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Richard Adams, Monday 16th July 2012 21:21
Even if it's accepted that Mitt Romney had nothing to do with Bain Capital post February 1999, what does Romney have to say about it's subsequent activities?
An extensive review of public filings by the Huffington Post reveals several instances of Romney being tied to Bain deals that could be or have proven politically problematic.
In April 1999 and March 2000, for example, SEC filings by the American Pad & Paper Company noted that Bain Venture Capital, an arm of the private equity firm, "may be deemed to be the beneficial owner" of entities that held millions of shares of company stock. Among the "general partners of BVC" listed in that filing was "W Mitt Romney."
In January 2000, Ampad defaulted on the debt it had accumulated under Bain's control and filed for bankruptcy. By December of that year, it had ceased to be a publicly traded company.
The Romney campaign has said he did not have "any active role with any Bain Capital entity and has not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way" since Feb. 11, 1999, when he left to head the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The SEC filing says nothing about the extent of Romney's involvement with Ampad in late 1999 and early 2000, but it does show that he held a title at Bain Venture Capital during that period.
No smoking gun though.
President Obama was in Cincinnati today – and he followed up his campaign's attacks on Mitt Romney as an outsourcer with another fairly brutal one:
We have not found any serious economic study that says Governor Romney's economic plan would actually create jobs – until today. I've got to be honest. Today we found out there's a new study out by nonpartisan economists that says Governor Romney's economic plan would, in fact, create 800,000 jobs.
There's only one problem. The jobs wouldn't be in America.
They would not be in America. They would be in other countries. By eliminating taxes on corporation's foreign income, Governor Romney's plan would actually encourage companies to shift more of their operations to foreign tax havens, creating 800,000 jobs in those other countries.
Now, this shouldn't be a surprise because Governor Romney's experience has been investing in what were called pioneers of the business of outsourcing. Now he wants to give more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas.
So, I want everybody to understand, Ohio, I've got a different theory. We don't need a president who plans to ship more jobs overseas, or wants to give more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in Ohio.
Outside a Louisiana fundraiser on Monday, senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom said Romney hadn't finalized his decision but that an announcement could come within days.
Asked specifically whether Romney could announce his vice presidential pick this week, Fehrnstrom said: "Technically it could, but the governor hasn't made a decision. It will only happen after he makes a decision.
Mind you, if I was a Romney adviser right now I'd be talking up the VP pick as well. It's either that or Bainmageddon.
a copy of the 1967 magazine article by the reporter who "badgered" Mitt's dad George Romney into releasing his tax returns, apparently merely by asking for them.BuzzFeed Politics is having a good day – it has posted
As the old saying goes: Like father, like son but not really.
Nebraska failed to push him over the finishing line at the weekend:Ron Paul won't even get a vanity nomination for the Republican presidential ticket, after
Paul needed to win a majority of the delegates in Nebraska to add to the four other states he had won, and meet the five-state threshold he needed to at least maintain his longshot bid for the Republican nomination.
When all the votes were counted, the Texas congressman only won two of Nebraska's 35 national slots – despite rallying supporters the night before on a conference call.
tracking poll: Barack Obama 47%, Mitt Romney 45%. Romney should just concede now on the basis of that. Not really.Gallup
In Louisiana – where Mitt Romney is meeting with governor Bobby Jindal and holding a fundraiser – pool reporters say that the Romney campaign's Eric Fehrnstrom told them: "There is no decision on VP."
So relax everyone. Until tomorrow, that is.
challenged to release his tax returns back in 2002 when he was running to be governor of Massachusetts. It includes this exchange:BuzzFeed Politics has video of Mitt Romney being
Question: Mr Romney, you have refused to release your tax returns... Do you have anything to hide?
Romney: Ah hahahaha. I believe deeply in my personal privacy.
Oh and Romney justified not releasing tax returns in 2002 because of (a) the wife of someone he wasn't running against, and (b) someone he ran against in a different election eight years previously. It all makes sense.
Thus the entirely true charge that Mr Romney wants to slash historically low tax rates on the rich even further dovetails perfectly with his own record of extraordinary tax avoidance — so extraordinary that he's evidently afraid to let voters see his tax returns from before 2010. The equally true charge that he's pushing policies that would benefit the rich at the expense of ordinary working Americans meshes with Bain's record of earning big profits even when workers suffered — a record so stark that Mr Romney is attempting to distance himself from part of it by insisting that he had nothing to do with Bain's operations after 1999, even though the company continued to list him as CEO and sole owner until 2002. And so on.
