What the Bain Attacks Are Really About

  • Share
  • Read Later
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a campaign "grassroots event" at James Day Park in Parma, Ohio, July 5, 2012.

We’re in one of those presidential campaign moments where the campaign “debate,” such as it is, is trapped in a hermetic system with an only indirect connection to the future of the country. Is whether Mitt Romney kept a managerial role at Bain Capital after leaving in 1999 to rescue the Salt Lake City Olympics really a critical question for voters? Probably not. Whatever direct role he may have had in certain offshoring or layoff decisions, it’s already quite clear what Romney’s business career was about: making money. Sometimes that was good for front-line workers, sometimes not. But Romney will have different priorities as President—not least because, even if you don’t believe that he cares about ordinary workers, his interest in maintaining public support and getting re-elected will pressure him to find ways of creating jobs and lifting wages.

The current debate is really about setting battle lines for the campaign. Above all, the Obama team is opportunistically—but also cleverly—shaping the political debate around a subject that’s good for them (heartless capitalism) instead of the one that’s good for Romney (the terrible economy). Chicago is trying to define Romney—and Bain, a company most Americans don’t really understand—on their own terms. They’re also after something deeper.
Attacking Bain, and Romney’s candor about his role there, is a way of defining the Republican’s character. Modern Democrats often bemoan the GOP’s alleged advantage in mounting character attacks. They haven’t forgotten the way the Swift Boating of John Kerry (unfairly) undermined Kerry’s credibility and patriotism, and the flip-flopping windsurfer attacks that followed. This week’s Bain offensive has partly been aimed at making Romney look slippery about a business record allegedly defined by selfishness and greed.

That’s one reason why the Bain offensive so much like those Swift Boat attacks (although we still need more information to conclude whether they’re any less unfair). But really the whole concept is the same: Keep the target on the defensive, define the political conversation, and raise constant new “questions” that can only be answered by the release of documents—in 2004, Kerry’s military records; in this case, Romney’s back tax returns—that promise to be complicated, hard to interpret and sure to open the door to still more questions.

And remember, we’re only 117 days away from the election. Every day between now and then amounts to a small battle in the larger war. If Romney loses a week to defending his Bain record, he’s just lost about 5% percent of his available time to hammer Obama on the economy.

But this week has been about the internal logic of the campaign. Yes, both candidates actually did make substantive policy remarks this week: Romney on various subjects, including education, to the NAACP; Obama on extending the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. But those policy forays were quickly drowned out by Bain, a topic less about the state of America than about how to win an American election.

91 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
markonevietvet
markonevietvet

Laws are for the 99% of US / us! he is a lying piece of Mitt!

andrewspagnoli
andrewspagnoli

This piece is a horse poop attempt to muddy the waters on a clear issue: Romney serially lied to the public, lies still, evades paying lawful taxes, submitted fraudulent filings to the FEC and SEC (felony perjury anyone?) and even if he WAS being honest, that doesn't change what he lied about to begin with. His basic "qualification" to lead is that he can make himself a massive fortune out of a merely large fortune, so long as he doesn't need to create jobs, pay taxes, or tell the truth to voters, investors, or the authorities. Guess what... Even a moron can do that with the family money.

P.S. Romney's own daddy said that not releasing every tax return was a fraud and that any candidate releasing just a selected year or two could just stage that tax return and hide all his monkey business in the other years easily that way. He was right, and Mitt is just a slicked-hairdo con man who left a trail of lies and lost jobs.

MACV
MACV

You are correct ... look America, a bright shiny object named Condoleeza,

except that it won't work this time.  People want to know WHAT IS HE HIDING?

MACV
MACV

In November 1999, his signature appears on documents connected to a deal with Stericycle. 

In January 2000, he signed paperwork for a deal with VMM Merger Corp. 

His John Hancock appears on ChipPAC Inc. documents in February 2001. 

That same month, Romney's signature can be found on paperwork connected to a Bain deal with Integrated Circuit Systems Inc. 

