(CBS News) President Obama should apologize for his campaign's suggestion that Mitt Romney is either a criminal or a liar, the presumptive GOP nominee told CBS News' Jan Crawford in an interview Friday.
The president "ought to apologize for what he's doing," Romney told Crawford. The former Massachusetts governor sat down with all five networks one day after Mr. Obama's deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutterfor the former Massachusetts governor from Thursday's Boston Globe story, which alleged that Romney continued to head the private equity firm Bain Capital three years after he claimed to have left.
Cutter said in a conference call Thursday with reporters that if the allegations are true, then Romney is either a felon for "misrepresenting his position at Bain" to the Securities and Exchange Commission, or "he was lying to the American people."
Asked by Crawford whether he believes Mr. Obama owes him an apology for Cutter's remarks, Romney said, "Absolutely - my goodness!
"What kind of president would have a campaign that says something like that about the nominee of another party?" Romney said. "This is reckless and absurd on his part, and it's something that's beneath his dignity. I hope he recognizes that even fellow Democrats have said that.
"Look - the president needs to talk about the direction he'd take the country, and stop these kinds of ads and attacks that are so disparate from what the American people want to talk about," Romney concluded, adding later that the president "has demeaned the leadership which he should be bringing to this country."
Romney's history at Bain has long plagued his presidential ambitions; on Friday,for him to release his tax returns for a closer look into his assets and professional history with the firm. In an interview with CBS News on Thursday, such questions were appropriate, and merely "the nature of runnin' for president."
Read the transcript from the full interview.