Is "his own record of extraordinary tax avoidance" the reason why Romney is sitting on his tax records? Who can say. Given that it appears to be pretty well known that Mitt Romney is a rich guy with offshore accounts, it's hard to believe. At the moment Romney's taking hitd both for not releasing the tax records and for being a rich guy with ... etc.
After taping five TV interviews on Friday on his role at Bain Capital – and failing to do anything other than restate his previous talking points – Mitt Romney dragged himself onto Fox News's Fox & Friends show this morning to try again.
And this time Romney blamed his refusal to publish his full spread of tax returns on the wife of a 2004 presidential candidate. Who's advising Mitt Romney on PR these days, Tom Cruise?
This is what Romney told Fox & Friends:
John Kerry who ran for president – you know, his wife who has hundreds of millions of dollars – she never released her tax returns.
Two problems here. One is that Teresa Heinz-Kerry wasn't running for president. The other is that she did.
Can no one at Romney's Boston HQ use Google? Ask an intern.
searching piece by veteran Democratic strategist Joe Trippi that sums up the dilemma for Mitt Romney over his Bain drain:Fox News's website carries a
This political mishandling of Bain set the current trap that the Obama campaign has sprung – and the Romney campaign has no one to blame but itself.
Come November, we may look back on this past week and find this was the week Romney lost the election, or the week that finally woke up his campaign to the reality that they need a better strategy to deal with these attacks.
But his current strategy of stonewalling doesn't pass the smell test.
Romney now is either the first sole shareholder, chairman, CEO and president of a company in history to claim that he had nothing whatsoever to do with managing that company or he is responsible for the worst practices of Bain.
Yes, Fox News. Fair and balanced – sometimes, believe it or not.
choice soundbite from Romney campaign staff member and senior advisor Ed Gillespie, which blogger Taegan Goddard mocked as "Romney campaign comes up with worst talking point ever":Amid all the Bain-o-rama over the weekend, there was this
There may have been a thought at the time that it could be part time, but it was not part time.... He took a leave of absence and in fact he ended up not going back at all, and retired retroactively to 1999 as a result.
And how could anyone have any questions about that? Hmm?
Continuing the "I know you are but what am I?" technique that the Romney campaign has applied throughout the presidential campaign to date:
After the Obama campaign used a video clip of Romney singing in an attack ad, Romney's latest web ad features ... guess what?
No word on whether this ad will ever appear on a television. But Elise Foley speaks for everyone with this tweet.
Los Angeles Times has a good backgrounder on the race that may give the Tea Party its biggest upset of 2012:The Texas senate run-off primary between Tea Party favourite Ted Cruz and establishment GOP candidate David Dewhurst is looming – and the
Cruz, 41, has been likened to Marco Rubio, another young Cuban American and tea party star who entered the Senate last year after beating moderate Florida Republican Governor Charlie Crist.
Cruz has been endorsed by Sean Hannity, Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin. Like Rubio, Cruz sells himself as a fighter up against not just President Obama but a spendthrift Republican establishment — including Dewhurst, 66.
Boston Globe is one of several outlets suggesting that the Romney campaign may announce the Republican vice presidential pick as early as this week:The
Mitt Romney is scheduled to visit Louisiana today, raising money and meeting privately with Governor Bobby Jindal, a prospective running mate, as he enters one of two remaining windows for announcing his vice presidential pick.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has from today until the end of next week to announce a pick, before departing for the Summer Olympics in London and visits to Israel and Poland.
Romney's second window opens around August 12, when the media dominance of the Olympics ends, children in many parts of the country head back to school, and the Republican Party gears up for its national nominating convention in Tampa, Florida.
Personally I'd expect Romney to wait until after the Olympics have finished because why allow something else to step on your big news? But as we've seen of late, the Romney campaign does not appear to be staffed by the sharpest knives in the drawer.
in the running to be Mitt Romney's vice presidential sidekick – South Dakota senator John Thune:Another for the list of speculation about "worthy dull white guys"
In an interview with The Hill, Thune acknowledged he's been to Boston to meet Romney's senior advisers and has met Beth Myers, who is leading the search for the vice presidential nominee.
Be still my racing heart. Seriously, John Thune makes Tim Pawlenty seem exciting. And as Vanity Fair joked: Pawlenty makes himself fall asleep when he looks in the mirror.
It's hard to say exactly what's gone with the Romney campaign in the last couple of weeks:
As I was saying, it's hard to know exactly what's gone wrong....
