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Author Topic: BIRTH CHART FOR MIT ROMNEY: AN ARCHETYPAL STUDY IN DUPLICITY  (Read 18080 times)
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« Reply #75 on: Jun 24, 2012, 08:43 AM »

Access For Sale! GOP $500K Donors Get To Rub Elbows With Mittens And Party Elite

By Susie Madrak

It's a little obscene, isn't it? Once you're a national candidate, the only people who get to talk to you are the people who don't actually need help - but insist they do. I'd say at $500 thou a head, they're doing a lot better than everyone else in the rest of the country:

    PARK CITY, Utah —They schmoozed with Mitt Romney at a barbecue cookout at the Olympic Park, pressing him on labor regulations and the threat of a nuclear Iran as downhill skiers performed midair flips behind them.

    They rubbed elbows with Beth Myers, who is running Mr. Romney’s vice-presidential search, in the packed lobby bar of the Chateaux at Silver Lake, over $15 glasses of Scotch.

    And they mingled with Mr. Romney’s wife, Ann, during an intimate “Women for Romney victory tea,” held on an umbrella-shaded patio in this resort town.

    The Romney campaign, whose fund-raising prowess has defied assumptions about President Obama’s financial advantages, offered wealthy donors and bundlers an extraordinary level of access to the candidate, his staff members, advisers and family this weekend at a three-day retreat that even seasoned political contributors said dwarfed previous presidential powwows.

    Mr. Romney’s political operation seemed to all but shut down and relocate to the mountains of Utah. At least 15 senior campaign figures flew in for what blue-blazered guests from Texas, North Carolina and New York dubbed Republicanpalooza, delivering briefings on the effectiveness of Mr. Romney’s and Mr. Obama’s commercials and spinning them through the latest polling data, which they said showed the race as a dead heat.

    “Everybody was completely accessible,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and Romney fund-raiser who said the candidate took the time to warmly greet and thank him by his nickname, Mooch, at a dinner on the first night of the retreat.

    Yet for all the political and financial firepower assembled here, the Romney confab was not the only, or necessarily the most exclusive, gathering of ultrarich Republicans this weekend. In a simultaneous demonstration of the party’s fund-raising might, the industrialist billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch held a conference for conservative megadonors at a resort outside San Diego. Over the past few years, their high-dollar strategy sessions have been the marquee events of the Republican campaign finance set.

    The Koch conference touched off an unexpected — and for the Romney campaign, somewhat unwelcome — competition for top-flight moneyed supporters. While Mr. Romney’s campaign officials have made it clear that they appreciate the efforts of wealthy backers like the Kochs, there was consternation among some on his finance team that the brothers decided to move forward with their conference after Mr. Romney scheduled his for the same weekend. As one fund-raiser noted, Mr. Romney is, after all, the candidate.

    The Romney campaign offered donors who gave $50,000 or raised $100,000 intimate seminars and discussions featuring leading Republican lights, past and present: Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, James Baker III, John McCain and Jeb Bush, whose presence represented a symbolic embrace of a candidate who struggled to win over the disparate elements of his party in the bruising primary.

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« Reply #76 on: Jun 24, 2012, 10:25 AM »

June 24, 2012 09:00 AM

Romney "Sick at Heart" Over Bain Job Losses

By Jon Perr

Back in 2007, Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney declared that taking a big payment from a company that later failed "would make me sick, sick at heart." If so, Romney by now must be badly in need of a quadruple by-pass. Because as the New York Times became just the latest to report, through massive consulting fees, sales of stock and, most perversely, dividend payments, Romney and his partners at Bain Capital reaped whirlwind profits even when the companies they acquired collapsed.

Back in January, McClatchy offered this primer on how private equity firms like Bain Capital work, at least on paper. As candidate Romney explained at a GOP debate back in June 2007, "Don't forget that when companies earn profit, that money is supposed to be reinvested in growth."

But as the New York Times documented Friday, large sums of that money were going to Mitt Romney and his Bain colleagues whether their portfolio companies were profitable or not. Put another way, Bain won either way:

    Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain's funds.

Cambridge Industries, which filed for bankruptcy in 2000 after amassing $300 million in debt, is hardly unique when it came to Bain's "win even when they lose" business model:

    Yet Bain Capital, the private equity firm that controlled the Michigan-based company, continued to religiously collect its $950,000-a-year "advisory fee" in quarterly installments, even to the very end, according to court documents.

    In all, Bain garnered more than $10 million in fees from Cambridge over five years, including a $2.25 million payment just for buying the company, according to bankruptcy records and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Meanwhile, Bain's investors saw their $16 million investment in Cambridge wiped out.

"Traditionally," Josh Kosman wrote in his 2009 book The Buyout of America, "cash-rich public companies have paid dividends to lure and reward investors." But private equity firms, he explained, stand this process on its head:

    Fourteen of the largest American private equity firms had more than 40 percent of the North American companies they bought from 2002 until September 2006 pay them dividends. In thirty-two of the eighty-three case, 38 percent, they took money out in the first year.

    Mitt Romney was a pioneer of this strategy. His private equity firm, Bain Capital, was the first large PE firm to make a serious portion of its money not from selling its companies or listing them on the stock exchange, but rather by collecting distributions and dividends, which in this context is the exact opposite of reinvesting in a company. Bain Capital is notorious for failing to plow profits back into its businesses.

Just how notorious was first detailed by the Times five years ago during Mitt Romney's first presidential bid:

    One transaction, involving the medical diagnostics company Dade Behring, took place in 1999 as Mr. Romney was leaving the firm, and the other, involving KB Toys, occurred about two years later. Bain and its co-investors extracted special payments of over $100 million from each company, enabling Bain to make a healthy profit even before re-selling the businesses -- a practice known as "getting back your bait." Lenders say Bain is one of the firms that has taken the most in such payments, which companies usually make by taking on additional debt.

    Both Dade Behring and KB Toys soon suffered dips in their business. Unable to meet the burden of their debts, each filed for bankruptcy and laid off thousands of workers. Bain Capital spokesmen have said the company did nothing improper.

    Mr. Romney, who remains an investor in Bain Capital, said he had not been involved in those decisions but acknowledged that such payments became part of the buyout business "very early on."

It's with good reason, as President Obama recently explained of PE firms like Bain, "Their priority is to maximize profits, and that's not always going to be good for businesses or communities or workers." But while "these Bain Capital guys were agents of the shareholder-value revolution", as one analyst but it, that didn't stop shareholders of KB Toys and Stage Stores from suing Bain Capital over the firm's profit maximization at their expense. (A settlement was reached in the KB Toys case.)

During tenure as CEO from 1984 to 1999, Bain invested in 40 companies in the U.S. While seven later went bankrupt, the Times found that "In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money." That mirrors a January 2012 analysis by the Wall Street Journal, which revealed:

    Bain produced stellar returns for its investors--yet the bulk of these came from just a small number of its investments. Ten deals produced more than 70% of the dollar gains.

    Some of those companies, too, later ran into trouble. Of the 10 businesses on which Bain investors scored their biggest gains, four later landed in bankruptcy court.

Mitt Romney may claim that he had not been directly involved in the Dade and KB death spirals or others before and since. But as a damning New York Times examination showed in December, Romney still reaps millions of dollars annually from Bain:

    Though Mr. Romney left Bain in early 1999, he received a share of the corporate buyout and investment profits enjoyed by partners from all Bain deals through February 2009: four global buyout funds and 18 other funds, more than twice as many overall as Mr. Romney had a share of the year he left. He was also given the right to invest his own money alongside his former partners. Because some of the funds and deals covered by Mr. Romney's agreement will not fully wind down for several years, Mr. Romney is still entitled to a share of some of Bain's profits.

Some of those profits came from companies like the now-shuttered KB Toys and Clear Channel Communications, which axed 2,500 employees after its purchase by Bain.

Reflecting on his time at Bain, Romney in 2007 sounded almost remorseful about the kind of plunder for profit the New York Times described this week:

    "It is one thing that if I had a chance to go back I would be more sensitive to," Mr. Romney said. "It is always a balance. Great care has got to be taken not to take a dividend or a distribution from a company that puts that company at risk." He added that taking a big payment from a company that later failed "would make me sick, sick at heart."

If Mitt Romney becomes the 45th President of the United States, it will be the American people who would become sick at heart. While Paul Krugman predicted "I think Ireland is America's future if Romney is president," his fellow Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned, "The Romney plan is going to slow down the economy, worsen the jobs deficit and significantly increase the likelihood of a recession." Or as Mark Hopkins of Moody Analytics summed it up:

    "On net, all of these policies would do more harm in the short term. If we implemented all of his policies, it would push us deeper into recession and make the recovery slower."

To put it another way, if Romney wins, America loses. Of course, that sickening result is one Mitt Romney knows all too well.
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« Reply #77 on: Jun 26, 2012, 07:26 AM »


Companies’ Ills Did Not Harm Romney’s Firm

Evan McGlinn for The New York Times

The Boston headquarters of Bain Capital, a firm that usually found a way to make money from companies it controlled even when they ultimately went bankrupt.

By MICHAEL LUO and JULIE CRESWELL
Published: June 22, 2012

Cambridge Industries, an automotive plastics supplier whose losses had been building for three consecutive years, finally filed for bankruptcy in May 2000 under a mountain of debt that had ballooned to more than $300 million.

Among the faltering companies Bain controlled: a GS Industries steel mill in Kansas City, Mo., whose entrance sign showed its decay,

Yet Bain Capital, the private equity firm that controlled the Michigan-based company, continued to religiously collect its $950,000-a-year “advisory fee” in quarterly installments, even to the very end, according to court documents.

In all, Bain garnered more than $10 million in fees from Cambridge over five years, including a $2.25 million payment just for buying the company, according to bankruptcy records and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Meanwhile, Bain’s investors saw their $16 million investment in Cambridge wiped out.

That Bain was able to reap revenue from Cambridge, even as it foundered, was hardly unusual.

The private equity firm, co-founded and run by Mitt Romney, held a majority stake in more than 40 United States-based companies from its inception in 1984 to early 1999, when Mr. Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. Of those companies, at least seven eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward, according to a review by The New York Times. In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money.

Mr. Romney’s experience at Bain is at the heart of his case for the presidency. He has repeatedly promoted his years working in the “real economy,” arguing that his success turning around troubled companies and helping to start new ones, producing jobs in the process, has prepared him to revive the country’s economy. He has fended off attacks about job losses at companies Bain owned, saying, “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful.” But an examination of what happened when companies Bain controlled wound up in bankruptcy highlights just how different Bain and other private equity firms are from typical denizens of the real economy, from mom-and-pop stores to bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures.

Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.

Bain officials vigorously disputed any notion that the firm had profited when its investors lost, arguing that a full accounting of their costs across their business would show otherwise. They also pointed out that Bain employees put their own money at risk in all of the firm’s deals.

“Bain Capital does not make money on investments when our investors lose money,” the company said in a statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is based on a misleading analysis that examines the income of a business without taking account of expenses.”

To a large extent, however, this is simply the way private equity works, offering its practitioners myriad ways to extract income and limit their risk. Mr. Romney’s candidacy has helped cast a spotlight on an often-opaque industry.

In four of the seven Bain-owned companies that went bankrupt, Bain investors also profited, amassing more than $400 million in gains before the companies ran aground, The Times found. All four, however, later became mired in debt incurred, at least in part, to repay Bain investors or to carry out a Bain-led acquisition strategy.

