fact responsible for this company you say is one of your primary calling cards for your wanting to be President,” he said.On Thursday an Obama campaign manager upped the ante on Romney’s final days at Bain Capital by suggesting the Republican candidate had either lied to the public or misrepresented „his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony,” by saying he had left the company in 1999. Romney gave fivenetwork interviews to defend himself, stating the Obama campaign had gone „out of control.”That spokeswoman doubled down on the attack today by stating there was no point in „arguing the semantics” of whether he was officially active at the firm during the time.”If you’re signing an SEC document with your own signature that you’re the president, C.E.O., chairman of the board and 100 percent owner of a company, in what world are you living in that you’re not in charge?” Stephanie Cutter said on CBS.On ABC’s „This Week,” former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel put it another way:”As president of the United States you can’t have a sign on your desk that says, ‘Gone fishing,'” the Chicago mayor said.Emanuel and Cutter had come to represent the Democratic side in the row at the heart of the issue: Whether Romney could be held responsible for layoffs and outsourcing at Bain properties after he supposedly left to manage the U.S. Olympic Committee.On the other side of the table: Romney adviser Kevin Madden.”The reason there is a document in 2002 that had his signature is, during that transition from 1999 to 2002 where there was transfer of ownership to the new partners of Bain, that there was a duty to sign those documents,” Madden said. „Even a bipartisan commission indicated Governor Romney left Bain in 1999.”It is a fact that Romney remained at the company until at least 2002, according to SEC filings obtained by the Boston Globe. But some independent fact checking organizations have criticized the reporting of Romney’s role at the time, stating there was no evidence to say he took part in any decision-making processes.Republicans have seized on those articles, demanding an apology from the Obama campaign. Madden repeated the call, but Cutter maintained it was out of the question.”Instead of whining about what the Obama campaign is saying, just put the facts out there and let people decide, rather than trying to hide them,” she said.Cutter and Emanuel both referenced Romney’s refusal to release any tax returns dating before 2010, which would shed light onto the nature of overseas holdings the candidate possessed.”You’ve learned in just one year about the Caymans, about the Bahamas, about Luxembourg, and about Switzerland, all where his tax and different accounts are,” Emanuel said. „His tax – his tax filing looks more like the Olympic Village than it does like a middle-class family.”Madden said Romney had „gone above and beyond” financial disclosure laws required of candidates, releasing „hundreds and hundreds of pages of financial disclosures with the FEC.”On CNN, another Romney surrogate, Ed Gillepsie, said the candidate’s departure for the Olympics was originally planned as a „leave of absence.””He ended up not going back at all and retired retroactively to February of 1999 as a result,” Gillepsie said.The statement has set the liberal blogosphere ablaze, „Ed Gillepsie” and „#retroactively” holding positions in the top 10 U.S. Twitter trends as of press time.ABC’s Daniel Steinberger contributed to this report.
Romney attacks Obama’s negative campaigning with a negative ad of his own By Holly Bailey, Yahoo! News | The Ticket – 8 hrs ago Mitt Romney is responding to what he calls President Barack Obama’s negative campaigning with a new negative ad of his own.A new Romney television ad released Sunday features a series of political pundits questioning whether Obama has abandoned his message of „hope and change” to pursue attacks on the presumptive Republican nominee.”When the president was elected, he talked about hope and change. Whatever happened to hope and change?” CBS News’s Bob Schieffer is shown saying. „Now it seems he’s just coming right out of the box with these old fashioned, negative ads.”The 30-second ad also features the New York Times’ David Brooks, who mentions Obama’s „inaccurate ads.” It also features a clip from a MSNBC interview in June with Time Magazine’s Mark Halperin, who says Obama and his allies „will run more negative ads against this Republican nominee, in 2012, than have ever been run in the history of the world.”The ad concludes by repeating footage of Schieffer asking, „Whatever happened to hope and change?”The Romney campaign has not said where the ad will air or how much media time it has reserved for the spot.Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign slammed the spot, suggesting Romney is trying to avoid questions about his record at Bain Capital.”Mitt Romney can continue to run ads bemoaning serious questions about his career as a corporate buyout specialist, but he can’t run from his record of leading investments in companies that were ‘pioneers’ in outsourcing and investing in foreign tax havens and offshore accounts,” Smith said in an email.
N.Korea army chief removed from all posts By Jung Ha-Won | AFP – 12 mins ago North Korea’s army chief has been relieved of all his posts due to illness, state media said on Monday, in a surprise development that removes one of new leader Kim Jong-Un’s inner circle.Ri Yong-Ho is regarded as one of the key figures who helped support the young, untested leader in the transition following the death in December of his father Kim Jong-Il, the longtime dictator of the reclusive state.The departure and the quick announcement by the regime were „very unusual”, said a spokesman of Seoul’s unification ministry handling cross-border affairs, while observers say Ri may have fallen out of favour with Jong-Un.The 69-year-old became head of the country’s 1.2 million-member military — one of the world’s largest — in 2009 and had been seen often accompanying Jong-Un on visits to military bases in recent months.The North’s official KCNA news agency said a meeting of top officials from the ruling party on Sunday took the decision to relieve him of his posts „for his illness”.He was removed from the „presidium of the politburo”, the country’s most powerful body with only a handful of members, and the „vice-chairman of the central military commission” of the ruling Workers’ Party, it said.The spokesman for Seoul’s unification ministry added to reporters „We are watching the situation with interest,” without elaborating further.The general was one of seven top party and military cadres who accompanied Jong-Un when he walked alongside the hearse carrying the body of Jong-Il during his funeral.The seven featured in the symbolic moment — including Jong-Un’s powerful uncle Jang Song-Thaek — were considered central figures in bolstering the regime of the new leader, who is believed to be in his late 20s.Ri was also seen accompanying Jong-Un as the leader paid tribute in a ceremony in Pyongyang to his late grandfather Kim Il-Sung on the July 8 anniversary of his death in 1994.Professor Yang Moo-Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said he was sceptical about the reason given for the „hawkish” veteran field commander’s departure.”He might have fallen into disfavour with Kim Jong-Un or lost in a power struggle with other military leaders,” he said, adding Pyongyang seldom relieved party or military leaders simply for health reasons.Paik Hak-Soon of Sejong Institute said Jong-Un was seeking to strengthen the communist party’s control over the military that has become too powerful for decades under the Songun (army-first) policy of Kim Jong-Il.”Jong-Un will make sure that now the party keeps the overgrown military under check– an effort his father started in late 2010 before he died,” Paik told AFP.”Ri is an old fixture from the father’s generation. Jong-Un will likely replace him with someone younger and closer to the party…someone he can control more easily,” he said.The North’s military has in recent months ratcheted up hostile rhetoric towards South Korea and President Lee Myung-Bak partly in a bid to burnish its new leader’s credentials.The impoverished but nuclear-armed North last month denounced US-South Korean drills near the tense border as a „provocation” and vowed to „further bolster up its nuclear deterrent”.Some 2,000 South Korean and US troops along with jet fighters, tanks and attack helicopters took part in the live-fire exercises to test responses to any North Korean attack.It was the latest sign of high tensions after the North’s failed rocket launch in April, seen by the United States and its allies as an attempted ballistic missile test.