The spot uses clips of television personalities questioning the increasing negativity of Obama's 2012 campaign. CBS host Bob Schieffer, shown during an interview with Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, wonders in the ad: "Whatever happened to hope and change? Now it seems he's just coming right out of the box with these old-fashioned, negative ads."
On his show Sunday, Schieffer reacted to the new Romney spot, saying the campaign hadn't sought permission to use his clip.
"That was a question that I posed to David Axelrod for the president's campaign manager. I wasn't stating something there. I was asking somebody else a question," Schieffer said.
My Guardian colleague Ewen MacAskill was listening in to this morning's media conference call with the Romney campaign, and hears aides at Romney's Boston headquarters trying to move the story along:
The Romney campaign held a phone conference with reporters on Monday morning in what looks like another desperate bid to switch the focus from the candidate's record with Bain and his tax affairs.
The new Romney line from one of his advisers, Ed Gillespie, is that "there is a sense of Chicacgo-style politics being brought into DC". Basically, those with the right political connections get favours.
But the Romney campaign then over-elaborated, with a convoluted argument about favours given to Obama donors has led to the out-sourcing of US jobs overseas.
In terms of distracting media attention, it was far from successful. Of a handful of questions taken, one was about Romney's role at Bain Capital and the other was when Romney would release his tax returns.
Mitt Romney's refusal to release a fuller set of his tax returns is already attracting criticism from within his own party.
Romney has published his 2010 returns and says he'll release his 2011 returns eventually. But he refuses to go further and on Friday Romney told CNN:
People always want to get more and we're putting out what is required plus more that is not required. And those are the two years that people are going to have and that's all that's necessary for people to understand something about my finances.
Apart from being an awful soundbite – basically, "drop dead," politely – Romney's stance isn't pleasing some Republicans who fear he has something to hide.
Alabama's GOP governor Robert Bentley said over the weekend:
If you have things to hide, then maybe you're doing things wrong. I think you ought to be willing to release everything to the American people.
The best thing to do is just get everything out in the open and just say, 'hey I have nothing to hide and I'm going to release my tax returns'
Later, Bentley clarified his remarks, saying he wasn't implying that Romney has anything to hide but that he still believes Romney's taxes should be released for reasons of transparency.
frantic weekend of political activity over the Bain of Mitt Romney's existence:The Guardian's Ewen MacAskill rounds up a
Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager, insisted that the Republican challenger was "not going to get an apology" and that he should "stop whining".
The issue of when exactly Romney left private equity firm Bain Capital dominated the White House campaign for a fourth successive day on Sunday.
Kevin Madden, a senior Romney adviser, who sat beside Cutter on CBS's Face the Nation, described it as "troubling" that the Obama campaign would label an "honourable" man such as Romney a felon.
Of course Mitt Romney is an "honourable" man. And that in no way brings to mind Ralph Waldo Emerson: "The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons."
Mitt Romney's tax records and his tenure at Bain Capital remains the focus of attention, despite the Republican candidate's attempts to end the debate with a round of TV interviews.
Over the weekend the two campaigns continued to trade blows – the most powerful coming from the Obama campaign, releasing an ad of Mitt Romney signing America The Beautiful over captions detailing allegations of outsourcing and closures backed by Bain Capital.
Now the Romney campaign is attempting to fire back and change the subject with an ad attacking what it calls Barack Obama's cronyism.
Here's a brief round-up of the latest developments.
• The Obama campaign unleashed a dramatic ad lampooning Mitt Romney – while poking fun at his limited singing ability. Using footage of Romney singing at a campaign event in Florida earlier this year, the ad states baldly: "Mitt Romney's not the solution. He's the problem."
The new ad – which the campaign is to run in swing states such as Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia as well as national cable outlets – says Romney shipped jobs to Mexico, China and India, denied by the Romney campaign, and says that Romney had accounts in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
• The New York Times is the latest news organisation to attempt to sort Mitt Romney's fact from fiction during the "missing" years of 1999-2002, when Romney was running the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics but was also the legal owner and chief executive of Bain Capital. It concludes:
Indeed, no evidence has yet emerged that Mr Romney exercised his powers at Bain after February 1999 or directed the funds' investments after he left, although his campaign has declined to say if he attended any meetings or had any other contact with Bain during the period. And financial disclosures filed with the Massachusetts ethics commission show that he drew at least $100,000 in 2001 from Bain Capital Inc – effectively his own till – as a "former executive" and from other Bain entities as a passive general partner.
Others, however, are not so sure. But unless Bain and Romey release further details, there remains the discrepancy between their denials and Romney's official status at Bain.