In this heated presidential campaign, one issue has come to the forefront of the debate: Bain Capital and GOP challenger Mitt Romney’s role there. On Friday, the issue intensified after President Barack Obama, in an exclusive interview with ABC7’s Scott Thuman, said Romney needs to answer questions about it.
Obama’s comments to Thuman pushed Romney to come out publicly and ask for an apology from Obama for raising Bain Capital.
Watch the full interview with Obama, only on ABC7. And here are some choice excerpts from the exclusive interview.
SCOTT THUMAN: Thank you so much for the time.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Great to see you.
THUMAN: Let's talk about enthusiasm first of all. Big crowd today (Friday in Virginia). We still see long lines wherever you go.
THUMAN: At the same time some polling indicates maybe the fire in the belly isn't as intense this time around. You worried at all about the novelty wearing off, maybe some enthusiasm drop?
OBAMA: Well look. 2008, obviously your first time around in some ways it was lightning in a bottle. There were so many young people who just automatically got involved and you know, we've gone through three and a half tough years. The economy is tough, especially for young people and yet, what I've been really encouraged about here in Virginia and all across the country, we are still seeing just tons of volunteers getting involved. I think the reason is they understand in some ways this election is more important than 2008.
THUMAN: What about Bain Capital? It's a big issue for the past 24 hours right now and Mitt Romney's campaign says he left in '99, Yours says it's 2001. There's a significant difference. Is he being dishonest with the American public?
OBAMA: You know, Harry Truman said the buck stops with you. Now my understanding is that Mr. Romney attested to the SEC multiple times that he was the chairman, CEO and president of Bain Capital.
Ultimately Mr. Romney is going to have to answer those questions because if he aspires to be president, one of the things you learn is you're ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations. But again, that's probably a question that he's going to have to answer.
(Romney, however, has come and defended his record: “But there's a difference between being a shareholder, an owner if you will, and being a person who is running an entity," Romney says. "He sure as heck oughta say he's sorry for the kinds of attacks that are coming from his team.")
THUMAN: Talk about your first few years. Is there anything you believe you failed at, not because Congress wouldn't play ball, but that rests squarely on your shoulders?
OBAMA: In that area I have not been able to move the peace process forward in the middle east the way I wanted.
THUMAN: I want to know, what is it you absolutely love about campaigning and what is it you hate, but you can't say 'being away from your family'.
OBAMA: What I love is the interactions with people. They're just good, decent people and it gives you a lot of optimism.
Uh, thing I hate most, other than being away from my family. You end up eating a lot of stuff that tastes really good at the time but later on in the day can catch up with you and I'm now getting to the age where being in my own bed as opposed to some other bed, is not always great for my back.
Watch the full, exclusive interview here.