Happy Friday, Everyone. We hope youv’e enjoyed 3 Chics’ featured artist Al Jarreau.
Happy Friday, Everyone. We hope youv’e enjoyed 3 Chics’ featured artist Al Jarreau.
Even though 3Chics Politico is written and curated by three women: Ametia, Rikyrah, and SouthernGirl2, I must nominate this as one of the most engaging blogs I've found. Devoted to politics and culture, these three shine a light on contemporary life with humor and spirit.
|rikyrah on Open Thread | So…The Mou…|
|rikyrah on Open Thread | More of the Vice…|
|Eliihass on Open Thread | More of the Vice…|
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who said it?
who said that folks were feeding the Boston Globe and folks like David Corn tips?
Corn just admitted as much on Tweety’s show.
” I’m being sent all sorts of tips.”
BWA HA HA H AH AH HA HA HA H
The Most Important Ignored Case in the Country, Cont’d
By Charles P. Pierce at 3:07PM
The challenge to the Voting Rights Act that we’ve been following hit closing arguments on Friday in the federal district court in Washington, D.C. On Thursday, the final day of testimony got right down to the nub of the gist, with two state senators from Texas arguing that the law was designed to discriminate against minorities, and that the entire history of the act was proof of that.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, testified that her amendments to make the bill more similar to a voter ID law implemented in Indiana, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court, were dismissed outright. Davis said Texas Democrats were steamrolled: “The voter ID bill, we all believed, was a racially motivated bill.”
Texas’s argument, of course, is that this bill is Not About Race because It’s Never About Race and, because of that, sotto voce, not only should the new law in Texas be allowed to stand, but that Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 should be eliminated because we, as a nation, have gotten beyond those awful days because we elected a black man president. Or something. So sayeth Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, who’s also been battling the tyranny of Obamacare and the jackboots of the EPA to protect Texas’s 10th amendment rights to bad air, poisoned water, and sick children. Freeeeeeedooooom! And, also, he’s ben busy blaming the president for shooting up El Paso.
After a weeklong trial, both the DOJ and voter ID opponents who intervened in the case failed to produce a single Texan who will be unable to vote because of the photo ID requirement,” Abbott said in a statement. “Further, the state successfully showed that the photo ID requirement applies equally to all Texans and that no minority group will be disproportionately impacted by SB (Senate Bill) 14.”
This same argument could have been made as regards the poll tax in Mississippi in advance of the elections of, say, 1962.
Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/voting-right-act-closing-arguments-10621643#ixzz20XRUpcAJ
Posted at 04:22 PM ET, 07/13/2012
Is the Romney team overconfident?
By Jamelle Bouie
After days of being pummeled on outsourcing, off-shore accounts, and his “shadow years” at Bain Capital, Mitt Romney is giving interviews to ABC News, NBC News and CBS News in response to various questions about his conduct.
Given the pace of the revelations, this seems like rapid response, but in terms of the broader attacks on Romney’s private sector experience, it’s a fairly slow reaction. For the last two months, the Obama campaign has gone unchallenged as it showered swing states with a torrent of ads attacking Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, and the early word is that they’re having an effect, as voters are now less certain about the meaning of Romney’s private sector experience.
The astounding thing about all of this is that it was incredibly predictable. Democratic politicians have been running against Bain Capital since 1994, and the attacks entered the public conversation — again — during the Republican presidential primary. The attacks aren’t the exactly same — Romney’s “leave of absence” wasn’t an issue 2002, for example — but they should have been expected all the same.
Yesterday, Jonathan Bernstein pointed to the weak primary field as a possible reason for why the Romney team has been caught flat-footed against Team Obama. He correctly notes that — despite the constant drama of the Republican contest — the actual competitors were lackluster at best. It’s possible that, in addition to handing Romney the nomination, this poor competition led to overconfidence on part of the Romney campaign. This isn’t to say that the Romney team has been outmatched — there’s no evidence that’s the case — but that they’ve operated under what should have been favorable circumstances since the race began. When the Republican primary began in earnest last fall, President Obama was at the nadir of his popularity, and most observers saw him as an underdog for reelection. Obama’s position eventually improved, but the sluggish economy has kept him vulnerable.