Perhaps most revealing are the few occasions, like with Cambridge Industries, when Bain’s investors lost. Lucrative fees helped insulate Bain and its executives, records and interviews showed.

Piling On Debt

Having spun off from a management consulting firm, Bain has always been known for its data-driven, analytical approach. Under Mr. Romney, the firm scored some remarkable successes, enabling its investors — wealthy individuals and institutions like pension funds — to collect stellar returns.

The companies that fell into bankruptcy were clearly the exception, and the causes were also often multilayered. Some companies proved too troubled to rescue, and others were hit by broader economic or industrywide downturns.

A one-stop destination for the latest political news — from The Times and other top sources. Plus opinion, polls, campaign data and video.
   
In at least three of the seven bankruptcies, however, companies appear to have been made more vulnerable by debt taken on to return money to Bain and its investors in the form of dividends or share redemptions.

That was arguably the case with GS Industries, a troubled Midwest steel manufacturer that Bain acquired in 1993, investing $8.3 million. The private equity firm took steps to modernize the steelmaker. A year later, the company issued $125 million in debt, some of which was used to pay a $33.9 million dividend to Bain, securities filings show.

The private equity firm plowed an additional $16.2 million into the steelmaker, but when the industry experienced a downturn in the late 1990s, the company could not manage its heavy debt. It filed for bankruptcy in 2001, but Bain’s investors still earned at least $9 million.

Debt from acquisitions, usually part of a “roll-up” strategy of buying competitors, played a role in at least five of the seven bankruptcies The Times examined. In most of these cases, Bain investors garnered some initial gains before the companies faltered.

For example, after Bain acquired Ampad, a paper products company, in 1992, the company grew through a series of acquisitions. Sales jumped, but its debt climbed to nearly $400 million, and it found itself squeezed by “big box” office retailers. It filed for bankruptcy in 2000. Bain and its investors walked away with a profit of more than $100 million on their $5 million investment, on top of at least $17 million in fees for Bain itself, according to securities filings and investor prospectuses.

A similar phenomenon unfolded with DDi, a Bain-owned circuit board maker that expanded aggressively in the late 1990s. Sales soared, but so did its debt. The bursting of the tech bubble forced it to scale back. It filed for bankruptcy in 2003. The gains for Bain’s investors easily exceeded $100 million. Bain also collected more than $10 million in fees.

Substantial Fees

The numerous fees collected by private equity firms have been a frequent lightning rod for the industry. First, the firms charge their investors a percentage of the fund as a management fee, meant to cover its overhead. During Mr. Romney’s tenure, this was initially 2.5 percent and then dropped to 2 percent. Private equity firms also collect transaction or deal fees, ostensibly for advisory work, from companies they buy. These fees are generally collected for major transactions, like the purchase of another company, a public stock offering or even the initial acquisition of the company. A third fee stream comes from annual monitoring or advisory fees that portfolio companies typically pay to their owners, the buyout firms.

These fees can be substantial. In the case of Dade International, a medical supply company in which Bain acquired a stake in 1994, Bain and other investment firms piled up nearly $90 million in fees over seven years. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2003 but not before it had borrowed heavily to pay $420 million to Bain and other investors several years earlier.

In 1998 alone, Mr. Romney’s final full year at Bain, The Times was able to identify roughly $90 million in fees collected by the firm across its various funds, a figure that is probably low because most companies in Bain’s portfolio did not have to file financial disclosures.

These fees covered Bain’s expenses — like rent, salaries and lawyers — and the bulk of the remaining money was awarded to Bain employees as annual bonuses.

Bonuses were relatively small some years, like from 1989 to 1991, when the savings and loan crisis and other events slowed business. In that period, Bain managing directors made roughly $300,000 to $400,000 a year, mainly from their salaries, excluding gains from investments, according to an executive familiar with Bain’s compensation. By the mid-1990s, as Bain grew, managing directors’ annual incomes, again excluding investment returns, had swollen to $3 million to $5 million, mainly thanks to bonuses derived from fees.

The companies that fell into bankruptcy were clearly the exception, and the causes were also often multilayered. Some companies proved too troubled to rescue, and others were hit by broader economic or industrywide downturns.

In at least three of the seven bankruptcies, however, companies appear to have been made more vulnerable by debt taken on to return money to Bain and its investors in the form of dividends or share redemptions.

That was arguably the case with GS Industries, a troubled Midwest steel manufacturer that Bain acquired in 1993, investing $8.3 million. The private equity firm took steps to modernize the steelmaker. A year later, the company issued $125 million in debt, some of which was used to pay a $33.9 million dividend to Bain, securities filings show.

The private equity firm plowed an additional $16.2 million into the steelmaker, but when the industry experienced a downturn in the late 1990s, the company could not manage its heavy debt. It filed for bankruptcy in 2001, but Bain’s investors still earned at least $9 million.

Debt from acquisitions, usually part of a “roll-up” strategy of buying competitors, played a role in at least five of the seven bankruptcies The Times examined. In most of these cases, Bain investors garnered some initial gains before the companies faltered.

For example, after Bain acquired Ampad, a paper products company, in 1992, the company grew through a series of acquisitions. Sales jumped, but its debt climbed to nearly $400 million, and it found itself squeezed by “big box” office retailers. It filed for bankruptcy in 2000. Bain and its investors walked away with a profit of more than $100 million on their $5 million investment, on top of at least $17 million in fees for Bain itself, according to securities filings and investor prospectuses.

A similar phenomenon unfolded with DDi, a Bain-owned circuit board maker that expanded aggressively in the late 1990s. Sales soared, but so did its debt. The bursting of the tech bubble forced it to scale back. It filed for bankruptcy in 2003. The gains for Bain’s investors easily exceeded $100 million. Bain also collected more than $10 million in fees.

Bonuses were not the main drivers of the immense wealth accumulated by Mr. Romney and other Bain executives. That came from their share of Bain’s “carried interest,” the firm’s cut of its funds’ investment profits, as well as the returns from personal investments in Bain deals.   

Bain officials insist that fees were never a way for the company to garner much in the way of profits and pointed out fee structures for every fund are agreed-upon in advance by investors. They said fees supported the firm’s staff-intensive approach to managing companies. Totaling up the hours Bain employees put into deals at standard consulting rates, they said, would far exceed what the firm actually collected. They said fees also covered the costs of hundreds of deals researched every year and not pursued or completed.

Investors have succeeded in the past decade in pressing private equity firms for a greater share of these fees. In 2009, a trade group representing institutional investors issued guidelines it believed firms should follow, including turning over all advisory and deal fees to investors, also known as limited partners. “The battle over fees is right now going in the limited partners’ direction,” said Steven N. Kaplan, a University of Chicago finance professor.

Bain began splitting some fees with its investors in 2000. In the firm’s newest fund, Bain officials said they would funnel all deal fees to their limited partners.

Bain prides itself on the personal money its employees put into deals, saying its co-investment rate is among the highest in the industry. The percentage during Mr. Romney’s tenure sometimes ran to nearly 30 percent but was usually less, according to records and interviews.

“We are collectively the single largest investor in every portfolio company and every fund,” the company’s statement said. “When our portfolio companies grow and perform, investors and Bain Capital do well. In rare instances when a business fails, Bain Capital employees share in the negative economic consequences of those losses.”

Offsetting Losses

When deals sour, however, fees can provide a hedge.

Toward the end of Mr. Romney’s tenure, Bain bought Anthony Crane, a crane rental company, which then acquired a slew of smaller competitors, financed by debt. But a building slowdown hit the company hard, and it filed for bankruptcy in 2004, wiping out $25.6 million from Bain’s investors, along with $9.5 million from Bain employees. The firm, however, collected $12 million in fees over the life of the deal.

Bain officials maintained they still lost money on Crane because it also cost them $5.1 million in carried interest that they otherwise would have garnered from gains in the rest of the fund.

When Bain bought a troubled chain of maternity stores called Mothercare in 1991, its investors put $1.24 million into the deal. Bain repositioned the company and upgraded its merchandise, but the stores still struggled. Bain offloaded the chain in 1993 at a total loss, and the new owners put it into bankruptcy. Bain still collected $1.5 million in fees while it owned the company, bankruptcy records show.

In the case of Cambridge Industries, Bain first acquired a stake in the manufacturer of plastic automotive parts in 1995. Bain employees personally invested $2.2 million, according to bankruptcy records, alongside $15.7 million from outside investors.

Bain immediately collected $2.25 million from Cambridge as a transaction fee for investing in the company. Cambridge then acquired several companies in rapid succession, and each time, Bain earned 0.75 percent of the purchase price as a transaction fee. The rest of Bain’s $10 million in fees came through advisory fees and payments for a debt refinancing completed by Cambridge in 1997.

By then, interest payments from the company’s expansion were outstripping operating income. As part of the refinancing, aimed at lowering interest payments, Cambridge repaid $17 million it owed to a debt fund run by Bain. This involved paying it a $2 million prepayment penalty.

Cambridge was finally forced into bankruptcy in 2000, when Bain declined to provide the company with an infusion of capital needed to fulfill a major new order, according to former company officials. During bankruptcy proceedings, lawyers for some of Cambridge’s creditors leveled scathing criticism at Bain, zeroing in on the fees extracted while they said Cambridge was insolvent, as well as the prepayment to Bain’s debt fund.

Eventually, Bain settled the dispute by paying $1.5 million to the bankruptcy trustee.

“We have been unable to identify what, if any, ‘reasonably equivalent value’ the Company received in exchanges for these exorbitant fees,” Michael Stamer, a lawyer for the unsecured creditors committee, wrote to Bain’s lawyers. “It appears, instead, these fees were nothing more than a device used by Bain to provide a return on its equity.”
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« Reply #78 on: Jun 26, 2012, 07:28 AM »


June 26, 2012 06:00 AM

Bad Week for Bain-onomics

By Mike Lux

When the Obama campaign started raising questions about the way Bain Capital operated when Romney was the CEO, some Democrats who are close to Wall Street immediately starting complaining. We shouldn’t be attacking “capitalism”, they said, or the financial industry. But those Democrats are looking pretty foolish after the stories that have come out over the past few days. It has never been capitalism or even the financial industry being attacked when Bain’s style of operating is the subject: it is the worst kind of vampire capitalism that the Obama campaign is going after.

The idea of questioning Bain has always been essential to this campaign, because Romney has made clear that his main qualification to be President is the work he did at Bain. As the New York Times put it in their story Saturday “Companies’ Ills Did Not Harm Romney’s Firm”:

“Mr. Romney’s experience at Bain is at the heart of his case for the presidency. He has repeatedly promoted his years working in the “real economy,” arguing that his success turning around troubled companies and helping to start new ones, producing jobs in the process, has prepared him to revive the country’s economy. He has fended off attacks about job losses at companies Bain owned, saying, “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful.” But an examination of what happened when companies Bain controlled wound up in bankruptcy highlights just how different Bain and other private equity firms are from typical denizens of the real economy, from mom-and-pop stores to bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures.”