Does this have something to do with his "Tax Havens" in the Caymans, Bermuda and Sweden?  Was he using the shield of the Corporation to reduce his tax liability from 2000 to 2002 to "zero" while at the same time his $100,00 Dollar salary was being deposited into his overseas accounts?  John McCain knows what's in those tax returns, and when he decided on Sarah Palin instead of Romney, that tells you all you need to know! Remember, Romney gave McCain’s team 23 years of tax returns. 

STAY TUNED FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS!

This won't stop until those tax returns are released to the public .....

Dr Sam
Dr Sam

WHAT IS ROMNEY’S SIGNATURE WORTH?  “NOTHING”, HE SAYS!

ROMNEY'S CORNY TELEVISION OUTREACH FAILS TO ANSWER THE CRITICAL QUESTION: How does some one put his name on the paper as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), President and Chairman of a company and still say I wasn't there; I didn't know what was going on.  I am surprised indeed that Romney would be so adamant in defending the indefensible.  What kind of law did he study?  Does he not realize THAT he has legal responsibility once he puts his name on a paper filing to the SEC as CEO, Chairman and President of a company?  If he cannot, is he as smart as he says he is.  If he would not, is he a leader worthy of our trust.  Romney, the serial liar, is asking us to believe his words over his signature and clear legal responsibility as leader of his company.  How politically convenient!  Too clever by half, most people would say, especially legal analysts.  We ask Mr. Romney again: is your signature on a legal document still worth anything?  This is a character issue indeed.  If you are telling the truth, show us your tax returns for those years in disputes--and this matter will finally be cleared up, including how much tax you paid, the off-shore business and banking affairs and more.  When you have no clothes on, you hide behind the tree with your exposed parts covered with thin leaves.

 

carlcid
carlcid

The fact is that Romney can't answer the questions about Bain. Nor is he coming clean about his tax returns. You wouldn't buy a used car from this person, much less trust him as president of the U.S.A. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum knew this, but weren't skillfull or credible enough to make the issue take a life of its own. Obama's campaign has more skillfully brought this issue to the forefront. And it has Romney clearly off-balance. Romney's campaign has even become desperate enough to float the ruse of a Condoleeza Rice V.P. consideration, just to divert the topic.

3xfire3
3xfire3

"Obama Campaign Says Mitt Romney Is Either a Crook or a Liar Regarding his Role at Bain Capital" 

But both National Fact Checking Organizations "The Fact Checker [Washington Post]" and "FactCheck.Org" say that Barack Obama and his campaign are the LIARS. 

That both National Fact Checking Organization's Research came up with the same conclusion only shows how dishonest the President and his Campaign have become. 

Barack Obama does not deserve to be re-elected.

The Washington Post "The Fact Checker" gave Obama and his Campaign 3 Pinocchios 

One Pinocchio

Some shading of the facts. Selective telling of the truth. Some omissions and exaggerations, but no outright falsehoods.

Two Pinocchios

Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people. 

Three Pinocchios

Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions. 

Over 5,000 Liberals and Democrats have sent comments to The Washington Post and "The Fact Checker" expressing anger about the conclusions which were based on extensive research by Glenn Kessler. 

Apparently truth and honesty are not important to them. It appears there are many liberals and Democrats who believe truth and honesty are not important when they are in conflict with their political views.

 http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

3xfire3
3xfire3

Poll: Obama weak, 2012 race tied in Florida

POLITICO

The Tampa Bay Times, Miami Herald and Bay News 9 have a poll out today that shows the state perched on a knife's edge, with Obama at 46 percent and Mitt Romney at 45 percent:

Dig into the numbers, and what's most surprising is that Obama is at all competitive with Romney:

• 54 percent of likely Florida voters say the country is on the "wrong track" with Obama at the helm.

• Only 35 percent believe his policies have improved the economy, while 41 percent say they have made it worse.

• 46 percent of voters approve of the president's job performance, while 50 percent disapprove

.• 52 percent oppose the health care overhaul — Obama's signature achievement recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court — and 50 percent of Florida voters want to see it repealed.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/...

"Dig into the numbers, and what's most surprising is that Obama is at all competitive with Romney:"

He will not be competitiove for long. His personal likability will take a nose dive as he continues his extremely negative, dishonest and lying campaign.