When you combine a sluggish economy with a weakened incumbent, an easy primary, and a receptive public, it’s not hard to see how you might come away with a little more confidence than is warranted. To wit, last month, Romney strategists Stuart Stevens asked GQ correspondent Reid Cherlin this pointed question: “If Mitt Romney’s so bad, why’s he beating Barack Obama?” He went on to describe Obama as a “terrible candidate” who is “unable to connect.” But Romney is not “beating” Obama.
With few exceptions, the men who become president are very good at politics; it’s generally not wise to assume otherwise. But it seems that some in Romney’s camp have done just that about their competition — Obama and his campaign — and it has left them floundering in the face of 18-year-old attacks that should have been obvious to anyone paying attention.
Why Romney Still Doesn’t Get It
A reader writes:
What scares me is the realization that the Romney apologists are not simply being political here. They seem honestly perplexed that people are making a big deal over the fact that Romney said under oath that he was the CEO of a company for three years that he also said under oath he wasn’t managing.
Because, to them, it is not a big deal. It’s just how things work when you are dealing with a “complicated” business and annoying government regulations. Those who work in (and report about) corporate finance have completely bought into the idea that what they do is way too important and complicated for the general public or a bunch of government regulators to understand. So they play by their own rules – which are only tangentially related to the actual laws on the books meant to keep the system running and protect the public.
And that’s how you end up with the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.
50 Shades of Bain: Why Attacks Have Only Just Begun
By Francis Wilkinson Jul 13, 2012 12:21 PM CT .
Democratic attacks on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital LLC have been under way for weeks, and the election is still almost four months away. At what point does the Obama campaign open a new front in the ad war?
From the Democrats’ perspective, Bain is like one of those all-inclusive resorts offering all-you-can-eat buffets along with a relentless schedule of games and activities. You never have to leave the island.
This strategy seems destined to have two distinct phases.
Phase I started with the attack on Romney for firing workers at companies that Bain took over. This was a reprise of Democratic strategist Bob Shrum’s 1994 ads against Romney, who was running for Senate against Ted Kennedy. Shrum sent a camera crew to Indiana to interview workers who’d been laid off in the wake of a Bain takeover. Their unscripted pain wreaked havoc with Romney’s poll numbers.
Obama followed the job loss attack on Romney with an attack for outsourcing jobs, a variation on the theme. We’re in the midst of that stage right now, with charges and countercharges that Romney invested in companies that shipped jobs overseas to benefit from cheap labor.
Those two attacks represent only a fraction of the potential Bain bounty.
Pensions. Layoffs at some Bain-owned firms were accompanied by huge losses in workers’ pensions.
Tax Rate. Romney’s refusal to reveal years of tax returns has led to Democratic charges that he is “the most secretive” candidate since Richard Nixon, which I don’t think they mean as a compliment. If Romney resists pressure to release his taxes, the attacks will escalate. If he buckles to pressure and releases them, Democrats will pummel Romney for taking advantage of low tax rates due to carried interest, capital gains, the deductibility of leverage and other breaks that benefit high-income investors more than waitresses and plumbers. And then there are words like “Cayman” and “Swiss,” which are just not standard vocabulary in a presidential finance discussion.
Republican elites shut down these same attacks on Romney when Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry made them in the primaries because they alarmed donors and threatened to make collateral damage of party policy — especially calls for additional tax cuts for the wealthy. The Obama forces intend to finish the job that Gingrich and Perry started.
In Phase II, Obama can equate the less savory elements of Romney’s creative destruction with current economic conditions and the Republican platform.
In shorthand, each private act has a public corollary:
Firing workers = rising unemployment;
Outsourcing = low U.S. wages;
“Looting” pensions = privatizing Medicare and Social Security;
Preferential tax treatment for private-equity managers = a tax system stacked against the middle class.
Democrats can make a potent stew merging Romney’s private and public selves. The goal is to wind up at a point where the economic problems and anxieties that Republicans intend to pin on Obama are instead coiled like a cobra around Romney.
Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 07/13/2012
Foes of Obama’s tax plan are mainly protecting the top one percent
By Greg Sargent
Republicans — and a few Democrats, too — keep claiming that Obama’s plan to extend the Bush tax cuts on those under $250,000 would raise taxes on “job creators” and “small businesses,” because Obama wants to raise taxes on the two percent of taxpayers who earn more than $250,000.