But now, with this major new NYT story, plus the Washington Post pioneer-in-outsourcing story, it is becoming increasingly obvious to everyone why the Obama campaign and people like me have been making a big deal about Bain for a long time. All capitalism is not the same, and Bain is right up there with companies like Goldman Sachs in the sleaziness with which they make their money. What Bain did in buying these companies was to create a structure where they made money no matter what. As the saying goes, it’s nice work if you can get it- but you can’t get it unless you are willing to be absolutely brutal in pursuing your own profits at the expense of everyone else. What Bain did wasn’t just capitalism, but the worst sort of capitalism. As the NYT and other media sources have so explicitly laid it out, at least 7 Bain-owned companies went bankrupt, but “Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.” Bain loaded these companies with debt, in part so they could pay Bain millions (sometimes tens of millions) of dollars in fees. They then wrote off the debt on their taxes. In some cases (at least 4 times according the NYT story) Bain amassed huge short term profits before the companies, weighed down with the debt Bain forced on them, sunk under the weight of that debt.

Some of the companies Bain bought did better than that. Of course, some of those that did were out-sourcing and off-shoring pioneers. And others did better in great part by laying off huge numbers of workers and/or slashing the wages and benefits of many others. This is the track record that is “at the heart of [Romney’s] case for the Presidency”?

The debate over Bain-onomics is exactly the kind of debate this country should be having. We are at a make or break moment for the American middle class. What should our path forward be? Will it be the path of Bain and the biggest banks on Wall Street, which put profits over everything else, making millions because other people went broke and lost their jobs? Or will it be a path that invests in the health of our economy and the business sector from the bottom up? This is the fundamental choice for Americans: do we help and promote the kind of businesses that make and sell products and services here in America? Do we help the economy by investing in our people, giving them good education, college loans, and decent wages so they can buy goods from the small businesses in their community? Do we help our small businesses with start-up capital and giving them a fighting chance to compete with the big dogs? Or is our government going to be 100% geared toward the big incumbents who already have big money and market share and well-connected lobbyists who can get them sweetheart deals and tax breaks?

I think the Obama team has been absolutely right to engage all-out in this debate over Bain, and to frame this race as to who will fight for the middle class in their moment of need. This new ad shows they get it:
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« Reply #79 on: Jun 26, 2012, 01:11 PM »

The art of deception and duplicity......

Mitt Romney's no-policy problem

By: Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns
June 24, 2012 07:06 AM EDT

Mitt Romney’s aides suggested that when the Republican appeared before a Hispanic advocacy group on Thursday he’d address immigration.

But when Romney spoke to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), he only reiterated what he had said earlier in the week about the citizenship status of children of illegal immigrants.

“I will put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure,” he told the group about President Barack Obama’s hotly debated directive regarding the DREAM Act.

But on the question of what exactly such a long-term solution would be, the GOP nominee isn’t saying.

Vague, general or downright evasive policy prescriptions on some of the most important issues facing the country are becoming the rule for Romney. Hoping to make the campaign strictly a referendum on the incumbent, the hyper-cautious challenger is open about his determination to not give any fodder to Obama aides hungry to make the race as much about Romney as the president.

Romney is remarkably candid, almost as though he’s reading the stage directions, about why he won’t offer up details: he thinks it will undermine his chances to win.

“The media kept saying to Chris, ‘Come on, give us the details, give us the details,’’’ Romney has said about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial race. ‘’We want to hang you with them.’”

It’s a lesson the former Massachusetts governor said he took from his first, painful foray into electoral politics in 1994.

“One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I don’t care about education,” Romney told the Weekly Standard this spring.

That’s not to say Romney doesn’t have plans: he suggested at an April fundraiser overheard by reporters that the departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development might be eliminated or merged with other agencies, and even said he’d pay for proposed tax cuts by eliminating the second home mortgage deduction.

But as he enters the heat of this year’s campaign, Romney is testing just how far he can go in not telling voters what policies he’d pursue in the White House.

He’s not entirely alone in sticking to a do-no-harm strategy when it comes to policy proposals. Obama has offered scant detail about how he’d balance the budget in a second term, let alone what his top priorities would be for the next four years. The Romney campaign contends that Obama should be held to a high standard as the incumbent.

“President Obama has had three and a half years to get this economy moving and put us on a path to a balanced budget, tackle long-term immigration reform and strengthen our military. But all we have seen is broken promises and a lack of leadership with no plans to make things better in the future,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.

“On the other hand, Mitt Romney has provided an unprecedented level of detail during the course of the campaign and will continue to discuss his plans to get the economy back on track between now and the election.”

But Republicans not affiliated with Romney’s campaign aren’t so sure about that level of detail, and worry that Romney thinks running out the clock is sufficient to win.

“The Romney strategy the past eight weeks has been, in a small way, shrewd: have the candidate out there talking in a candidate-like manner, but don’t let him say anything so interesting that it will take the cameras off Mr. Obama,” wrote conservative columnist Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. “The president is lurching from gaffe to mess, from bad news to worse. Don’t get in his way as he harms himself. It’s working, but won’t for long. People want meaning, a higher and declared purpose.”

For Democrats, Romney’s refusal is a both a source of frustration and a target to shoot at. It’s hard to make the contest a “choice” campaign when the challenger is so determined to minimize his own issue profile in the race.

Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo urged Obama to challenge Romney aggressively to “give me your plan” for the country. Right now, Cuomo said, Romney’s “playing the Nixon game. Nixon said, ‘I have a plan but you won’t know it until you elect me as president.’ ”

“His whole case is, ‘Trust me, I made myself rich,’ ” Cuomo said of Romney. “We should know what our choices really are. You know what our choice is with Obama. He hasn’t hidden anything. He’s not suggesting that he’s holding back anything. So you know Obama, but you do not know Romney. And that’s done deliberately and it’s not fair.”

On multiple major issue areas, Romney has left holes in the public record about what he’d do as president:

Immigration

Obama’s directive offering legal status to some children of illegal immigrants prompted the most recent, and perhaps most egregious, example of Romney’s hiding the ball.

Asked on CBS’s “Face the Nation” four times if he’d overturn Obama’s order, the Republican wouldn’t say yes or no. Romney only insisted he’d offer a “long-term solution.” He then deployed the same generic phrase later in the week to NALEO.

But it’s not just on the children of illegal immigrants that Romney has been purposefully vague – he’s also not laid out a plan for what he’d do about the entirety of the 11 million individuals in the country illegally. Worried that coming out for some sort of path to citizenship will anger border hawks on the right but conscious of the need for Hispanic votes to win, Romney has stuck to generalities during the general election after hard-line rhetoric in the primary season.

“I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner,” he told NALEO, indicating how he’d go about addressing the issue but not what he’d actually do about it.

The policies Romney has laid out on immigration tend to focus on more educated, higher-skilled immigrants, proposing to increase visa caps and give green cards to foreigners who obtain advanced degrees in the U.S. Romney has spoken of an electronic system for verifying workers’ legal status, which would make it harder for businesses’ to hire undocumented workers’ — and perhaps, over time drive those workers out of the country. He’d also give permanent resident status to illegal immigrants who served in the military.

Romney does seem to have bigger ideas on the matter, but he just seems reluctant to lay it out. As long ago as last December, he told the conservative Washington Examiner: “I actually have a plan in mind, I haven’t unveiled it.”

“This issue is now part of the election debate and not going away,” said Ana Navarro, the former national Hispanic campaign chair for John McCain. “I don’t know whether or not he’ll give specific answers on DREAM [
Act] and a plan for undocumented [immigrants], but I do know the questions will persist.”

Balancing the budget

It’s on the matter of how he’d get the country’s fiscal house in order that Romney has been so candid about why he won’t be specific. In the Weekly Standard interview this spring, he said he’d eliminate entire agencies – but then declined to say which ones.

“I think it’s important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies,” he told reporter Stephen Hayes. But, noting what the Kennedy race taught him, Romney added: “I’m not going to give you a list right now.”

Last summer, Romney waited until virtually the last possible moment to weigh in on the standoff over the debt ceiling – and then sided against congressional GOP leaders who cut an 11th hour deal with the White House. When the Republican laid out his tax reform plan earlier this year in Detroit he proposed lowering all income tax rates by 20 percent and indicated he’d pay for such reduced revenue by eliminating deductions – without naming which ones he’d eliminate. Romney has even admitted that his plan can’t be fully evaluated because he hasn’t named the offsets.

The cuts he has identified have tended to come with price tags closer to the million than to the trillion dollar mark. Romney supports privatizing Amtrak, cutting foreign aid, reducing funding for programs like the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He argues that eliminating Obama’s health-care bill would save billions, but independent budget analysts aren’t so sure.

If the candidate has been mum publicly about the bigger-ticket programs he’d cut and what loopholes he’d do away with, he has revealed some of his intentions in private.

If not the Rosetta Stone to his presidential intentions, Romney’s remarks at a Florida fundraiser in April made clear that he’s just not saying publicly what his ideas are about how exactly he’d balance the budget.

“Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later,” Romney told the donors.

And the Education Department? “I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I’m not going to get rid of it entirely.”

That wasn’t all he revealed, though, when it came to his governing intentions: there was also a riff on how’d he pay for his tax cut.

“I’m going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction,” Romney said, also floating the possibility that he’d do away with state income and local property taxes.

Since Romney’s comments at the event were reported, his campaign has made the fundraisers open to the press and the candidate has stopped going beyond his standard stump speech.

Foreign policy and the Afghan war

Romney has spoken about his foreign policy vision largely in terms of tone and posture. Unlike Obama, Romney says, he won’t “apologize for America.” He’ll speak out more strongly against regimes he views as hostile, like Iran and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

There are a few areas where Romney’s policy is relatively specific: he has pledged to expand the Navy, label China a currency manipulator, push through new trade and security agreements in Latin America and never openly criticize Israel. Romney has spoken enthusiastically about missile defense and opposed Obama’s arms reduction efforts with Russia.

As far as specific global crises go, Romney’s proposals have ranged from the cautious to the nonexistent. He criticized Obama in a November debate for endorsing a quick drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, saying this isn’t “time for America to cut and run.” But he hasn’t announced his own war strategy, except to listen to “the generals.” The Afghanistan policy on his website includes one bullet point: “Ensure Buy-In from Afghan and Pakistani Governments.”

He blasts Obama’s track record on Iran, saying the president should have imposed tougher sanctions earlier and supported democratic uprisings in 2009. A second Obama term would mean a nuclear weapon for Iran, Romney says; a Romney administration would not.

Looking ahead, though, Romney’s approach is as vague as Obama’s: escalating diplomatic and economic pressure while reserving the option of a military strike. There’s little obvious distinction on North Korea, either.

And forget about an Israeli peace plan or anything of the kind. Romney told the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington this month that his Israel policy would be to “do the opposite of Obama” – a comprehensive strategy, in a way, but not a detailed one.

Romney has weighed in on the conflict in Syria, saying the U.S. should work with allies to get arms to opposition forces. But he has rarely mentioned Syria in his campaign, and has resisted calls by other Republicans – such as John McCain – for air strikes on the Arab state.

Regulating Wall Street

Romney has been crystal clear about his view of the Dodd-Frank banking law passed by the Democratic Congress and signed by Obama: it has to go.

As to what he’d put in its place, Romney is considerably hazier.

Romney says he doesn’t just want to tear down the banking reform law and let Wall Street run wild and free. Romney’s campaign has criticized the Volcker rule, which regulates certain kinds of proprietary trading and wants major changes to the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But Romney says he supports regulation of the derivatives market, and wants to rollback the government role in housing and mortgages, which he views as deleterious. On his campaign Web site, Romney pledges to “repeal Dodd-Frank and replace [it] with [a] streamlined, modern regulatory framework.”