Bye, bye Barack.

sacredh
sacredh

If Obama is "weak" in Florida and is leading Romney 46-45%, doesn't that make Romney weaker? Furthermore, if 54% of the voters in Florida say that the country is on the wrong track with Obama at the helm and yet he STILL leads Romney, isn't it kind of a given that they don't see Romney as any better?

.

Let's put this in perspective. Obama is weak in Florida. They still think he's a better candidate than Romney. For Romney to win Florida, he has to be a more popular choice. Still, I think Romney will win Florida but lose Ohio. Game over for Mitt.

K3HY
K3HY

LACONIA, N.H. -- Likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney says

he'll only release to the public one more tax return – and not until

his accountants complete it.

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.

When Romney left the governorship of Massachusetts, 11 of his aides

bought the hard drives of their state-issued computers to keep for

themselves. Also before he left office, the governor's staff had emails

and other electronic communications by Romney's administration wiped

from state servers, state officials say.

Those actions erased much of the internal documentation of Romney's

four-year tenure as governor, which ended in January 2007. Precisely

what information was erased is unclear.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

He left the bit that he's only going to release 2011 when it's done (probably mid-October as that's when extensions are usually due) and if the public wants anything else, too bad. I'm not sure that's going to play very well and sometimes people remember important things over the week-end.

Wesley
Wesley

For every 5 jobs that were outsourced by Bain Capital 100's were created in America.  This is FACT.  Obama campaigners get a life - Bain Capital has created

1,000's of American Jobs and was/is a very successful company - more then

anything Obama has done in the past.  It

seems some people don't like success.  Romney

has nothing to hide even if he was strongly connected with the company after 1999 years

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

 "For every 5 jobs that were outsourced by Bain Capital 100's were created in America. "

Link?

~

oldoregonguy
oldoregonguy

"For every 5 jobs that were outsourced by Bain Capital 100's were created in America. "........just not by Bain

LK312
LK312

I really have to wonder if the reasons why Mitt won't disclose his tax returns are because  a) he  indicated that he was the CEO of one or more Bain entities on the returns he signed between 1999 and 2002; and b)  there were years between 1999 and 2010 when he managed to pay no taxes, or very close to it.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

I think a much more potentially interest reason is the money that he gained and the amount of tax he paid on who knows how many off shore accounts. What was in the account that he moved to his wife's name and moved off shore the day before he was inaugurated as MA governor?

I think what's in the returns is worse than what is being speculated about now.

Pnnto
Pnnto

Dead candidate running. 

Willard's performance on CBS, and I assume the other outlets, tonight may have finished him.

OT Ivy-It's the cuter P's birthday and we are off to http://barlagrassa.com/

for dinner. If you and yours are ever here I highly recommend it. I'll even buy!

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Twitter verdict --

@Lis_Smith 5 network interviews. 5 chances to clear up unanswered questions. 5 failed attempts at doing so.

Then there's this

@zpleat

I can see Romney's foreign policy now: Demand an apology, then parachute in Kessler armed with a wooden puppet.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Pnnto, Very best wishes to the cuter P. As to the link, looks awesome! I haven't been there in ages, but my youngun' was there not long ago because the company for which she now works has headquarters there. I'll send her the link in case they ever have to go back.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

 How can this be, Pnnto?

Didn't TIME's Mark Halperin just tell us the other day that this "swift-boating" of Romney was unlikely to succeed?

~

paulejb
paulejb

Pnnto amp; filmnoia,

You are blowing smoke up each other's tailpipes.

http://finance.fortune.cnn.com... 

http://factcheck.org/2012/07/r... 

Even the MSM has caught on to Obama's desperate shenanigans.

Pnnto
Pnnto

You have insisted to be not taken seriously. I have tried. I have failed.

Shame on me.

There is no finding common non-partisan ground with you. I comment on the sad sack media we ( you, me, and all citizens) have to deal with and you display your Pavlovian need to make it party versus party.

Bye again. 

Pnnto
Pnnto

"We’re in one of those presidential campaign moments where the campaign “debate,” such as it is, is trapped in a hermetic system with an only indirect connection to the future of the country."

Yes, yes if only there were some sort of mechanism, a group, I don't know just spitballing here, that could cover policy issues. 

They could in theory-hear me out-research the candidates stated positions and fact check them. Perhaps get opposing views and then-this is going to sound crazy-fact check them too. 

