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Richard Adams, Thursday 12th July 2012 22:44
And finally, Marty Baron, editor of the Boston Globe, says he won't be correcting anything in the Romney-Bain story.
Via Dylan Byers of Politico, here's Baron's email response to Romney aide Gail Gitcho:
We received your request late this afternoon for a correction regarding this morning's Globe story. Having carefully reviewed that request, we see no basis for publishing a correction. The Globe story was entirely accurate.
The Globe story was based on government documents filed by Bain Capital itself. Those described Governor Romney as remaining at the helm of Bain Capital as its "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" until 2002. The story also cited state financial disclosure forms filed by Romney that showed he earned income as a Bain "executive" in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
The Globe story accurately described the contents of those documents.
(In unrelated news, Bain Capital makes multimillion-dollar takeover of the Boston Globe tomorrow and presents Marty Baron with handsome cardboard box as farewell gift, then outsources all editorial functions to India.)
So in the last couple of hours, more documents have emerged – the Associated Press got some from the state of Massachusetts – followed by more denials that Mitt Romney even thought about Bain Capital post February 1999.
Now the Romney campaign is asking for the Boston Globe to issue a retraction and for the Obama campaign to apologise:
Mitt Romney's campaign manager called Thursday for President Obama to apologize for his campaign staff's "out of control behavior," but the Obama campaign says there's no apology coming.
"No," Obama press secretary Ben LaBolt said in response to a question from Politico about whether the president would apologize.
In summary: Mitt Romney signed official documents saying he was in charge of Bain Capital but he didn't actually do anything because he was running the Winter Olympics.
Somehow I think we'll probably hear more about this tomorrow.
new Pew poll has Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by 50% to 43% among registered voters nationwide.A
That seems a little above other recent polls, and Pew also records Obama's job approval rating at a buoyant 50% – up slightly from 47% last month. That's the first time Obama's approval rating has been in positive territory since March according to Pew.
Much of the detail is also good news for Obama:
More generally, Mitt Romney has lost ground over the past month on the issue of the economy. The eight-point advantage he held in June as the candidate better able to improve the economy has now flipped, with 48% saying Obama can better improve economic conditions, while 42% favor Romney.
Of 12 issues tested, Romney is seen as stronger than Obama on only one – reducing the federal budget deficit – while Obama has the edge on eight. By two-to-one (60%-30%) Obama is seen as the candidate who would better deal with the problems of poor people. By a 50% to 36% margin, more voters say Obama better reflects their view on social issues like abortion and gay rights. Obama also holds 12-point leads as the candidate better able to defend against terrorist attacks and deal with the nation's energy problems.
One factor that might be dragging Romney down? Opinion of the Republican party among independent voters has grown more negative since 2008: "Today, nearly twice as many independents have an unfavorable than favorable view of the Republican Party (61% to 31%)."
Hello, this is actual news – well, it's an opinion poll from Texas showing that long-shot Tea Party conservative Ted Cruz is now leading wealthy GOP mainstream candidate David Dewhurst.
Blimey, as they say in Texas. That's quite a turn-around from few months ago
PP's first poll of the Texas Senate runoff finds Ted Cruz with a surprising 49-44 lead and a much more enthusiastic cadre of supporters than former front runner David Dewhurst.
Cruz's lead expands to a whooping 59-36 margin over Dewhurst among voters who describe themselves as 'very excited' about voting in the election. The lower turnout is, the better Cruz's chances will be. Dewhurst leads 51-43 with 'somewhat excited' voters and 50-36 with those who say they are 'not that excited.' The big question is whether those less enthused folks will actually bother to turn out or not.
This race is one of the most stark examples of the Tea Party movement propelling a candidate that we've seen to date. 40% of voters identify themselves as members of that movement and Cruz has a 71-26 advantage with them. Dewhurst leads 57-34 with non-Tea Partiers, and they are 50% of the electorate, but it's not nearly enough to drown out Cruz's advantage with that group.