The contents of that “framework” are almost entirely unknown. Romney policy adviser Lanhee Chen offered the closest thing to detail in an early June interview with Bloomberg TV’s Al Hunt. Chen insisted that Romney would not support returning to a “dog- eat-dog kind of situation where there’s absolutely no regulation.”

“Gov. Romney has made clear that we do need some regulation of derivatives trading, that we do need to have some kind of consumer protections in place, that we do need to look seriously at things we can do to ensure that the financial services industry is regulated in a reasonable way,” he said. “But Dodd-Frank is really not the answer. And so, you know, I think we have to resist the temptation to caricature what a post-Dodd-Frank world looks like.”

At a campaign rally in Michigan this week, Romney showcased his standard message on banking reform.

“Who wants four more years of Dodd-Frank that makes it harder for banks to make loans to small business?” Romney asked supporters, drawing a loud “No!” from the crowd.

© 2012 POLITICO LLC
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« Reply #80 on: Jun 28, 2012, 07:38 AM »

Mendacious Mitt: Romney's bid to become liar-in-chief
   
Michael Cohen   
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 June 2012 18.31 BST   

When challenged about an untruthful statement, Romney's tactic is to deny he said it – lie trumping lie, writes Michael Cohen.

Four years ago, when I was writing about the 2008 presidential campaign, I wrote with dismay and surprise at the spate of falsehoods coming out of John McCain's campaign for president. McCain had falsely accused his opponent Barack Obama of supporting "comprehensive sex education" for children, and of wanting to raise taxes on the middle class, while his running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, took credit for opposing the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere", which she had actually supported.

At the time, such false and misleading claims from a presidential candidate seemed shocking: they crossed an unstated line in American politics – going from the usual garden-variety campaign exaggeration to willful lying.

Ah, those were the days … after watching Mitt Romney run for president the past few months, he makes John McCain look like George Washington (of "I Can't Tell A Lie" fame).

Granted, presidential candidates are no strangers to disingenuous or overstated claims; it's pretty much endemic to the business. But Romney is doing something very different and far more pernicious. Quite simply, the United States has never been witness to a presidential candidate, in modern American history, who lies as frequently, as flagrantly and as brazenly as Mitt Romney.

Now, in general, those of us in the pundit class are really not supposed to accuse politicians of lying – they mislead, they embellish, they mischaracterize, etc. Indeed, there is natural tendency for nominally objective reporters, in particular, to stay away from loaded terms such as lying. Which is precisely why Romney's repeated lies are so effective. In fact, lying is really the only appropriate word to use here, because, well, Romney lies a lot. But that's a criticism you're only likely to hear from partisans.

My personal favorite in Romney's cavalcade of untruths is his repeated assertion that President Obama has apologized for America. In his book, appropriately titled "No Apologies", Romney argues the following:

    "Never before in American history has its president gone before so many foreign audiences to apologize for so many American misdeeds, both real and imagined. It is his way of signaling to foreign countries and foreign leaders that their dislike for America is something he understands and that is, at least in part, understandable."

Nothing about this sentence is true.

President Obama never went around the world and apologized for America – and yet, even after multiple news organizations have pointed out this is a "pants on fire" lie, Romney keeps making it. Indeed, the "Obama apology tour", along with the president bowing down to the King of Saudi Arabia, are practically the lodestars of the GOP's criticism of Obama's foreign policy performance (the Saudi thing isn't true either).

But foreign policy is a relatively light area of mistruth for the GOP standard-bearer. The economy is really where the truth takes its greatest vacation in Romney world. First, there is Romney's claim that the 2009 stimulus passed by Congress and signed by President Obama "didn't work". According to Romney, "that stimulus didn't put more private-sector people to work." While one can quibble over whether the stimulus went far enough, the idea that it didn't create private-sector jobs has no relationship to reality. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the stimulus bill created more than 3m jobs – a view shared by 80% of economists polled by the Chicago Booth School of Business (only 4% disagree).

Romney also likes to argue that the stimulus didn't help private-sector job growth, but rather helped preserve government jobs. In fact, the Obama years have been witness to massive cuts in government employment. While the private sector is not necessarily "doing fine", as Obama said in a recent White House press conference, it's doing a heck of a lot better than the public sector.

And the list goes on. Romney has accused Obama of raising taxes – in reality, they've gone down under his presidency, and largely because of that stimulus bill that Romney loves to criticize. He's accused the president of doubling the deficit. In fact, it's actually gone down on Obama's watch.

Romney took credit for the success of the auto bailout – even though he wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt". He's said repeatedly that businesses in America see Obama as the "enemy", and that under his presidency "free enterprise" and economic freedom" are at risk of disappearing. In reality, since taking office, corporate profits, industrial production and the stock market are up, while corporate bankruptcies have actually decreased.

Then, there is the recent Romney nugget that the Obama administration passed Obamacare with the full knowledge that it "would slow down the economic recovery in this country" and that the White House "knew that before they passed it". It's an argument so clearly spun from whole cloth that according to Jonathan Chait, the acerbic political columnist for New York Magazine, Romney is "Just Making Stuff Up Now".

Also of Obamacare, Romney has said that it will lead to the government taking over 50% of the economy (not true) – its true cost can't be computed (that's why we have a Congressional Budget Office in the United States); that it will create to "a massive European-style entitlement" (many liberals wish this were true, but alas, it is not); and that it will lead to a government-run healthcare system (a lie so pervasive that it's practically become shorthand for Republicans – yet it too, like the infamous made-up death panels of the health care debate, is simply not accurate).

The lying from the Romney campaign is so out-of-control that Steve Benen, a blogger and producer for the Rachel Maddow show compiles a weekly list of "Mitt's Mendacity" that is chockfull of new untruths. Benen appears unlikely to run out of material any time soon, particularly since Romney persists in repeating the same lies over and over, even after they've been debunked.

This is perhaps the most interesting and disturbing element of Romney's tireless obfuscation: that even when corrected, it has little impact on the presumptive GOP nominee's behavior. This is happening at a time when fact-checking operations in major media outlets have increased significantly, yet that appears to have no effect on the Romney campaign.

What is the proper response when, even after it's pointed out that the candidate is not telling the truth, he keeps doing it? Romney actually has a telling rejoinder for this. When a reporter challenged his oft-stated assertion that President Obama had made the economy worse (factually, not correct), he denied ever saying it in the first place. It's a lie on top of a lie.

Now, it's certainly true that on the campaign trail, facts can be stretched in many different directions – and both parties, including President Obama, frequently make arguments that are misleading, lacking in context or simply false. But it is virtually unheard of for a politician to lie with such reckless abandon and appear completely unconcerned about getting caught.

Back in the old days (that is, pre-2008) it would have been considered unimaginable that a politician would lie as brazenly as Romney does – for fear of embarrassment or greater scrutiny. When Joe Biden was accused of plagiarizing British Labor Leader Neil Kinnock's speeches in 1988, it derailed his presidential aspirations. When Al Gore was accused of exaggerating his role in "inventing the internet" (which, actually, was sort of true), it became a frequent attack line that hamstrung his credibility. Romney has done far worse than either of these candidates – yet it's hard to discern the negative impact on his candidacy.

Romney has figured out a loophole – one can lie over and over, and those lies quickly become part of the political narrative, practically immune to "fact-checking". Ironically, the more Romney lies, the harder it then becomes to correct the record. Even if an enterprising reporter can knock down two or three falsehoods, there are still so many more that slip past.

It's reminiscent of the old line that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on. In Romney's case, his lies are regularly corrected by media sources, but usually, in some antiseptic fact-checking article, or by Democratic/liberal voices who can be dismissed for their "partisan bent". Meanwhile, splashed across the front page of newspapers is Romney saying "Obamacare will lead to a government take-over of healthcare"; "Obama went on an apology tour"; or "the stimulus didn't create any jobs". Because, after all, it's what the candidate said and reporters dutifully must transcribe it.

Pointing out that Romney is consistently not telling the truth thus risks simply falling into the category of the usual "he-said, she-said" of American politics. For cynical reporters, the behavior is inevitably seen to be the way the political game is now played. Rather than being viewed and ultimately exposed as examples of a pervasive pattern of falsehoods, Romney's statements embed themselves in the normalized political narrative – along with aggrieved Democrats complaining that Romney isn't telling the truth. Meanwhile, the lie sticks in the minds of voters.

As MSNBC's Steve Benen told me:

    "Romney gets away with it because he and his team realize contemporary political journalism isn't equipped to deal with a candidate who lies this much, about so many topics, so often."

Romney is charting new and untraveled waters in American politics. In the process, he is cynically eroding the fragile sense of trust that exists between voters and politicians. It's almost enough to make one pine for the days when Sarah Palin lied about "the Bridge to Nowhere".

****************

For a total list of all the lies Mr.Duplicity and pathological liar please clink this link. You will be stunned.

http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/01/12010806-chronicling-mitts-mendacity-vol-xx?lite


* romneylies.jpg (27.31 KB, 400x228 - viewed 25 times.)
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« Reply #81 on: Jul 03, 2012, 10:29 AM »

THE OFFSHORE CANDIDATE
Secret Accounts, Tax Loopholes, Mysterious I.R.A....
Check, Check And Check


Where the Money Lives


http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/2012/08/investigating-mitt-romney-offshore-accounts

For all Mitt Romney’s touting of his business record, when it comes to his own money the Republican nominee is remarkably shy about disclosing numbers and investments. Nicholas Shaxson delves into the murky world of offshore finance, revealing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws, and investigating just how much of Romney’s fortune (with $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone?) looks pretty strange for a presidential candidate.
By Nicholas Shaxson

A person who worked for Mitt Romney at the consulting firm Bain and Co. in 1977 remembers him with mixed feelings. “Mitt was … a really wonderful boss,” the former employee says. “He was nice, he was fair, he was logical, he said what he wanted … he was really encouraging.” But Bain and Co., the person recalls, pushed employees to find out secret revenue and sales data on its clients’ competitors. Romney, the person says, suggested “falsifying” who they were to get such information, by pretending to be a graduate student working on a proj­ect at Harvard. (The person, in fact, was a Harvard student, at Bain for the summer, but not working on any such proj­ects.) “Mitt said to me something like ‘We won’t ask you to lie. I am not going to tell you to do this, but [it is] a really good way to get the information.’ … I would not have had anything in my analysis if I had not pretended.

“It was a strange atmosphere. It did leave a bad taste in your mouth,” the former employee recalls.

This unsettling account suggests the young Romney—at that point only two years out of Harvard Business School—was willing to push into gray areas when it came to business. More than three dec­ades later, as he tried to nail down the Republican nomination for president of the United States, Romney’s gray areas were again an issue when he repeatedly resisted calls to release more details of his net worth, his tax returns, and the large investments and assets held by him and his wife, Ann. Finally the other Republican candidates forced him to do so, but only highly selective disclosures were forthcoming.

Even so, these provided a lavish smorgasbord for Romney’s critics. Particularly jarring were the Romneys’ many offshore accounts. As Newt Gingrich put it during the primary season, “I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account.” But Romney has, as well as other interests in such tax havens as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

To give but one example, there is a Bermuda-based entity called Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which has been described in securities filings as “a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.” It could be that Sankaty is an old vehicle with little importance, but Romney appears to have treated it rather carefully. He set it up in 1997, then transferred it to his wife’s newly created blind trust on January 1, 2003, the day before he was inaugurated as Massachusetts’s governor. The director and president of this entity is R. Bradford Malt, the trustee of the blind trust and Romney’s personal lawyer. Romney failed to list this entity on several financial disclosures, even though such a closely held entity would not qualify as an “excepted investment fund” that would not need to be on his disclosure forms. He finally included it on his 2010 tax return. Even after examining that return, we have no idea what is in this company, but it could be valuable, meaning that it is possible Romney’s wealth is even greater than previous estimates. While the Romneys’ spokespeople insist that the couple has paid all the taxes required by law, investments in tax havens such as Bermuda raise many questions, because they are in “jurisdictions where there is virtually no tax and virtually no compliance,” as one Miami-based offshore lawyer put it.