Ahh never mind, I'm a dreamer.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

That's crazy talk, Paul! Crazy talk, I tell you!

Pnnto
Pnnto

I know, I know.

paulejb
paulejb

Pnnto,

Like this, Pnnto?

http://factcheck.org/2012/07/r... 

Or this from the WaPo?

The Pinocchio TestThe Obama campaign is blowing smoke here.We realize that Bauer gets to the word “criminal” by mentioning “investigation,” but that distinction might be lost on most listeners.Meanwhile, the weight of evidence suggests that Romney did in fact end active management of Bain in 1999. He stated that in a federal disclosure form he signed, under threat of criminal penalties. He said he was a “former employee” in a state disclosure form. A state commission concluded 10 years ago that he did, indeed, leave Bain in 1999.  Investors in Bain funds were told he was not part of the management team.The SEC documents, especially the ones Romney signed, do raise some questions. One can certainly argue that because Romney did not fully extricate himself from Bain till after his Olympic sojourn ended, he should bear some responsibility for what happened in that period. But that is an entirely different matter than suggesting that he is a potential criminal. It is more of a PR problem, which the Obama campaign is trying to exploit to build a larger case that Romney is secretive.We were tempted to award this claim Four Pinocchios, but the documents with his signature leave some room for inquiry.Still, if the Obama campaign wants to put its money where its mouth is, it should immediately lodge a complaint about Romney’s financial disclosure form, filed just last year, rather than try to mislead people about potential violations in relatively unimportant SEC documents.Three Pinocchios

Pnnto
Pnnto

More on Kaplan's "watch dog" conclusion.

"It would be very unusual for somebody to have the titles of not just "CEO" but "President", "Chairman of the Board" and be "sole stockholder" and to have no responsibilities whatsoever. In fact, I defy Glenn Kessler to come up with any example of anybody anywhere--save for Mitt Romney--who has been characterized to the SEC as "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" and also claimed to have no responsibilities whatsoever and to have merely been a passive investor.

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/...

Pnnto
Pnnto

Yup.  I do enjoy how old media believes it can pronounce a verdict and the only people who swallow it are those who agree.

Critical thinking is the bane of old media. 

filmnoia
filmnoia

Kessler is twisting himself into enough knots as to resemble Willard.  Events are outpacing his ability to disassemble. This is one MSM hack who is in the bag for the GOP.

Pnnto
Pnnto

While I know you are doing your (kind of played out) cutesy "see how clever I am" you have stumbled across my point.

The Kaplan Post reaches its conclusion but does link to others who disagree.

Like---

"Mitt Romney's repeated claim that he played no part in executive decision-making related to Bain Capital after 1999 is false, according to Romney's own testimony in June 2002, in which he admitted to sitting on the board of the LifeLike Co., a dollmaker that was a Bain investment during the period."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

Pnnto
Pnnto

Adding-that you seem to think a competent media is a partisan issue is rather sad. 

The media we have serves no one, left right or center, other than the moneyed. 

pcl
pcl

Obama is hitting all the hot buttons he can find on Bain, outsourcing, layoffs and, of course, Romney's intellectual honesty, which even a casual observer can see as non-existent.  Whatever one thinks about layoffs and outsourcing, it is a CEOs job to implement them if conditions make them the most profitable options. What should be under discussion here is the nature of limited-liability corporations and the fact that they put Romney and Bain in a position to pocket much of the money that was set aside for their employee's pensions (and the payment of these firm's other obligations) without facing any civil or criminal liability. If Romney were to simply say (as Joseph Kennedy did when he took over the SEC) "This was legal when we did it, but I'll reform the laws to keep anyone else from getting away with it.", that would put him well ahead of his "make no waves, see no evil" opponent. But Romney is not the type to ever admit a mistake, and the public would probably crucify him for it. So he has no choice but to allow Obama to slowly chip away at his image while doing little to challenge the laws that made Bain's atrocities possible.

georgiamd
georgiamd

This is bad news for Obama:

An overwhelming majority of voters – 75 percent – say that Mitt Romney’s 200 million net worth makes no difference in their choice between him

and President Barack Obama, according to a new Gallup poll.

