Romney campaign disputes Obama ad claiming role in Bain deal with Chinese firm

Lawmakers issue warning on companies after new report


Mitt Romney's campaign lashed back at an Obama campaign ad that suggests Romney had a hand in a 2007 business deal in which his former firm Bain Capital sought a corporate takeover with the help of a Chinese firm accused of being a security threat.

“Pretending Governor Romney was somehow involved in a Bain Capital decision eight years after he left the firm is a perfect example of what President Obama has admitted – his campaign ads sometimes go 'overboard' and make up facts," the Romney campaign said. "False and ludicrous attacks like these prove that President Obama can’t run on his own record."

The Obama ad notes that the Chinese company Huawei tried to partner with Bain Capital to buy defense contractor 3Com.

"Mitt Romney had a piece of the deal," the ad says, claiming that Romney wouldn't oppose it.

But the Romney campaign noted that Romney gave up the reins of Bain in 1999 to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics, and it quoted Romney as saying at the time that the Defense Department would rightly determine whether the venture is allowed. The deal never went through.

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The dustup over the ad came on the same day that The House Intelligence Committee warned in a report that U.S. regulators should block mergers and acquisitions in this country by Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Corp, among the world's leading suppliers of telecommunications gear and mobile phones.

Reflecting U.S. concern over cyber-attacks traced to China, the report also recommends that U.S. government computer systems not include any components from the two firms because that could pose an espionage risk.

The committee's chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich, told a news conference the Chinese companies could not be trusted with access to computer networks that support everything from power grids to finance systems.

The recommendations are the result of a yearlong probe, including a congressional hearing last month in which senior Chinese executives of both companies denied posing a security threat and being under Beijing's influence.

Rogers said they are clearly tied to the Chinese government, and that allowing Huawei and ZTE to provide network equipment and services in America risks confidential consumer information and undermines core national security interests. He said the committee was not concerned about the sales of handsets that make up the bulk of their U.S. businesses, but rather network infrastructure where they have made fewer inroads.

William Plummer, vice president for external affairs for Huawei, said his company, a private entity founded by a former Chinese military engineer, was being victimized because of U.S. government concerns about China's government.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.