That’s not the only money Romney has in tax havens. Because of his retirement deal with Bain Capital, his finances are still deeply entangled with the private-equity firm that he founded and spun off from Bain and Co. in 1984. Though he left the firm in 1999, Romney has continued to receive large payments from it—in early June he revealed more than $2 million in new Bain income. The firm today has at least 138 funds organized in the Cayman Islands, and Romney himself has personal interests in at least 12, worth as much as $30 million, hidden behind controversial confidentiality disclaimers. Again, the Romney campaign insists he saves no tax by using them, but there is no way to check this.

Bain Capital is the heart of Romney’s fortune: it was the financial engine that created it. The mantra of his campaign is that he was a businessman who created tens of thousands of jobs, and Bain certainly did bring useful operational skills to many companies it bought. But his critics point to several cases where Bain bought companies, loaded them with debt, and paid itself extravagant fees, thereby bankrupting the companies and destroying tens of thousands of jobs.

Come August, Romney, with an estimated net worth as high as $250 million (he won’t reveal the exact amount), will be one of the richest people ever to be nominated for president. Given his reticence to discuss his wealth, it’s only natural to wonder how he got it, how he invests it, and if he pays all his taxes on it.

Ironically, it was Mitt’s father, George Romney, who released 12 years of tax returns, in November 1967, just ahead of his presidential campaign, thereby setting a precedent that nearly every presidential candidate since has either willingly or unwillingly been subject to. George, then the governor of Michigan, explained why he was releasing so many years’ worth, saying, “One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.”

But his son declined to release any returns through one unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate, in 1994, one successful run for Massachusetts governor, in 2002, and an aborted bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination, in 2008. Just before the Iowa caucus last December, Mitt told MSNBC, “I don’t intend to release the tax returns. I don’t,” but finally, on January 24, 2012—after intense goading by fellow Republican candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry—he released his 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011.

These, plus the mandatory financial disclosures filed with the Office of Government Ethics and released last August, raise many questions. A full 55 pages in his 2010 return are devoted to reporting his transactions with foreign entities. “What Romney does not get,” says Jack Blum, a veteran Washington lawyer and offshore expert, “is that this stuff is weird.”

The media soon noticed Romney’s familiarity with foreign tax havens. A $3 million Swiss bank account appeared in the 2010 returns, then winked out of existence in 2011 after the trustee closed it, as if to remind us of George Romney’s warning that one or two tax returns can provide a misleading picture. Ed Kleinbard, a professor of tax law at the University of Southern California, says the Swiss account “has political but not tax-policy resonance,” since it—like many other Romney investments—constituted a bet against the U.S. dollar, an odd thing for a presidential candidate to do. The Obama campaign provided a helpful world map pointing to the tax havens Bermuda, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands, where Romney and his family have assets, each with the tagline “Value: not disclosed in tax returns.”

Romney’s personal tax rate is a particular point of interest. In 2010 and 2011, Mitt and Ann paid $6.2 million in federal tax on $42.5 million in income, for an average tax rate just shy of 15 percent, substantially less than what most middle-income Americans pay. Romney manages this low rate because he takes his payments from Bain Capital as investment income, which is taxed at a maximum 15 percent, instead of the 35 percent he would pay on “ordinary” income, such as salaries and wages. Many tax experts argue that the form of remuneration he receives, known as carried interest, is really just a fee charged by investment managers, so it should instead be taxed at the 35 percent rate. Lee Sheppard, a contributing editor at the trade publication Tax Notes, whose often controversial articles are read widely by tax professionals, is nonplussed that the Obama campaign has been so listless on the issue of carried interest. “Romney is the poster boy, the best argument, for taxing this profit share as ordinary income,” says Sheppard.

In the face of such arguments, Romney’s defense is that he never broke the rules: if there is a problem, it is in the laws, not in his behavior. “I pay all the taxes that are legally required, not a dollar more,” he said. Even so. “When you are running for president, you might want to err on the side of overpaying your taxes, and not chase every tax gimmick that comes down the pike,” says Sheppard. “It kind of looks tacky.”

The assertion that he broke no laws is widely accepted. But it is worth asking if it is actually true. The answer, in fact, isn’t straightforward. Romney, like the superhero who whirls and backflips unscathed through a web of laser beams while everyone else gets zapped, is certainly a remarkable financial acrobat. But careful analysis of his financial and business affairs also reveals a man who, like some other Wall Street titans, seems comfortable striding into some fuzzy gray zones.
The Caped Avoider!

One might perhaps accept an explanation by Romney’s campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, that the candidate’s failure to include his Swiss account in earlier financial disclosures was merely a “trivial inadvertent issue.” But deeper questions do emerge.

All the assets on Mitt’s financial disclosures are in blind trusts or retirement accounts held by him and Ann. Blind trusts are designed to avoid conflicts of interest for those in public office by having politicians’ assets managed by independent trustees. The Romneys’ blind trust was created when Mitt was elected governor of Massachusetts. Curiously, the Romneys appointed Bradford Malt as their trustee. It’s certainly true that under Malt the trusts don’t appear to be as blind as they might be: for instance, in 2010 the Romneys invested $10 million in the start-up of the Solamere Founders Fund, co-founded by their eldest son, Tagg, and Spencer Zwick, Romney’s onetime top campaign fund-raiser; Solamere is now in the Ann Romney blind trust. Malt has said he invested in Solamere without consulting Mitt or Ann and explained he liked Solamere because of its diversified approach and because he knew the founders and had confidence in them.

Likewise, the Romneys were reported to have invested at least $1 million in Elliott Associates, L.P., a hedge fund specializing in “distressed assets.” Elliott buys up cheap debt, often at cents on the dollar, from lenders to deeply troubled nations such as Congo-Brazzaville, then attacks the debtor states with lawsuits to squeeze maximum repayment. Elliott is run by the secretive hedge-fund billionaire and G.O.P. super-donor Paul Singer, whom Fortune recently dubbed Mitt Romney’s “Hedge Fund Kingmaker.” (Singer has given $1 million to Romney’s super-pac Restore Our Future.)

It is hard to know the size of these investments. Romney’s financial disclosure form lists 25 of them in an open-ended category, “Over $1 million,” including So­lamere and Elliott, and they are not broken down further. Romney hides behind a disclaimer that the fund managers “declined to provide such information” about their underlying assets. Many of these funds are set up in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, where a confidentiality law states that you can be jailed for up to four years just for asking about such information.

Andrea Saul said of these investments, “Everything … was reported correctly.” Joseph Sandler, a Democratic lawyer who has worked with candidates on disclosures for more than two dec­ades, is skeptical. “The law is the law,” Sandler says.
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« Reply #82 on: Jul 09, 2012, 03:36 PM »

Belshazzar’s Feast

Look, we all know that wealthy people play a disproportionate role in the satantic system of campaign financing that the U.S. Supreme Court has foisted upon us. And we also know that, as F. Scott Fitzgerald put it, “the very rich are different from you and me” (“They think, deep in their hearts, they are better than we are.”).

So it’s with some concern that I am being partisan here that I maliciously wallow in Maeve Reston’s description of the attendees of one of Mitt Romney’s big Hamptons fundraisers over the weekend:

    As protesters assembled on a beach in advance of Mitt Romney’s evening event at the home of conservative billionaire David Koch, the candidate slipped to East Hampton for his first of three fundraisers on this tony stretch of Long Island.

    The line of Range Rovers, BMWs, Porsche roadsters and one gleaming cherry red Ferrari began queuing outside of Revlon Chairman Ronald Perelman’s estate off Montauk Highway long before Romney arrived, as campaign aides and staffers in white polo shirts emblazoned with the logo of Perelman’s property — the Creeks — checked off names under tight security.

    They came with high hopes for the presumed Republican nominee, who is locked in a tight race with President Obama. And some were eager to give the candidate some advice about the next four months.

    A money manager in a green Jeep said it was time for Romney to “up his game and be more reactive.” So far, said the donor (who would not give his name because he said it would hurt his business), Romney has had a “very timid offense.”

    A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

    “We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.”

Yes, “they think, deep in their hearts, they are better than we are.”

Because of Mitt’s own spectacular wealth, and the spectacular extent to which his policy agenda is congruent with the fondest hopes of his donors, there is some risk these sort of events involving these sort of people in these sort of places might assume a symbolic importance beyond the usual mutual massaging of egos.

I am reminded of “Belshazzar’s Feast,” the biblical allusion applied to a big New York fundraising banquet for presidential candidate James Blaine in 1884 that came to symbolize the Gilded Age corruption of the Republican Party (at least in the eyes of the influential “Mugwump” journalists who abandoned Blaine for Grover Cleveland that year). That event was even interpreted by some as tipping the election to Cleveland.

Mitt’s toney fundraising events may not achieve that notoriety, but after Reston’s account, I’m sure he wishes his donors would just shut up and write checks. The quotes are just, ahem, too rich.

******************
July 09, 2012 01:00 PM

Robert Gibbs Destroys Dan Senor Over Romney's Bermuda and Swiss Investments

By David


Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs tried unsuccessfully on Monday to get Romney campaign adviser Dan Senor to explain why his candidate would not release more tax returns to prove he had broken no laws by hiding money in Swiss bank accounts and a secret Bermuda corporation.

"It was reported that Mitt Romney has taken pretty extraordinary steps to hide the fact that he has a shell corporation in Bermuda," Gibbs explained during a panel with Senor on MSNBC. "We know as a result of good investigating reporting that he's had a bank account in Switzerland and he's got investments in the Caymans."

"Is somebody who has sheltered their income taxes in Switzerland and the Caymans and Bermuda really somebody who's going to get under the hood and get us to a place of tax fairness?" he wondered. "We need to know why he's got that money there. The American people deserve to know if he's sheltering this money somewhere or, quite frankly, is not paying the taxes that he owes. And the only way to do that, quite honestly, is to release more tax returns and show the American people."

Senor responded that Gibbs' assertion was "stunningly dishonest."

"There's nothing secretive about these accounts," Senor said. "The reason we know about these accounts is because they are in the tax returns Mitt Romney released and they were in the federal disclosure form that Mitt Romney -- financial disclosure form that Mitt Romney submitted. ... Are you suggesting that Mitt Romney is guilty of some kind of felony here?"

"Dan, what I'm suggesting is nobody has any idea because the only person with the tax returns is Mitt Romney," Gibbs explained. "Let's understand that the day before Mitt Romney became governor of Massachusetts, he transferred the ownership of this shell corporation in Bermuda to his wife in order to not have to disclose it. The day before he came governor of Massachusetts! The notion that Mitt Romney has been transparent about the fact that he has offshored money all over this world is patently ridiculous, OK?"