The sentiment of independents may be most important, as they are likely

to decide the election’s outcome. In this demographic 76 are indifferent

to Romney’s wealth, 19 percent say it makes them less likely to vote

for him, and 4 percent say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll

released  Sunday, President Obama will face an uphill fight for

reelection, as Americans retain a glum attitude about the

direction of the country.

Just 21 percent of Americans think things are generally going in the

right direction, while 77 percent think the country is seriously on the

wrong track.

 

StanleyCupp
StanleyCupp

 This is good news for John McCain.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

 The squawking from wingnut pundits from coast to coast shows there's plenty of fire where this smoke is coming from.

Here's Jennifer Rubin, skreeing her head off.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

~

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Is she saying all this a la Rusty, who writes with a "wish it and it will be so" tone?

Pnnto
Pnnto

And all of a sudden Willard makes himself available to media outside of FNC.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

"And remember, we’re only 117 days away from the election."

This may be the best news I will read all day. I'm fortunate to live in a very red state (Georgia), so I won't have to endure much of a bombardment of campaign ads for the next 117 days. Very few so far, other than those from the "clean coal" people (an oxymoron like "airline food" and "jumbo shrimp.") If I were unfortunate to live in a so-called "battleground state," I would probably turn the TV off until November 6.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

I don't watch TV. There isn't much on it, and I can stream almost everything on the internet anyway.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

But you really miss a lot!  Like, um, uh...

...the ability to watch sports live!  Yeh!  That's it!

Chas Holman
Chas Holman

I don't know what the Bain 'attacks 'were' about.. 

But at this juncture I would sincerely like an actual audit and accounting of the end days there. Something simply isn't meshing up and the Governor seems to be above trying to articulate the issue clearly to get it under him. I don't blame the Governor for not caring what 'I' think.. but I know I can't be the only one who has went from just kind of joking about this, to being sincerely curious what the hack happened down there at the ol shop vs what we have been told from the Governors own mouth.

Maybe it is all about nothing.. doesn't seem that hard to clear up.. 

Brandt Hardin
Brandt Hardin

 

Romney is a Vampire in Mormon Clothing…  under his leadership, Bain gutted companies,

sucking them dry and leaving families in shambles without work or a means to

provide for their children.  Is this the

type of leader we want?  Read more about

the role of Romney’s blood money in this election and the power of his sacred

undergarments at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot...

lreed580
lreed580

You obviously didn't check with Grover re: Romney's "intentions" before writing this post, MC.

MomentoMori
MomentoMori

"....shaping the political debate around a subject that’s good for them

(heartless capitalism) instead of the one that’s good for Romney (the

terrible economy)."

Did it ever occur to you that it might be due to 'heartless capitalism' that we have a 'terrible economy'?

Pnnto
Pnnto

Crowley has two words right. This is about "Romney’s candor"

Dave
Dave

Obama has masterfully backed Romney up against a wall. Romney either has to admit to filing false SEC documents, which is a felony, or release his tax returns. It's lose-lose for Romney. Nonetheless, Romney will continue to stonewall, to distort, to delay, to hope the whole mess goes away. It won't.

Now imagine Romney is in the Oval Office and some international leader gets him between a rock and a hard place. Romney would twist and delay, twist and delay, twist and delay.

We don't need an indecisive weakling like Romney in the Oval Office.

We need someone like Barack Obama, who can masterfully back someone up against the wall and gain the advantage. He did it with Osama bin Laden. He's doing it now with Mitt Romney.

Game. Set. Match.

filmnoia
filmnoia

Willard is going to be giving damage control interviews to all of the networks. No doubt  the questions will be of  the 16 inch softball variety, instead of a high and tight baseball. The MSM is desperate for a horse race. They know that for Willard to have to be forced to come out with his tax returns that the game would be over after the pieces are picked up. The country would be laughing at the incompetence of the GOP, and a  newTampa picked candidate would be demolished.

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

filmnoia, Romney = Toast.  I can't wait for the Convention. 

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Maybe Ron Paul could use this opening to force his way into Tampa? Now if his followers poach the upcoming Nebraska delegates then he's in for sure and the food fight will be worth watching.