A top adviser to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Sunday that recent allegations coming from rivals in President Barack Obama's campaign were debasing the office of the presidency.
Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Romney senior adviser Ed Gillespie said the GOP candidate scheduled five interviews with major broadcasters on Friday to clear his name, after an Obama campaign official suggested he had committed a felony by listing himself as CEO of Bain Capital when he no longer carried leadership responsibilities at the private equity firm.
"There were questions that Gov. Romney wanted to address, and make sure people understood that he's not a felon," Gillespie told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. "That's what this campaign, on the Obama side, was reduced to. And it's sad to see."
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter charged in a conference call with reporters this week that Romney "through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony," or was otherwise "misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments."
Romney himself said in an interview with CNN on Friday that charge was "disgusting" and "demeaning," and called on Obama and his campaign to apologize.
"It's something which I think the president should take responsibility for and stop," Romney told CNN national political correspondent Jim Acosta.
On Sunday, Gillespie echoed that sentiment, saying the charges reflected a "say anything" stance adopted by the president's campaign.
"We now know that this president will say anything to keep this highest office in the land, even if it means demeaning the highest office in the land," Gillespie said.
Calls by Democrats for Romney to release additional tax returns, Gillespie said, were distracting from an important conversation about how to increase the number of middle-class jobs in America.
"We're putting out there his tax returns, more than is required by the law," Gillespie said. "The reason we're talking about these things is because he put those tax records out there, the blind trust and some of those accounts. The fact is the American people are very concerned about, 'How am I going to get a job?'"
Romney released tax return information from 2010 and has vowed to release his 2011 information when it's completed by his accountant. Democrats, however, are pushing the GOP candidate to release more years of documents, claiming the additional disclosure will answer questions about Romney's offshore investments in places considered to be tax havens like the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Switzerland.
Asked for an update on the search for Romney's running mate, Gillespie refused to divulge any new details, including on the timing of the announcement.
"He's narrowing the list, but I'm not going to betray any confidences," Gillespie said.