Romney 'Retired Retroactively' from Bain

Ed Gillespie went on State of the Union to explain that Romney "retired retroactively" from Bain in 2002, while a former Bain parter appeared on MSNBC to explain that it was a management board who ran the company while he was gone. Elsewhere: Republicans complain about Obama's ads while Democrats tell them to stop whining.

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Romney advisor Ed Gillespie went on CNN's State of the Union to clear up any suspicions over his boss's quit date at Bain Capitol. He explained that Romney "retired retroactively" from Bain in 2002 after he left to manage the Salt Lake Olympics. "You know there may have been a thought at the time that it could be part time. It was not part time. The Olympics was in a shambles,"  he said. "He took a leave of absence and in fact, Candy, ended up not going back at all and retired retroactively to February 1999 as a result." Gillespie also conceded Obama's attack ads were working. "They want to talk about anything other President Obama's dismal record on the economy, and it's working," he said.

Ed Conrad, a former Managing Director at Bain Capitol, explained that Bain was run by a management committee after Romney left because his transition was so sudden, they didn't have time to find a replacement during his appearance on MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes.  "It was a management committee running Bain, to try to transition from Mitt to a new structure," Conrad explained. "It took several years for us to sort out how to put the management team in place—there was a management team in place already—but for example we had to negotiate with Mitt because he was an owner of the firm, he’d created a lot of franchise value, and we were going to pay him for that," he said. Conrad explained he couldn't remember exactly how involved Mitt was with Bain, but he was mostly absent until his "retroactive" retirement in 2002. "It was ten years ago, so can I remember every single meeting? No," he said. "But I remember that Mitt was gone. We had a management team that was working hard to manage the company. We had to negotiate the terms of Mitt’s departure, and in fact everybody’s departure at that time, and it was difficult to get any time for Mitt to even get him and his attorneys to do that, because he was so busy working onthe Olympics."

Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott said Obama's Bain attack ads won't play as a factor in his swing state during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "Look, I think it’s going to come down – what Gov. Romney needs to do is keep talking about the plan he’s got to get our economy back to work," he said. "When you go to the polls and you decide in November, it’s going to be, who’s going to help me get my job back, who’s going to help me keep my job. They’re not going to worry about some attack on Bain. They’re going to worry about, who’s got the right jobs plan."

Continuing with the Republicans attacking Obama's attack ads theme, Iowa's Terry Branstad called the President's attack ads pathetic. "Well, it’s pretty pathetic when the president of the United States – instead of running on his record, as Ronald Reagan did with good morning in America – is spending his time attacking other people," Branstad said on Fox News Sunday. "Attacking Romney, attacking the entrepreneurs and the businesses that we need to have the guts to invest and create jobs and growour economy... It’s the blame game. And that’s the wrong thing for the president of the United States."

Joe Trippi said he was shocked over how unprepared the Romney campaign's been defending Obama's Bain Capitol attacks on Fox News Sunday. "My own view is I think this is really hurting Romney right now," Trippi said. Trippi advised Romney release evidence, like minutes from board meetings after his departure, to prove he distanced himself from the company when he left in '99. "As somebody who’s been in a presidential campaign you can’t let this stuff go unanswered. You’ve got to put the proof and the facts out there, and it didn’t seem like they were ready to do that," Trippi said.

Karl Rove was also on Fox News Sunday. He had advice for both Romney and Obama. For the President, he said his campaign needs to stop implying Romney did anything illegal while pseudo-running Bain. "The fact of the matter is that if the president continues to make this charge – this outrageous charge that his campaign had that Mitt Romney is guilty of felonious activity, could’ve committed a felony – that’s a big mistake," Rove said. "This is gutter politics of the worst Chicago sort," he said. To Romney, he advised the Republican candidate start talking more about what he's going to do once he makes it into office. "One of the best ways to define yourself is describe what it is you’ll do," he said. “The more he describes now what it is he will do when he becomes president…" At this point guest host Brit Hum interrupted and asked if Romney's not doing that enough. "I don’t think he is," Romney replied.

Rahm Emanuel gave Romney some tough love in his appearance on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopolous. "Stop whining," he told Romney, who wasn't there. "Give it up about Stephanie. Don't worry about that," he said, referencing Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter,who implied Romney might have done something illegal at Bain. "What are you going to do when the Chinese leader says something? Or Putin says to you? You're going to whine as your way? You cannot do that. And as Mitt Romney said once to his own Republican colleagues: Stop whining. I'll give him his own advice: Stop whining." If Romney's going to use his business experience, like his time running Bain, "as your calling card to the White House, then defend what happened at Bain Capital."

Speaking of Stephanie, she appeared on CBS's Face the Nation and said Romney might go blue in the face if he holds his breath waiting for an apology. "If you're signing an SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] 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?" she pondered. Cutter said she never called him a felon, but argued Romney either lied to the S.E.C. or he's lying now about his work with Bain after his retroactive retirement. "He's not going to get an apology," she said.

Obama's senior advisor David Axelrod wouldn't say if he thought Romney did anything illegal, but explained that a guy who's taken advantage of "every single conceivable tax shelter loophole" probably should be in charge of tax reform. "I’m not suggesting that based on what we know, that he’s done anything illegal," Axelrod said on State of the Union. "But what I am suggesting is that he’s taken advantage of every single conceivable tax shelter loophole that we can see. And now is he the guy that’s gonna clean up our tax code and make it advantageous to average taxpayers and the country? Or is he gonna look at it through the lens of his own experience?"

Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer was caught off guard after the Romney campaign debuted a new ad during his show that featured remarks he made questioning David Axelrod over the campaign's use of negative ads. The ad's title comes from Schieffer asking, "Whatever happened to 'hope and change'?" It also features quotes from the New York Times' David Brooks and Time's Mark Halperin talking about Obama's negative ads. "That was a question that I posed to David Axelrod -- not a statement," Schieffer said on Sunday. "I have no affiliation with the Romney campaign. This was done without our permission." After explaining the footage was used without his permission, he worried he might face some criticism for appearing in the ad. "I'm sure I'll get some blowback." This is the ad:

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