Stephanie Cutter: 'We Weren't Making an Argument That Bain Was Bad'

By Elizabeth Harrington | December 3, 2012 | 12:37 PM EST

Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter. (AP)

( – Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said Friday that “we weren’t making an argument that Bain was bad” during the heated presidential election, in reference to the venture capital firm founded by Republican Mitt Romney.

Over the summer, however, Cutter was linked to a Super PAC ad that accused Mitt Romney’s venture capital company of being responsible for a woman’s death.

"We weren't making an argument ... that Bain was bad," Cutter said at the 2012 RootsCamp progressive conference in Washington, D.C.  "We were making an argument that this experience does not qualify you to be president of the United States or to understand the real economy.”

“We obviously worked hard to tear that down, and they never built it back up,” she said.  “I never understood why."

"I don't know if they didn't have a good understanding as to the deals that we were talking about, or the history of Romney at Bain, but I never understood why they didn't make a counter-argument to what we were saying -- which was his sole credential," Cutter added.  "Remember, it was really the only thing he put on the table to qualify him as president."

A large part of the Obama campaign strategy revolved around criticizing Romney's business record at Bain Capital.  In August, Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama Super PAC, featured ads in swing states that told the story of Joe Soptic, who worked at the GST Steel Plant in Kansas City, which was closed by Bain Capital in 2001.  (Mitt Romney had left Bain Capital two years earlier, in 1999, to run the Salt Lake Olympics).

In this Oct. 16, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney exchange views during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

In the ad Soptic suggests Romney is responsible for his wife’s death, saying, “I don’t think Mitt Romney understands what he’s done,” before he explains that his wife died of cancer after losing her own health insurance in 2003.  His wife was covered by her own employer until that point, while Soptic had separately lost his job and insurance when the plant closed in 2001.

Cutter, though she denied any knowledge of the story, had hosted Soptic on a conference call in May 2012, thanking him for sharing his experiences.

An official Obama campaign ad, which also featured Soptic, called Romney a “vampire.”  Bain “came in and sucked the life out of us,” one person in the ad said.

“It was like watching a friend bleed to death,” Soptic said of his experience.  Other official ads deemed Romney a “corporate raider.”

During the campaign, Cutter also suggested that Romney might have committed a felony because of his federal business filings at Bain.

“Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony,” she said. “Or, he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments.”

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