It turns out that the Tea Party's not dead after all.
Mitt Romney's campaign manager Matt Rhoades has released a statement calling on President Barack Obama to apologize for his campaign's attacks speculating that Romney could be accused of a felony following today's Boston Globe report examining Romney's separation from Bain Capital.
The Associated Press has a stab at explaining why anyone should care when Mitt Romney left Bain Capital:
Questions about Romney's control at Bain from 1999 to 2001 are important in his bid to oust President Barack Obama this fall. That's when the company oversaw investments that either sent jobs abroad or filed for bankruptcy. It's also a time during which Romney stated in federal disclosure forms that he was not active in Bain Capital.
For example, in late 1999, Bain-controlled Steam International set up overseas call centers, and a subsidiary moved jobs from California to Mexico. In 2000, the Ampad company declared bankruptcy. The following year, so did steel-maker GS Industries – just as Bain made $58.4m from its investment.
And it has an expert explaining the meaning of Romney's signing of SEC documents during that same period:
James Cox, a securities law professor at Duke University, said the SEC's "Schedule 13D" forms have always been under legal scrutiny by SEC officials and company executives. He said law firms hired to file such reports, known as "beneficial ownership reports" because they deem who can sell securities, "pay great attention to these forms. I don't find that these parts of the documents are casually reported."
"It's hard for me to believe you could be listed as 'management anything' without it taking up a bulk of your time," said Cox
Unless you actually live in Maine, state governor Paul LePage is a constant source of amusement. Or bemusement. Or horror.
Here he is supposedly trying to apologise for comparing the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo, as he did last week:
[The] Maine governor said, "What I am trying to say is the Holocaust was a horrific crime against humanity and, frankly, I would never want to see that repeated. Maybe the IRS is not quite as bad — yet."
LePage then said, "They're headed in that direction."
Asked if he had a sense of what the Gestapo did during the second world war, LePage said, "Yeah, they killed a lot of people." Asked whether the IRS "was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people," LePage answered: "Yeah."
It's not entirely clear how exactly that qualifies as an apology.
That's via Vermont's awesome Seven Days.
To accept some of the claims, one would have to believe that Romney, with the advice of his lawyers, lied on government documents and committed a criminal offense. Moreover, you would have to assume he willingly gave up his share to a few years of retirement earnings – potentially worth millions of dollars – so he could say his retirement started in 1999.
And here's a FactCheck.org response to the Obama campaign's complaints on the subject, from the start of this month:
And after reviewing evidence cited by the Obama campaign, we reaffirm our conclusion that Romney left the helm of Bain Capital when he took a leave of absence in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics – as he has said repeatedly – and never returned to active management.
The problem is that Romney took what FactCheck.org earlier described as "a leave of absence in February 1999 to head the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics, and he did not return to the company." But he remained owner and chief executive, even if in name only.
It was only when Romney decided to run to be governor of Massachusetts that he formally cut his remaining legal ties to Bain.
Has the Obama campaign over-reached on this? Unless there's more to it, it would appear it has.
More from Bain itself:
Apart from banking the checks as they arrived, one imagines.
The Senate majority leader said Thursday the US Olympic Committee should be "ashamed" for providing uniforms to its athletes that were made overseas and suggested they be destroyed.
"They should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them," the Nevada Democrat told reporters at a news conference on a Democratic jobs bill.
Actually it's worse than that, Harry: the kit includes a French-style beret.
Romney was not just a businessman. He was a management consultant and later a venture capitalist: in other words, one of the high priests of business who never had to soil their suits by running one. He surely knows and (one suspects) believes that free trade and outsourcing are good things for an economy.
But instead of a full-throated defense of these principles and his practice of them as advantages he would bring, as a businessman, to the presidency, he merely says that nothing he did was illegal. Even in 2012, we don't elect people president on the grounds that they did nothing illegal. I hope.