In reality, Obama’s plan — which will be voted on in the Senate this month — actually is a continuation of a tax cut on the vast majority of the income of the vast majority of Americans, job creators and small businesses included. Senators who vote against this plan will have mainly protected the wealth of the top one percent.
Here’s why. As a few of us keep pointing out, Obama’s plan continues the tax cut on all income up to $250,000, including that earned by those who make more than that. The restoration of Clinton-era rates would only hit income above $250,000, which is earned by two out of every 100 taxpayers, and represents only a very small share of the overall income enjoyed by many of them.
Some folks get this. But the significance of it has gotten lost. What it means is that the tax hike component of Obama’s plan represents a far smaller tax increase than much of the rhetoric on this issue would lead you to believe.
I asked the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center to draw up a chart that illustrates this in a new way:
Bain: He’s Drowning Not Waving, Ctd
I am a lawyer who does some securities litigation. Some of the commentary from people who say this is “no big deal” sounds like corporate lawyers arguing technicalities to regulatory boards and policy wonks. Romney is running for President. If he wants to win (I hope he loses) he needs to know his audience. The average voter is more like a member of a jury than an SEC board member or securities lawyer. Here is the case that I would make against Romney on this issue, in a nutshell:
He was listed as President, CEO, and sole stockholder of Bain until 2002 on SEC filings that carry criminal penalties if they are false.
He doesn’t dispute that he owned the company, lock, stock and barrel.
During that time we know that he was paid at least $100,000 – an enormous sum to most jurors. You don’t get paid that kind of money for doing nothing.
We don’t know how much more he was paid because he won’t release his taxes.
Before he ran for Governor of Mass in 2002, he talked about how he attended board meetings for Staples and Marriott – two Bain Companies during that time period.
He is responsible, like all CEOs, for what Bain did through 2002.
He says it took three years to “change the name of the CEO”? Bain would target a company, swoop in, divert all the cash, pick the bones, fire the employees and be gone in less time than that.
His story is (insert synonym for bullshit)
Then, when opposing counsel wanted to argue Romney wasn’t paying attention to particular deals, that SEC document was for Bain LP, not Bain Capital, LLC, or whatever, I would just let him talk. All it does is make him look like more of a BS artist.
Policeman Threatened to Kill Michelle Obama
by Steven D
Fri Jul 13th, 2012 at 02:17:00 PM EST
One of the DC police who provide motorcycle escorts to White House officials allegedly made death threats regarding the First Lady, Michelle Obama, to other officers, even describing the weapon he would use to kill her, according to the Washington Post:
The police department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating the alleged comments and notified the U.S. Secret Service Wednesday, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give details of the investigation. […]
During that conversation, the officials said, the officer allegedly said he would shoot the First Lady and then used his phone to retrieve a picture of the firearm he said he would use. It was not immediately clear what type of firearm was allegedly shown.
An officer overheard the alleged threat and reported it to a police lieutenant at the Division, who immediately notified superiors, the officials said
This isn’t some anonymous nut on the internet or mouth hate radio shock jock. This is a law enforcement officer charged with protecting the First Family and other White House officials. One can only wonder how many fellow law enforcement officers share his opinion. And don’t tell me this is just some little “joke” we can brush off, and that liberals have no sense of humor. If any DC police officers had made similar threats against Laura Bush you can rest assured not a single Republican or conservative would have called it a laughing matter.
In today’s followup story the Post indicates the President has been informed of the alleged threats to the First Lady:
President Obama has been notified of the threats a D.C. police officer is alleged to have made toward the first lady earlier this week, a spokesman for the president said Friday morning.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters traveling to Virginia with the president on Air Force One that Obama is “aware” that an officer, who worked as a motorcycle escort for White House officials and other dignitaries, had been moved to administrative duty Wednesday after he allegedly was overheard making threatening comments about Michelle Obama.
Several police officials confirmed the comments, which allegedly involved shooting the first lady. The police department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating the alleged comments and notified the U.S. Secret Service on Wednesday, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give details of the investigation.
A Billion Here, A Billion There
By John Cole July 13th, 2012
JPMorgan keeps losing tons on bad bets:
JPMorgan Chase, which reported its second-quarter results on Friday, disclosed that the losses on a soured credit bet could mount to more than $7 billion, as the nation’s largest bank indicated that traders may have intentionally tried to conceal the extent of the red ink on the disastrous position.