Gibbs added: "But look, Dan, I don't know if he's paid money. I don't know if he's getting a tax break. I don't know if he's sheltering money. He gave 23 years of tax returns to John McCain's vetting committee when he wanted to be vice president of the United States. That vetting committee picked Sarah Palin and not Mitt Romney. Did they do that because something they saw in 23 years of tax returns? Why give John McCain 23 years of tax returns and give the American people 2 years of tax returns?"

But instead of addressing the tax returns, Senor pivoted to an Obama campaign ad that Factcheck.org said determined had "thinly supported" claims about Romney outsourcing jobs while he was running Bain Capital.

"But why not release the tax returns?" MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski interrupted.

"Can we call a spade [a spade]?" Senor objected. "Talking about wanting to change the subject, this wave of attacks against Mitt Romney is a distraction from the real discussion, which is we're in a jobs crisis and we're not talking about jobs."

"Dan, release the tax returns," Gibbs pressed. "Put all this to rest. If Mitt Romney's not hiding something in Bermuda and Switzerland and the Caymans, it'll be in the tax returns. Why not simply do it?"

"It sounds like no one -- including you -- are not suggesting based on what he's released in those accounts, he has not paid his taxes fully, he's not paid the taxes that he's owed," Senor replied.

"Why does he have these corporations?" Gibbs continued. "Dan, do you have secret Cayman account? Do you have a company in Bermuda? Do you have a Swiss bank account?"

"This is a distraction from the real issue!" Senor insisted.

"Eventually Dan will answer the question," Gibbs quipped. "It will probably be in reruns."
Tags: Bain Capital, Barack Obama, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dan Senor, Election 2012, Mika Brzezinski, Mitt Romney, MSNBC, Robert Gibbs, swiss bank, Switzerland

*****************************************
July 09, 2012 12:00 PM

Biff and Bitty's Magnificent Koch Adventure

By karoli

Biff™ and Bitty™* think of themselves as VIPs.

    A woman in a blue chiffon dress poked her head out of a black Range Rover here on Sunday afternoon and yelled to an aide to Mitt Romney, “Is there a V.I.P. entrance. We are V.I.P.”

Of course, gentle reader, they must be VIPs because, well, they're in The Hamptons and they've just shelled out a whole lot of money to chomp bonbons and drink champagne with Mitt whilst rubbing elbows with the moneyed elite from Wall Street to Overland Park, Kansas, after all.

Biff™ and Bitty™ don't think much of the people beneath them, beginning with the current President of the United States, who simply does not suit.

    A few cars back, Ted Conklin, the owner of the American Hotel in Sag Habor, N.Y., long a favorite of the well-off and well-known in the Hamptons, could barely contain his displeasure with Mr. Obama. “He is a socialist. His idea is find a problem that doesn’t exist and get government to intervene,” Mr. Conklin said from inside a gold-colored Mercedes as his wife, Carol Simmons, nodded in agreement.

    Ms. Simmons paused to highlight what she said was her husband’s generous spirit: “Tell them who’s on your yacht this weekend! Tell him!”

    Over Mr. Conklin’s objections, Ms. Simmons disclosed that a major executive from Miramax, the movie company, was on the 75-foot yacht, because, she said, there were no rooms left at the hotel.

That poor Miramax executive, stuck on a big boat with all those giant, 40-room homes in the Hamptons? No room at the mansion? Or wasn't he 1% enough for them?

Biff™ and Bitty™ are always so concerned about those who aren't quite up to their level of understanding. They're especially concerned about those "low-information voters" who just don't understand:

    A New York City donor a few cars back, who also would not give her name, said Romney needed to do a better job connecting. “I don’t think the common person is getting it,” she said from the passenger seat of a Range Rover stamped with East Hampton beach permits. “Nobody understands why Obama is hurting them.

    “We’ve got the message,” she added. “But my college kid, the baby sitters, the nails ladies — everybody who’s got the right to vote — they don’t understand what’s going on. I just think if you’re lower income — one, you’re not as educated, two, they don’t understand how it works, they don’t understand how the systems work, they don’t understand the impact.“

Gawd, it's tough being Biff™ and Bitty™. All around them there are nails ladies and babysitters who just don't understand that the black guy in the White House is out to get them, each and every one. And he has disappointed them so. Here they stepped up and donated and stuff in 2008 because he was a black guy full of hope and possibility, at least as far as possibility meant bowing and scraping to their demands, and yet. He passed that Republican socialist health care plan and ZOMG, Dodd-Frank! How will they survive another four years of THAT?

Biff™ and Bitty™ are fearless, too. They aren't afraid to stand up for their principles, unless those principles would cost them business. Can't have that!

    A money manager in a green Jeep said it was time for Romney to "up his game and be more reactive." So far, said the donor, who declined to give his name because he said it would hurt his business, Romney has had a "very timid offense."

Ooooh, brave Biff™! Giving Mittens that advice while living in fear of losing business for having an opinion! This is Your Republican Party, folks. Step up and look close.

Twitter eavesdroppers have left us some nuggets from the Big Parties In The Hamptons. Enjoy! Share! We may not get to eat the bonbons but we can share the bon mots.

*Biff™ and Bitty™: Trademarked representatives of the anonymous .01 percent
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« Reply #83 on: Jul 10, 2012, 09:42 AM »

July 10, 2012 08:00 AM

Where I Respond To Romney's Whimpers About Taxing 'Job Creators'

By karoli

Monday morning President Obama laid the foundation for the core battle of this election: preserving tax cuts for those earning $250,000 or less while rolling them back for the 2 percent who earn more than that.

Immediately, the Romney campaign responded with this:

    President Obama’s response to even more bad economic news is a massive tax increase.

Lie #1: "Massive Tax Increase"
Only in Karl Rove's America could it be true that maintaining lower tax rates for 98 percent of individual taxpayers is a "massive tax increase." Just in case there's any doubt here, we are talking about less than a 5 percent increase in taxes on anyone with earned income in excess of $250,000. Will someone at the Romney campaign please let me know how this "massive tax increase" compares with the Affordable Care Act as the "biggest tax increase in US history"? Settle down, boys. Your caviar might rebel if you don't. Onward.

    It just proves again that the President doesn’t have a clue how to get America working again and help the middle class. The President’s latest bad idea is to raise taxes on families, job creators, and small businesses.

Lie #2: "Raising taxes on families, job creators and small businesses."

First, a look at what Mitt Romney calls "small business." Romney is referring to those "small businesses" known as pass-through entities. Rachel Maddow explained how these work to the benefit of the ultra-wealthy a couple of years back.

In a nutshell, those "pass-through entities", usually LLCs (Limited Liability Companies) or LPs (Limited Partnerships) pass through all of the income and expenses to owners instead of paying taxes as a business entity. Those owners then include that business income and/or expense on their tax returns. On the one tax return Mitt Romney released, for example, nearly all of the $26 million he declared as income was attributable to pass-through entities, some of them located in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda and others located here in the United States. Because some of that pass-through income came to him as "carried interest", he also paid a far lower tax rate on $12.5 million in income in 2010.

Here are some of the "small businesses" that generated income for the Romney Family Trust in 2010:
[See attachment at bottom of this post]

For the record, there isn't one single "job creator" on that list. Not one. Those are investment funds through Bain, Goldman Sachs, and other ventures. If you think of these funds as Russian nested dolls, inside each fund is a little piece of another business. That's how Bain bought Dominos, Staples, and others. They created a "business" for the purpose of receiving investment funds, then use that business to distribute income.

There are many unopened nested boxes still, which is why Romney should release more years of his tax returns. But for this post, let's just deal with this nonsense claim about "job creators" being penalized as a result of a small increase in the personal tax rate of those earning more than $250,000 per year.

Paul Krugman compares and contrasts one Romney's job creation record with another:


    What did George Romney do for a living? The answer was straightforward: he ran an auto company, American Motors. And he ran it very well indeed: at a time when the Big Three were still fixated on big cars and ignoring the rising tide of imports, Romney shifted to a highly successful focus on compacts that restored the company’s fortunes, not to mention that it saved the jobs of many American workers.

    It also made him personally rich. We know this because during his run for president, he released not one, not two, but 12 years’ worth of tax returns, explaining that any one year might just be a fluke. From those returns we learn that in his best year, 1960, he made more than $660,000 — the equivalent, adjusted for inflation, of around $5 million today.

    Those returns also reveal that he paid a lot of taxes — 36 percent of his income in 1960, 37 percent over the whole period. This was in part because, as one report at the time put it, he “seldom took advantage of loopholes to escape his tax obligations.” But it was also because taxes on the rich were much higher in the ’50s and ’60s than they are now. In fact, once you include the indirect effects of taxes on corporate profits, taxes on the very rich were about twice current levels.

    Now fast-forward to Romney the Younger, who made even more money during his business career at Bain Capital. Unlike his father, however, Mr. Romney didn’t get rich by producing things people wanted to buy; he made his fortune through financial engineering that seems in many cases to have left workers worse off, and in some cases driven companies into bankruptcy.

    And there’s another contrast: George Romney was open and forthcoming about what he did with his wealth, but Mitt Romney has largely kept his finances secret. He did, grudgingly, release one year’s tax return plus an estimate for the next year, showing that he paid a startlingly low tax rate. But as the Vanity Fair report points out, we’re still very much in the dark about his investments, some of which seem very mysterious.

    Put it this way: Has there ever before been a major presidential candidate who had a multimillion-dollar Swiss bank account, plus tens of millions invested in the Cayman Islands, famed as a tax haven?

Krugman's contrasting tale of two Romneys is a perfect illustration of why Romney the younger's whimpers about Mean Mister Obama's penchant for punishing so-called job creators is nonsensical and stupid. The only jobs Mittens has created are in the "wealth preservation" industry -- an army of accountants and lawyers to keep up with the myriad companies he's bankrupted in the name of "capitalism."


* romney-pass-thru-entities-large_0.jpg (105.62 KB, 722x536 - viewed 27 times.)
« Last Edit: Jul 10, 2012, 10:17 AM by Steve » Logged
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« Reply #84 on: Jul 11, 2012, 01:18 PM »

From the American magazine Perspectives

July 10, 2012
   
                           You Know Mitt Romney Is Out of Touch When...

For months, Mitt Romney like John McCain before him has tried to compare President Obama to Marie Antoinette, an Ivy League educated elitist who is out of touch with the American people. Of course, that task is a daunting one for the $250 million man who insists his personal finances remain a mystery to voters. And Romney's laughable case of projection became even more comical after he held three $75,000-a-head fundraisers in the Hamptons last weekend.