The FT's Alan Beattie makes a similar point:
The Obama campaign has for weeks been accusing Mr Romney of being a flint-hearted outsourcer while governing both Bain Capital and Massachusetts. Mr Romney first hit back by showcasing his rare talent for turning somewhat sensible sentiments into rhetorical own goals – "corporations are people"; "I'm not concerned about the very poor" – his campaign emphasising the distinction between outsourcing – companies buying in services or products rather than doing them inhouse – and offshoring – buying stuff from foreign companies or setting up operations abroad to serve the US market.
When that accurate but semantic argument failed to get traction, the Republicans this week took what a Latin teacher from Mr Romney's prep school would have called the tu quoque riposte, making almost equally tenuous claims about Mr Obama's policies sending jobs abroad
So when did Mitt Romney leave Bain Capital? He says it was in 1999. But the official documents he signed say 2002.
Whether it matters or not is one thing – and whether voters care is another – but the Obama campaign thinks it's on to something here and the Romney campaign is just as vehement in its denials.
Both Bain and Romney's campaign have dismissed the discrepancy as a technicality – a mere matter of bookkeeping and that Romney had no executive management role at Bain whatsoever after 1999. And yet he didn't sign a resignation deal with Bain until 2002 – although the deal was backdated to 1999.
Here's what a Romney advisor told Politico's Dylan Byers:
Romney wasn't involved in any investment decisions. He was on the SEC filings because he was still technically the owner but hadn't transferred ownership to other partners.
The smart folk at BuzzFeed Politics catch Romney saying publicly: "I worked for one company, Bain, for 25 years," during a Republican presidential debate on 9 November 2011. Since he says he started at Bain in 1977, 25 years takes him up to 2002.
Oh, and in an interview in May this year:
Asked if he "welcomes" scrutiny of his time at Bain, Romney replied, "Well, of course."
But why all the worry over dates? Outsourcing, it appears, since Bain got more heavily involved in the process post-1999.
People who interacted with Romney at Bain between 1999 and 2002 – and who would corroborate the storyline suggested by the SEC filing haven't emerged. Nor have documents or other details that would suggest Romney has been lying about when he left the company. But, Bauer hinted, there might be new developments to come. "I would stay very much tuned on that," he said.
Still on Mitt Romney and Bain Capital, Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign's counsel, has made a statement:
Romney and Bain claim that he was not involved with Bain, but Bain and its portfolio companies in their required filings under the Securities Exchange Act continuously certified to the Securities and Exchange Commission say precisely the opposite – asserting without qualification that he was a controlling person, fully in charge of Bain, under the Federal securities law. Under normal circumstances, the question of the truth of this representation would result in an investigation by the SEC into possible criminal, as well as civil, violations of the law.
hears deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter drop the f-word (felony) on Mitt Romney over the Boston Globe's Bain Capital management story:BuzzFeed Politics listens into the Obama campaign conference call and
Cutter said that there were two ways to interpret the story. The first: Mitt Romney was "misrepresenting his position" at Bain to the Securities and Exchange Commission, "which is a felony."
Or, he was "misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people. If that's the case, if he was lying to the American people, that's a real character and trust issue," Cutter said.
Cutter called on the Romney campaign to clear up by the issue by releasing the candidate's tax returns.
"If the SEC filings aren't accurate, then prove it," she said.
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign was holding a fairly aggressive conference call on Mitt Romney's Bain Capital position, running very hard with the Boston Globe story.
Quite a barnstorming performance by Joe Biden in Houston today.
Oh dear, are we talking 2016 already?
Amy Walter of ABC News has a better perspective on the NAACP's reaction to Biden.
As Joe Biden tells the NAACP that he's getting close to the end, there's some booing. See, bipartisan audience. Except people are shouting "No!" for a slightly different reason than yesterday.
"This election, in my view, is a fight for the heart and soul of America," Biden says in rousing peroration. And then says of the Romney campaign: "These guys aren't bad guys – they just have a fundamentally different view."