Amid a swirl of questions about how the traders marked their bets, JPMorgan also said Friday that it would be forced to restate its first-quarter results.
If the trades, made out of the powerful chief investment office unit in London, had been properly valued, the bank said it would have lost $1.4 billion on the position in the first quarter.
Jamie Dimon, the bank’s chief executive who has consistently reassured investors that the losses would be contained, announced that the bank lost $4.4 billion on the botched trade in the second quarter. So far this year, the bank says it has lost $5.8 billion on the trades in credit derivatives.
In a statement, JPMorgan said that “the firm has recently discovered information that raises questions about the integrity of the trader marks and suggests that certain individuals may have been seeking to avoid showing the full amount of the losses in the portfolio during the first quarter.”
Mitt Romney To Give Interviews To All Three Major Networks
Benjy Sarlin- July 13, 2012, 2:17 PM 952Mitt Romney, beating back a wave of new reports and political attacks concerning his record at Bain Capital, will give interviews to three major networks on Friday.
Romney will speak from New Hampshire with reporters for CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox News and CNN Friday afternoon, with each segment possibly airing as soon as that night’s broadcast, the Romney campaign confirmed to TPM. Romney has typically been cautious in granting interviews, making his first appearance this election cycle on a non-FOX Sunday show just last month.
Romney’s campaign is on the defensive this week. It launched two new ads to rebut Democratic attacks alleging outsourcing and layoffs by the firm he founded, Bain Capital. The Obama campaign is also seizing on multiple reports of SEC filings listing Romney as “CEO,” “chairman of the board” and “sole stockholder” in Bain years after he left to run the Olympics, and demanding Romney release more information to clear up his role.
Those networks had better ask the tough questions, and Mitt Romney had better be prepared to answer them TRUTHFULLY.
The elusive tax returns remain hidden
By Steve Benen – Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:27 PM EDT.
Former President Bill Clinton appeared on NBC’s “Today” show, and acknowledged how “perplexed” he is that Mitt Romney has only disclosed his tax returns for one year. “That struck me as a little odd,” Clinton said.
What’s especially interesting now, however, is that Republicans don’t even agree amongst themselves on this issue. Virginia Gov. Bob “Ultrasound” McDonnell (R), for example, insisted this morning that Romney has already “released everything he needs to and more.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said largely the same thing a few days ago — asked when Romney might release the documents, Chaffetz argued, “I think he has released them.”
Other Republicans, meanwhile, see this differently. Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) have all encouraged Romney to release more returns, as his father did, and some conservatives in the media have joined the chorus.
As for why Romney refuses to release the materials — remember, he turned over 23 years’ worth of returns to the McCain campaign, so the documents shouldn’t be hard to find — we can only speculate, but theories abound. There has been no official explanation from the candidate or his campaign team.
July 13, 2012 12:02 PM
Let’s Have A Country As Good As the Olympics!
By Ed Kilgore
In a bizarre if somewhat predictable development, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a very prominent supporter of Mitt Romney’s candidacy and a possible running-mate, had this to say today:
Asked during a press conference here whether he thought Romney’s experience at Bain should be part of his “record,” McDonnell shook his head and said “No. No.”
Wait a minute. I thought Romney’s experience at Bain was precisely what Mitt’s been citing all along as his principal qualification to be president. He hardly ever mentions his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, since some evil genie stole into the State Capital and signed health care legislation while Romney was presumably off creating a job or stopping an abortion or something. So if we’re not looking at Bain, what are we supposed to look at?
“All of these attacks are things that happened after Mitt Romney left as the managing director of Bain — he left to run the Olympics, some of the best Olympics in history in 2002,” McDonnell said.
Oh, okay, the Olympics are what we’re supposed to judge Mitt on! That makes a lot of sense; organizing a bunch of athletic events is a whole lot like running a country. Better yet, the Summer Games this year will help reinforce the Romney message 24-7! When we see those scenes from London, we’ll all be instantly reminded of those exciting moments from Salt Lake City that we all remember so well. Except it was a lot colder. And there was snow.
I gotta ask, has any candidate for president ever had a resume that shrinks during the campaign instead of expanding? If so, I can’t much remember it.
The Bain Shadow Years Loom Larger
Today’s front-page Globe story throws Mitt Romney’s shadow years at Bain (as I called them last week) into the national media spotlight. That’s a problem for the Romney campaign.
