By Kevin Liptak
(CNN) — Mitt Romney should not wait up for an “I’m sorry” phone call from President Obama after Democrats questioned the veracity of Romney’s statements surrounding his departure from Bain Capital.
Romney originally called for Obama to apologize Friday, saying on ABC that the president “sure as heck ought to say he’s sorry for the kinds of attacks that are coming from his team.”
“No, we won’t be apologizing,” Obama said in response. His remarks came during an interview airing Sunday on CNN affiliate WAVY, based in Norfolk, Virginia.
Last week, Democrats seized upon reports that Romney was listed as Bain Capital's CEO after 1999, when he has repeatedly said he left the private equity firm.
The significance of Romney's date of departure centers on companies acquired by Bain that later shipped jobs overseas. Romney claims he left the company before those decisions were made, but Democrats point to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that indicate Romney was still listed as the firm's CEO.
In his interview Sunday, Obama equated Romney's request for an apology as a political game.
"Sometimes these games are played during political campaigns," Obama said. "Understand what the issue is here. Mr. Romney claims that he's Mr. Fix-It for the economy because of his business experience, so I think voters, entirely legitimately, want to know what exactly was that business experience."
Obama said there was "nothing wrong" with a business mission of maximizing profits for investors, but drew the line at outsourcing jobs to countries with cheaper labor costs.
"That company was investing in other companies that The Washington Post called pioneers of outsourcing," Obama said. "And he's now claiming, 'Well I wasn't there at the time,' except he files an SEC listing that says he was CEO, chairman and president of the company. As president of the United States, one of the things I've learned is that anything that happens on my watch is my responsibility. That's what people expect."
In the interview, Obama waved off his rival's grievance that he's running an overwhelmingly negative campaign. The Romney campaign released an ad Sunday called "Hope and Change?" questioning whether the president's 2008 campaign slogan had proved disappeared in 2012.
"You don't hear me complaining a lot about what's been said about me," Obama said. "And Lord knows a lot's been said about me over the past three and a half years. I understand the nature of our democracy has always been a little bit messy like this."
Obama also said he was glad to see Romney speaking last week at the NAACP, and that the booing that met Romney's pledge to repeal the president's health care law indicated his rival was willing to speak to all Americans.
"It doesn't sound like it was too severe," Obama said of the audience response. "My understanding is that some on his campaign said, 'we expected that.' I think the truth is I'm glad to see he's competing for every vote, just like I am. That's the way it should work. I don't think any constituency is a lock for anybody."
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