That's a reminder of Biden's 2008 role memorably satirized by Saturday Night Live:
I love John McCain. He is one of my dearest friends. But, at the same time, he's also dangerously unbalanced. I mean, let's be frank, John McCain – and again, this is a man I would take a bullet for – is bad at his job and is mentally unstable. As my mother would say, "God love him but he's a raging maniac" – and a dear, dear friend.
Biden gets on to civil rights and accusations of voter suppression. "Did you think we'd be fighting these battles again?" Biden asked his NAACP audience "We went through these battles, I didn't think we'd be back."
Biden drops in a reference to controversial former judge Robert Bork – an advisor to the Romney campaign – and told the audience: "Close your eyes and imagine what the Romney department of justice will look like.... Imagine when his senior adviser on the constitution is Robert Bork."
He goes on: "Imagine what the Supreme Court will look like after four years of the Romney presidency."
Vice president Joe Biden is running through the Obama administration's first term achievements in his speech to the NAACP, with highlights being the killing of Osama bin Laden, the rescue of the auto companies and healthcare reform as previously mentioned.
No mention of unemployment so far.
Back to the NAACP national conference in Houston, where Joe Biden is speaking to the crowd that gave Mitt Romney a hard time yesterday. Let's see if Biden can win over an audience from the unpromising position of near-total support of its membership.
Biden kicks off by talking about Obama's healthcare reforms, saying of the president "He was right, he was right." No boos this time.
The Republican presidential candidate himself spent yesterday brushing off the booing he received at the NAACP annual conference.
Romney spent the evening at a fund raising event in Montana and laced into his critics by accusing them and others like them of just wanting handouts from the government, according to remarks quoted by the pool report:
When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren't happy... That's ok, I want people to know what I stand for and if I don't stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that's just fine. But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy – more free stuff. But don't forget nothing is really free.
And there we were thinking healthcare coverage was provided by unicorns.
How does Mitt Romney's campaign respond to the Boston Globe's allegations? By declining to comment, always a winning media strategy.
The campaign declined to comment on the record. It pointed to a footnote in Romney's most recent financial disclosure form, filed June 1 as a presidential candidate.
"Since February 11, 1999, Mr Romney has not had any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way,'' according to the footnote.
Bain Capital released its own statement:
Mitt Romney retired from Bain Capital in February 1999. He has had no involvement in the management or investment activities of Bain Capital, or with any of its portfolio companies, since that time.
That's fairly plain, you'd think. But how about an explanation of how Romney's name came to be on official SEC documents recording him as "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" – another statement that seems fairly plain.
Here's how the Romney campaign explained it to the Globe:
A Romney campaign official, who requested anonymity to discuss the SEC filings, acknowledged that they "do not square with common sense." But SEC regulations are complicated and quirky, the official argued, and Romney's signature on some documents after his exit does not indicate active involvement in the firm.
Updated: a statement from Andrea Saul of Romney's campaign with a strong denial:
The article is not accurate. As Bain Capital has said, as Governor Romney has said, and as has been confirmed by independent fact checkers multiple times, Governor Romney left Bain Capital in February of 1999 to run the Olympics and had no input on investments or management of companies after that point.
lands a punch with this piece that appears to show Mitt Romney being economic with the actualité over a key section of his resume: his time at Bain Capital:The Boston Globe, meanwhile,
Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm's "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president."
Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney's state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain "executive" in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
The timing of Romney's departure from Bain is a key point of contention because he has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date.
The outsourcing investment in China that Mother Jones is revealing happened in 1998, when there's no dispute that Romney was at the helm of Bain.
Funny really. Since Mitt Romney is always touting his years in business as the key fact of his resume, then the longer he was working at Bain Capital the better, no? That's usually how resumes and experience works.
Mother Jones has a smart story about the investment by Bain Capital – while Romney was its chief executive – in a Chinese firm named Global-Tech Appliances that manufactured branded products for household names such as Hamilton Beach and Revlon:Meanwhile,
According to government documents reviewed by Mother Jones, Romney, when he was in charge of Bain, invested heavily in a Chinese manufacturing company that depended on US outsourcing for its profits — and that explicitly stated that such outsourcing was crucial to its success.