The Globe story adds some additional evidence to what has been pretty evident for many years: when he left for Utah in 1999, Romney handed over day-to-day operational duties to other executives at Bain Capital but retained full ownership of the company in every legal, fiduciary, and ethical sense until finalizing a separation agreement in 2002. Romney, and Bain Capital, have always claimed otherwise, but have never offered anything serious to support that.
Increased scrutiny of this discrepancy potentially hurts Romney in a number of ways.
First of all, there’s Romney’s “buck stops here” problem; the buck never seems to stop with him. Everything bad that’s ever happened under him — especially involving Bain — he always blames on other people, and that just isn’t very Presidential. The shadow years look like that in a huge way.
It also reinforces the image of Romney as part of the specially insulated corporate overlord class, who get to manipulate the rules so that they always end up the winner. (I have previously dubbed this “Romney’s no-lose life”). He apparently was able to make a lot of money (or at least, what seems like a lot of money to most people) for being president, owner, and investor in a company while actually being off in Utah doing a completely different full-time job.
And, of course, he was apparently freely signing off on anything required of the president and owner, without, apparently, feeling like that meant he actually had any responsibility for anything happening at the company. It looks like legal, regulatory, and fiduciary responsibilities don’t really mean anything to super-wealthy executive types — not like when regular people sign employment documents, or mortgage documents, and so on.
The elevation of the shadow years issue will also increase pressure significantly for Romney to release additional personal financial information, including the tax returns that would indicate his income from Bain Capital sources during that time.
And finally, the shadow years controversy, in my opinion, just might finally bring some national scrutiny to the issue I’ve been asking about for many years: the conflicts of interest and other questions surrounding his deal-making at the Salt Lake City Olympics during those very years.
July 13, 2012 9:32 AM
The Condi Boom
By Ed Kilgore
The big “story” making the rounds this morning is the Drudge Report’s claim that Condoleezza Rice has emerged as the front-runner for the GOP vice presidential nomination. Matt Drudge, you see, has a “special relationship” with the Romney campaign, which is another way of saying he was strongly suspected of shilling for the candidate during the most intense phase of the primary campaign.
Conservative activists are predictably unhappy with the report and all seem to be checking with their own Romney campaign contacts to make sure Drudge doesn’t know what he’s talking about (and/or is trying to help Romney distract attention from the Bain obsession of the last week or so). Erick Erickson even suggests it could be a trial balloon calculated to so upset the Right that if Romney picks someone they dislike slightly less, they’ll be relieved.
Now some of the conservative naysayers are claiming Rice is a bad idea because she’ll remind everybody every day of George W. Bush, but I think it’s all about abortion. Rice has called herself pro-choice in the past, and with one “convert” to the anti-choice cause at the top of the ticket, the RTL crowd is not about to accept a second on the ticket, even if she does “flip” to the acceptable position. And as they proved in 2008 when they kept the notoriously stubborn John McCain from choosing a pro-choice running mate and then secured their poster girl Sarah Palin instead, they are not to be trifled with in the Republican Party.
So it ain’t happening, which leaves the two possibilities that Drudge is just looking for traffic or has something else up his sleeve, and maybe so does Mitt.
Romney’s Big Tax Return Tell
Brian Beutler- July 13, 2012, 12:33 PM
So a lot of Republicans wish Mitt Romney would just get it over with and release several years of tax returns. If you want evidence that Romney’s drowning in the Bain deluge, there it is. His allies think a complete accounting is his only lifeline.
But only a tiny circle of people really know if that’s true. And for my money the one to watch is Steve Schmidt.
Remember, in the VP vetting process Romney gave the McCain campaign over 20 years of tax returns. Schmidt ran that campaign and my hunch is he has the best combination of political smarts and actual knowledge of what’s in the returns to make the call.
Six months ago, he didn’t think it was worth it. Here’s what he said on MSNBC in January:
I think that he`s the front-runner in the race. I think he`s the most likely person to be the nominee of the party. And I would never advise him to disadvantage himself with issues like his taxes, against what is precedent for campaigns.
I think that he will probably do what presidents and vice presidents typically have done with regard to the release of their taxes. But if it was good enough for John Kerry, it ought to be good enough for Mitt Romney. He shouldn`t release information that disadvantages himself and opens up a lot of attacks.