Obviously, Mitt Romney is the one who is badly out of touch. And here are just some of the ways you can tell.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he tells his guests in the Hamptons that "I spend a lot of time worrying about those that are poor" after previously declaring, "I'm not concerned about the very poor."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when one of his Hamptons donors explains "the common person" and "the lower income" voter "don't understand what's going on."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch he expresses his disdain for those common people who wear polyester and plastic rain ponchos, while praising his friends who own NASCAR and NFL teams.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he criticizes President Obama's call to let the Bush tax cuts expire for only the top two percent of earners as a "massive tax increase" for "on families, job creators, and small businesses," while proposing an average $264,000 annual windfall for the top 0.1%.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his tax cut proposal supposedly focused on "the people in the middle" could save his own family tens of millions of dollars and his billionaire backers billions more by ending the estate tax.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his surrogate Haley Barbour says Mitt's tax returns don't "amount to diddly," the same expression he used to describe slavery after his state of Mississippi omitted mention of it in its Confederate Heritage Month declaration.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when defends his supposedly blind trust's investments by claiming "I don't even know where they are" after having accused Ted Kennedy in 1994 of running a "an age-old ruse" with a "blind trust that appeared to be not quite so blind."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his supposedly blind trust transferred 12,000 shares in a Bermuda company to his wife's blind trust the day before he was sworn in as governor in 2003, closed a $3 million Swiss account in 2010 and invested $10 million in son Tagg's new firm, Solamere Capital.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he tells college students to "borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he tells high school students to "get as much education as you can afford" or "if you can't afford it, scholarships are available, shop around for loans, make sure you go to a place that's reasonably priced, and if you can, think about serving the country 'cause that's a way to get all that education for free."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he announces his five sons serve their nation by "helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he joined pro-Vietnam War protesters at Stanford, only to then secure multiple deferments to perform his church mission in France.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his wife Ann explains that when Mitt was at Harvard, she was able to avoid the "dignity of work" because "Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time. The stock came from Mitt's father."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when the Harvard law and business school graduate repeatedly accuses Barack Obama of spending too much time in the Harvard faculty lounge.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he explains his refusal to release his tax returns by declaring "I don't put out which tooth paste I use either. It's not that I have something to hide."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his father released 12 years of tax returns and he himself gave John McCain 23 years' worth in a failed attempt to become his 2008 running mate.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when the estimated 14 percent tax rate he paid the IRS is lower than many middle class families.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his tax cut proposal supposedly focused on "the people in the middle" delivers two-thirds of its benefits to millionaires - including Mitt Romney.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he claims that his donations to his church and other groups mean his "tax rate is really closer to 45 or 50 percent."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he has his wife Ann do interviews in 2002 and 2006 touting his pro-choice credentials and his "essential" individual health insurance mandate in Massachusetts.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his wife Ann laments "unfortunately" the world now knows how "successful in business" her husband has been, but that nevertheless wants to "remind you where our riches are: our riches are with our families."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his wife Ann insists they won't travel abroad as First Couple because "our vacations and our happiness come from being with our children and our grandchildren," and adds that she and her husband "own places for that."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he jokes he never intended to run for office again after 2008 because "I went back and bought a home which was far too expensive and grandiose for the purposes of another campaign."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he apparently forgets which state he lives in, votes in and pays taxes in - twice.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he sells two of his four multimillion dollars mansions because he and his wife are, according to an aide, "downsizing and simplifying."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his advice to struggling American homeowners is "don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom, allow investors to buy homes, put renters in them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he says Democrats are "the party of the monarchists."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his wife Ann jokes that "Mitt doesn't even know the answer to that" when asked how many dressage horses she owns.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when one of those often seven-figure horses is on the U.S. Olympic team, and the Romneys' potential $77,000 tax deduction for horse-related expenses exceeds the average household income in America.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he was raised in upscale Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, claims he's just "a guy from Detroit" and then authors an op-ed piece titled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he then claims "I'll take a lot of credit" for the Obama rescue package which saved the American auto industry.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he pretends he had to worry about "getting a pink slip," but stills gets a chuckle thinking about those who did when his father moved AMC jobs from Michigan to Wisconsin.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he looks back fondly at being with his dad at Detroit's Golden Jubilee, a celebration marking the 50th anniversary of the American automobile which occurred on June 1, 1946, "fully nine months before Romney was born."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when the $250,000,000 son of an auto magnate jokes with jobless voters, "I'm also unemployed."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he stages a photo-op with an unemployed single mom in Michigan - who also happens to be the mother of a paid campaign staffer.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he declares himself part of the "80 to 90 percent us" who are middle class.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he declares "I love a flat tax" after calling it a "tax cut for fat cats."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when decides he will not seek donations to repay $45 million in personal loans he made to his failed presidential bid -- "the biggest ever made by a candidate in a primary campaign."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he responds "I'm not concerned about the voters" after Tim Russert asked him "why not tell the voters of Florida and across the country how much of your own wealth you're spending?"

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he lies about federal employees making more than their private sector counterparts and then complains about "our servants who are making a lot more money than we are."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when calls for state pension funds to divest their holdings in companies doing business in Iran, only to learn that his former employer is doing just that.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he calls for a crackdown on illegal immigration, only to reply "aw geez" when informed undocumented workers have been landscaping his home.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when his defense is "I'm running for office, for Pete's sake, I can't have illegals."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when claims he opposes a religious test for office after having said "based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he starts uncomfortably chanting "who let the dogs out" during what looks like his only interaction with African Americans on the campaign trail.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he still chants "who let the dogs out" after the world learns he strapped the family dog to the roof of his car.

You know Mitt is out of touch when his own adviser Michael Murphy informs Massachusetts voters in 2005 that Romney's "been a pro-life Mormon faking it as a pro-choice friendly."

You know that Mitt Romney is out of touch when he comes out in support of anti-abortion "personhood" amendments after having previously told Americans he was pro-choice because "I had a dear, close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he said of Osama Bin Laden in 2007, "It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he panders to the NRA by proudly declaring "I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," only to clarify two days later "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when explained that while he placed Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's work among his favorite novels, "I'm not in favor of his religion by any means. But he wrote a book called 'Battlefield Earth' that was a very fun science-fiction book."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when says "My life experience convinced me that Ronald Reagan was right" and giving himself a 10 out of 10 on the conservative scale a decade after proclaiming during his 1994 Senate run, "I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he planned to run in 2008 against Hillary Clinton by claiming "Hillary = France" despite his having addressed the 2002 Winter Olympics in fluent French.

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he runs an ad in Spanish which concludes "soy Mitt Romney y apruebo este mensaje" (I'm Mitt Romney and I approved this message) after demanding that "English needs to be the language that is spoken in America. We cannot be a bilingual nation like Canada."

You know Mitt Romney is out of touch when he starts flip-flopping on flip-flopping, claiming "I think you'll find that I've been as consistent as human beings can be" after having declared "if you're looking for someone who's never changed any positions on any policies, then I'm not your guy."
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« Reply #85 on: Jul 12, 2012, 12:38 PM »

yet again - more lies.  Also from this article I realized for the first time that Mitt Romney was the SOLE OWNER of Bain Capital - no partners or investors, just Mitt.  So how can he pass the buck to anyone else for anything that happened at Bain?  None the less, I am certain he will do, and excel at, just that!  Liar in Chief.
**********************************************************************

Obama team: Romney committed a felony or lied to voters
By JENNIFER EPSTEIN |
7/12/12 12:22 PM EDT

Mitt Romney either lied in federal filings that show he worked at Bain Capital through 2002 and could be guilty of a felony, or has lied to the American people in saying he left the company in 1999, the Obama campaign is arguing in light of news reports on the firm’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“This is serious business,” said Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign’s counsel, in a conference call for reporters coming after the Boston Globe published a story Thursday that calls into question the timeline of Romney’s involvement of the firm that the Republican candidate has been promulgating for years.

Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter laid out the issue as the Obama team sees it: “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony."

"Or," she said, "he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments,” including layoffs and the outsourcing of jobs.

If the latter is true, she said, it’s a “real character and trust issue” that voters should be aware of as they decide who to vote for in the presidential election. If Romney was still at Bain through 2002, he's also "politically responsible for the consequences" of deals that the firm made through then.

Andrea Saul, the Romney campaign's press secretary, countered that the Globe's "article is not accurate" because"[a]s 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."

The emergence of the SEC filings appears to conflict with that, the Obama campaign contends. There are “literally scores of filings that make it very, very clear that over a period of time that Gov. Romney claims that he was not active with Bain, the Securities and Exchange Commission was informed” that Romney was the chief executive officer, chairman of the board and sole shareholder of the company, Bauer said.

SEC filings "are very carefully scrutinized by lawyers because of the very severe consequences that follow from making statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission that are not correct," he said. And if that's the case, and Romney's role in the firm was misrepresented in filings, "in the normal course would subject somebody in this position to every manner of investigation with all the consequences that you can imagine would follow."

People who interacted with Romney at Bain between 1999 and 2002 -- and who would corroborate the storyline suggested by the SEC filings -- 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.

Asked about the Globe story during his daily briefing on Thursday, White House press secretary Jay Carney deferred comment. "It's an interesting read but beyond that I'd refer you to the campaign," he said.

*******************************************************************

Mitt Romney's Bain Capital Exit Date Called Into Question By Filings

When did Mitt Romney leave Bain Capital?

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has said that he left the private equity firm in 1999, but new reports indicate that he may have stayed on until 2002.

The Boston Globe reported Thursday on SEC filings dated after February 1999 that state that Romney is the firm's "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president." A 2003 Massachusetts disclosure form says that he owned 100 percent of the company in 2002, and forms indicate that he earned $100,000 as an "executive" in 2001 and 2002, apart from investments.

A Romney official told the Globe that the SEC filings "do not square with common sense."

"The article is not accurate," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement sent to reporters. "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."

The story came out the same day that the Romney campaign released a television ad blasting the Obama campaign for lying about his tenure at Bain Capital. But this tactic may only serve to draw more attention to the substance of Obama's criticisms. As Romney said Wednesday on Fox News, "I respond to the attacks that come, but they say in politics if you are responding, you are losing," adding that it was better to call them "completely off base."

Mother Jones and Talking Points Memo have also highlighted SEC filings that suggest Romney did not leave the company in full in 1999.

The date Romney left the company is important, since he cites it to rebut the charge that Bain invested in firms that outsourced jobs.

"Governor Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics in February 1999," reads the campaign's response to a recent Washington Post story that it unsuccessfully tried to retract.

The Obama campaign has aired ads based on the story, which reported that Bain invested in companies that sent jobs to countries like China and India. The Romney campaign responded that no jobs were moved offshore under his tenure. More recently, Mother Jones' David Corn reported that Bain invested in a Chinese company before even the campaign says Romney left.

Factcheck.org, which disputed the truthfulness of the Post report and accepted that Romney left the firm in 1999, wrote that were that not the case, Romney "would be guilty of a federal felony by certifying on federal financial disclosure forms that he left active management of Bain Capital in February 1999."

The SEC filings listed in the Globe article were first flagged in a letter the Obama campaign sent to Factcheck.org, which nevertheless concluded that Romney never returned to active management in the company after 1999, instead shifting his focus to the 2002 Winter Olympics. But in separate SEC filings from 2000 and 2001, Romney listed his "principal occupation" as "Managing Director of Bain Capital, Inc.," and a 2003 state financial disclosure form said he owned 100 percent of the firm in 2002.

The controversy over the disclosure forms follows one over Romney's opaque personal filings. Vanity Fair looked into the candidate's personal finances, estimated at up to $250 million in his most recent disclosure form for president. The magazine found that much about his wealth was unknown and hard to check, given that many of his assets are held in offshore accounts or retirement accounts.

The Associated Press also recently investigated an offshore company in Bermuda that Romney once controlled. He transferred it to his wife's trust one day before he was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts.
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« Reply #86 on: Jul 12, 2012, 12:58 PM »

NAACP official: Romney ‘rigged crowd’ by having blacks ‘flown in’
By David Edwards
Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:31 EDT

The director to the NAACP’s Washington Bureau revealed on Thursday that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney had conservative African Americans “flown in” to the 103rd convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to make it appear that he had more support than he really did.

During an interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto, Romney said that he had met with a “number of African American leaders” after his NAACP speech and they told him “a lot of folks” were disappointed in President Barack Obama.