This previously unreported deal runs counter to Romney's tough talk on the campaign trail regarding China. "We will not let China continue to steal jobs from the United States of America," Romney declared in February. But with this investment, Romney sought to make money off a foreign company that banked on American firms outsourcing manufacturing overseas.
The response from the Romney campaign was detailed and frank. Ha, just kidding. It was a flat refusal to respond other than with a vague denial.
A spokeswoman for Bain says that the company will not comment on the Global-Tech investment or provide any additional details about this deal. A Romney campaign official would not address the issue of Global-Tech profiting from US outsourcing, but this Romney aide maintains that this deal was nothing other than a routine investment in a foreign company.
Yeah, I wouldn't provide any further details either.
Here's that crass Bloomberg Businessweek cover in full. It's like something from a cover of the UK's Private Eye but without the humour.
The article inside is headlined "How the Mormons Make Money". Which is in itself provocative: replace "Mormon" with the name of another well-known US ethnic-religious group and see how far that would go.
Keep this up and people will start feeling sorry for Mitt Romney.
Another day and another slew of unanswered questions about Mitt Romney's background as head of Bain Capital, the basis of the Republican candidate's claims of qualification to be president.
The Boston Globe has found documents suggesting that Romney remained in a legal executive position at the venture capital firm that he founded well past the 1999 date when Romney's resume says he left.
Meanwhile, Mother Jones's David Corn has reported on Bain Capital's investment in a Chinese manufacturer dedicated to outsourcing consumer goods production from household names in the US such as Sunbeam and Mr Coffee.
The Romney campaign rejects both sets of claims – and has launched a counterattack accusing the Democratic party and the Obama campaign of lying.
Here's a summary of today's political developments by Ryan Devereaux:
• Mitt Romney faces further revelations today about his period at Bain Capital. The Boston Globe cites government documents filed by Romney and the company reveal that he was still chief executive and chairman of the firm three years after the date he said he gave up control. Filings seen by the Globe show that he was CEO until at least 2002. Romney has said he gave up control of the firm in 1999. Bain said on Wednesday that Romney "retired" in 1999 and had "no involvement in the management or investment activities" of the company since then.
• After weeks of attacks on his record at Bain Capital without a direct response, Romney and his campaign have released a web ad challenging the claims of president Obama and his supporters. The ad goes so far as to say "Candidate Obama lied about Hillary Clinton … But America expects more from a president". The response marks a shift for Romney, who has been criticized by conservatives for reacting timidly in the face of the accusations.
• Vice president Joe Biden will address the nation's largest civil rights organization, the NAACP, today. The speech comes a day after Romney addressed the organization and – despite a largely polite reception – received boos for saying he would repeal President Obama's healthcare reform law. Biden is expected to defend the president's record to black voters. More than nine out 10 black voters supported the president in 2008 and recent polls show Obama with comparable levels this year.
• Romney has defended his NAACP speech. Speaking at a fundraiser in Montana on Wednesday night, Romney said: "By the way, I had the privilege of speaking today at the NAACP convention in Houston and I gave them the same speech I am giving you. I don't give different speeches to different audiences, alright. I gave them the same speech. When I mentioned I am going to get rid of Obamacare they weren't happy, I didn't get the same response." Technically speaking, Romney did give a different speech to the NAACP, though he did stick to his standard policy platforms.
• The cover of the new issue of Bloomberg Businessweek takes a provocative shot at Romney's Mormon religion. It depicts Jesus Christ with his hands on the heads of two kneeling disciples – dressed in 19th century Joseph Smith garb. Next to Christ's head is a word bubble that reads: "...And thou shalt build a shopping mall, own stock in Burger King and open a Polynesian theme park in Hawaii that shall be largely exempt from the frustrations of tax." The image corresponds to the issue's cover story, Inside the Mormon Empire.