On Wednesday night, MSNBC host Ed Schultz asked NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary Shelton which “African American leaders” Romney was referring to.

“The campaign actually gave me a list of African American VIPs that they brought in to the NAACP meeting,” Shelton explained. “So, I’m sure those are the one they set down with because, quite frankly, none of the rank-and-file NAACPers met with him.”

“He’s talking about African American Republican politicians that were actually brought in — flown in — to the NAACP convention in Houston, Texas to be there for the [candidate] alone,” he added.

“That means that Mitt Romney rigged the crowd to support him there so he could go on TV and say, ‘You know, actually I got a lot of support among African American leaders,’” Schultz noted.

“Apparently, that’s what the case is,” Shelton agreed. “They are bringing people in that they know will support his agenda from other places that aren’t active with the NAACP. These are people that were actually brought in to provide the cheering for him so there will be some support for him along those lines.”

While Romney did receive some sparse cheers and applause during the speech, the loudest reaction came when the crowd booed him for vowing to repeal “Obamacare.”
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Steve
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« Reply #87 on: Jul 12, 2012, 02:58 PM »

What happened at Bain in 1999?
by digby

I have been wondering obsessively why Romney is so keen on saying that he left Bain in 1999 instead of 2002. I mean it's not as if he's running from his career there in general. So why is so adamant that he not be associated with it during that period? The easiest answer is that he stupidly said it without really thinking through the implications of holding the title and being compensated while allegedly being uninvolved and now he's stuck with it because of his FEC filing.

On the other hand, there are some things beyond the usual off-shoring and layoffs that he might not want it known that he profited from. Henry Blodget writes:

Quote
   [T]he reason this issue is important is that Romney wants to disavow responsibility for anything Bain or Bain companies did after early 1999.
    And one of the things that Bain did after early 1999, as Dan Primack of Fortune points out, is invest in a company called Stericycle whose services included the disposal of aborted fetuses.

   For obvious reasons, an investment in a company that performed this service might hurt Romney's standing with the right-to-life voters in the Republican party, even though Romney was pro-choice at the time the investment was made...

    As "Chairman, CEO, and President" of Bain, he damn well would have remained responsible for these decisions. In which case, saying he had "left" and implying that he had no involvement or responsibility whatsoever is highly misleading.
    The CEO of a car company may not have input into the decision of what specific cars the company makes or where it makes them (though he or she obviously could if s/he wanted), but this CEO is unequivocally responsible for these decisions.
    Similarly, if Romney was CEO of Bain at the time it made the Stericycle decision, as well as the company layoffs and other unpleasant facts that Candidate Romney would like to disown, he certainly was responsible for these decisions.


You have to wonder how the true believers would feel about that little deal. Once being pro-choice is one thing. Profiting from abortion may just be a bridge too far for people who have compared that company to Nazis.

Update: I missed this original comprehensive piece last week from Mother Jones breaking the story of the disposal business:

Quote
   The SEC filing lists assorted Bain-related entities that were part of the deal, including Bain Capital (BCI), Bain Capital Partners VI (BCP VI), Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors (a Bermuda-based Bain affiliate), and Brookside Capital Investors (a Bain offshoot). And it notes that Romney was the "sole shareholder, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of BCI, BCP VI Inc., Brookside Inc. and Sankaty Ltd."

    The document also states that Romney "may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to" 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle "in his capacity as sole shareholder" of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm's stock—the largest bloc among the firm's owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.

    Another SEC document filed November 30, 1999, by Stericycle also names Romney as an individual who holds "voting and dispositive power" with respect to the stock owned by Bain. If Romney had fully retired from the private equity firm he founded, why would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?

Good question.

Update II:

You should check out this StopStericycle site. One of their major campaigns is to out the executives of the company and warn away investors:

  
Quote
If you are a trader of stocks or a holder of mutual funds, please check your portfolio for the company Stericycle (SRCL). If you find that you are partaking in the blood money of Stericycle, pull out now. Your investment in Stericycle helps to financially support Stericycle’s daily collaboration with the abortion industry.

    Additionally, please check your portfolio for the companies listed on our top shareholders, mutual fund investors and other investors lists. These companies are profiting from Stericycle’s blood money, and if you invest in them, you are as well. We encourage you to remove your investment until these corporations stop supporting Stericycle.

    Correspondingly, it is important to also contact the corporate officers and fund managers of these companies via phone, postal mail or e-mail and inform them that you have ceased supporting their company until they discontinue their investment in Stericycle. You may click on the names of each company on our profiteers lists to obtain their respective contact information.
« Last Edit: Jul 12, 2012, 03:03 PM by Steve » Logged

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« Reply #88 on: Jul 13, 2012, 08:50 PM »

Mitt Romney's Signature Appears On Bain SEC Filings During Time He Said He Left Bain

WASHINGTON -- Between 1999 and 2001, Mitt Romney, then the CEO of Bain Capital, signed at least six documents that the private equity firm filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The documents run in direct contradiction to a claim that Romney has made repeatedly: that he had nothing to do with Bain, and therefore no responsibility for Bain investments, during that period.

It's also a claim he made in August 2011 on the federal disclosure form he filed as part of his presidential bid. Romney didn't leave any wiggle room: "Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee [for the 2002 Winter Olympics]. 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."

That is false.

SEC files include at least six instances of Romney signing documents after February 1999, proving -- unless the signatures were forged -- that his claim to not have "been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way" is wrong.

Most of the documents reference Romney as the "reporting person." Most of the filings were first reported by Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, although he noted them in an opinion column otherwise dedicated to demonstrating that Kessler was correct weeks ago when he wrote that Romney had parted ways with Bain in 1999.

For instance, in April 1999, Romney signed documents related to a Bain deal with Pirod Holdings.

In November of that year, 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.

In February 2000, he signed documents related to a deal with Wesley Jessen Visioncare Inc.

"There's no contradiction here," a Romney spokesperson told HuffPost in a statement. "He did not participate in the investment or management decisions on any of these or any other investments during this period, as has been said repeatedly by Bain Capital and as was unanimously determined by the bipartisan Massachusetts ballot commission in 2002."

That's not entirely true, either.

As HuffPost reported Thursday, Romney sat in on the board meetings of at least one Bain investment. And the SEC filings back up Romney's own earlier statements involving Bain. In February 1999, the Boston Herald reported that "Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investments and key personnel decisions. But he will leave running day-to-day operations to Bain's executive committee."

In 2002, the Boston Globe quoted Bain employee Marc Wolpow saying, "I reported directly to Mitt Romney ... You can’t be CEO of Bain Capital and say, 'I really don’t know what my guys were doing.'"

Romney later said that he became too busy organizing the Winter Olympics and couldn't fulfill even the basic responsibilities he had outlined to the Herald. Yet in a 2002 hearing in a dispute over whether he was a Massachusetts resident eligible to run for governor, he testified that he still attended board meetings for at least one Bain-affiliated company.

Also in that hearing, he claimed to have taken a temporary leave of absence from Bain to helm the Salt Lake City Olympics.

As part of running for governor, Romney was required to submit personal financial disclosure statements to Massachusetts' State Ethics Commission under threat of perjury. In his 2001 disclosure statement, he listed himself as "Former Executive" for both Bain Capital Inc. and Bain Capital LLC, with a gross income of more than $100,000. But in his 2002 disclosure statement, he provided a different answer, listing himself as "Executive" of Bain Capital Inc. and Bain Capital LLC, with a gross income of more than $100,000. The latter may be one instance in which Romney and the SEC filings agree on his role.

"It is beyond belief that three years went by and this was some sort of clerical mistake," said Charlie Baker, a Democratic political operative who worked on the residency case against Romney.

The Massachusetts Democratic Party is jumping on these latest Bain revelations. "Clearly Mitt Romney isn't telling the truth about when he left Bain Capital. It’s clear he's either lying to the American People or lied to the SEC,” said Kevin Franck, the state party's communications director, in an email.

Perjury before the Massachusetts ethics commission can lead to civil penalties, although the bar for proving perjury is high and, in Romney's case, the statute of limitations has passed.

These latest twists in the Bain narrative look like vindication for Democrat Shannon O'Brien, who lost to Romney in the 2002 governor's race. The former state treasurer had made Romney's role in Bain an issue in the campaign. But at the time, Romney deflected her attacks by denying any involvement in the firm once he joined the Olympic planning effort in Utah, much as he is doing today, with less success.

"Ten years ago, when I ran against Mitt Romney for Governor, my campaign was attacked for misstating the truth about Romney's tenure at Bain Capital. Massachusetts voters were told that Romney was absolutely not the leader of Bain at a time when bankruptcies and layoffs were devastating workers at companies in their portfolio," O'Brien told HuffPost in an email. "Recent news stories now present clear evidence that Mitt Romney didn’t tell the truth to Massachusetts when he ran for Governor in 2002 and he's not telling the truth to the American people today."

O'Brien continued, pushing for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee to release his tax returns and settle issues over his finances now.

"I released my tax returns when I ran for Governor in 2002, and encouraged Mitt Romney to do so as well, but he refused to comply," she wrote. "He should follow the inspiration of his father, George Romney, and other presidential candidates and release 12 years of tax returns so that the American voters have a chance to learn more about the background and ethics of the man who wants to be their president."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/mitt-romney-bain-departure_n_1669006.html
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Rad
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« Reply #89 on: Jul 14, 2012, 06:59 AM »

Romney refuses to release earlier tax returns, demands President Obama apologize

By Muriel Kane
Friday, July 13, 2012 19:54 EDT

Candidate also confirms he has no intention of releasing income tax returns for years prior to 2010

In an interview with ABC News on Friday, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney insisted that he had played “no role whatsoever in the management of Bain Capital after February of 1999″ and demanded that President Obama apologize for remarks by his campaign staff implying that Romney might have committed a felony by misrepresenting his status with the firm.

“The president needs to take control of these people,” Romney stated. “It’s Chicago-style politics at its worst and the president promised something better than this when he ran the last time. And he ought to disavow it and reign in these people who are running out of control. … He sure as heck ought to say that he’s sorry for the kinds of attacks that are coming from his team. … This is simply beneath the dignity of the presidency of the United States.”

The Washington Post has copies of six SEC forms that Romney signed as Bain’s president, chief executive officer, and chairman between 1999 and 2001. According to Romney, however, he was no longer making any management decisions and signed the forms only because it took several years “to negotiate a departure and retirement program.”

In another hastily arranged interview on Friday, Romney told CNN that he has no intention of releasing more than two years of his income tax returns.

“We’ve complied with the law,” Romney stated. “The law requires us to put out a full financial disclosure. That I’ve done. I know there will always be calls for more, people always want to get more, and, you know, 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. … That’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances.”

Meanwhile, President Obama continued to hammer Romney on Frida, telling an ABC affiliate, “My understanding is that Mr. Romney attested to the SEC, multiple times, that he was the chairman, CEO and president of Bain Capital, and I think most Americans figure if you are the chairman, CEO and president of a company that you are responsible for what that company does.”

The dispute, which started off with questions about whether Romney should be held responsible for layoffs and bankruptcies at companies managed by Bain during that period, has now turned into an issue of Romney’s character. As the president went on to say, “Ultimately, Mr. Romney, I think, is going to have to answer those questions because, if he aspires to being president, one of the things you learn is you are ultimately responsible for the conduct of your operations.”

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr


* Mitt-Romney-caricature-with-stars-via-Flickr.jpg (25.96 KB, 615x345 - viewed 20 times.)
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