I could be wrong about this. But if Schmidt cries uncle, I think we’ll have reached the point where the attacks Romney’s weathering right now are more harmful than what’s in those returns. And the fact that we haven’t reached that point yet suggests they’re full of ugly stuff.
Kessler: Not Waving But Drowning
Glenn Kessler, WaPo’s fact-checker, has a detailed examination of the latest Globe story. Why he thinks criminal charges are extremely unlikely:
The SEC can bring civil charges for discrepancies in filing 13D documents, but as far as we can tell none has ever been brought for someone listing a misleading title … Moreover, there is a five-year statue of limitations, though the clock could start from when the SEC becomes aware of the matter. But 12 years have passed since the filing in question. Bringing in a federal prosecutor to examine criminal charges is even a bigger stretch.
Throughout, Kessler bizarrely asserts that telling the SEC that someone is the CEO and sole owner of a company, when he isn’t, is no big deal. He says that all Romney did was list “a misleading title.” Misleading? Really? Either you are CEO or you aren’t. If you are, you have responsibility for everything the company did while you were CEO. Can anyone just make up names for company CEOs at the SEC? Count me unconvinced. Then Kessler basically concedes the point:
We have identified at least six filings that Romney did sign during this period: a April 13,, 1999 13D filing by Pirod Holdings regarding an investment in Rohn Industries; a Jan. 3, 2000 13D filing by VMM Merger Corp. regarding an investment in VDI MultiMedia; a Feb. 14, 2000 13G filing by Bain Capital Fund IV regarding Wesley Jessen Visioncare; a Feb. 13, 2001 13G filing by Bain Capital Fund VI regarding Integrated Circuit Systems; a Feb. 14, 2001 13G filing by Bain Capital Fund VI regarding ChipPAC; and a November 12, 1999 13G filing (first reported by Mother Jones) by Bain Capital Fund VI regarding Stericycle.
And he proves it:
In 2011, Romney, as a presidential candidate, filed a public financial disclosure form, under pain of perjury, that stated:
“Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. 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.”
You can see Romney’s signature, on the first page, in which he states: “I certify that statements I have made on this form and all attached schedules are true, complete and correct to the best of my knowledge.”
If Romney lied on this form, that would be a felony.
But according to Kessler, this must be a lie and therefore a felony. How does Romney attend board meetings of Bain acquisitions, sign six filings on Bain acquisitions, get a six figure salary as an executive, list himself as sole owner and CEO with the SEC in these years, and insist he was not “involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way”? Bain went further and stated that in the period involved Romney had “absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies.” All of this is a spectacular contradiction – and yet Kessler, defending, one suspects, his own reputation, refuses to give an inch.
Is Kessler that much in the Romney tank? Or can he not read his own column?
Thomson Reuters Opposes Freedom-Limiting Marriage Amendment
Friday, July 13, 2012
Growing Momentum Shows the Business Case Against the Amendment is Clear & Unequivocal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kate Brickman, Press Secretary
Phone Number: 612-460-1219
July 13, 2012 – SAINT PAUL, MN — Thomson Reuters, a company with thousands of employees in Minnesota, announced today that it firmly and clearly opposes the proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples in our state. With its historic announcement today, Thomson Reuters joins Fortune 500 companies General Mills and St. Jude Medical in opposing this freedom-limiting marriage amendment.
This news comes on the heels of a statement from leaders of seven major Minnesota law firms in opposition to this amendment, saying in the Star Tribune today that, “the marriage amendment endangers our business climate, signaling that ours is a community that does not welcome members of the LGBT community. This directly impacts Minnesota businesses, including law firms, which are dependent on attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent, regardless of sexual orientation.”
Minnesotans United for All Families – the official campaign to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the freedom to marry in Minnesota – released the following statement:
“Today’s historic announcement by Thomson Reuters shows that, more and more, companies in Minnesota are standing up and saying that this hurtful amendment is not in the best interests of businesses, families or the state of Minnesota. Companies must be able to recruit and retain the top talent in their industries, and this freedom-limiting amendment would severely and negatively impact Minnesota companies’ ability to do so. We’re proud to stand with Thomson Reuters, General Mills, St. Jude Medical, the leaders of seven of our state’s largest law firms, and the more than 100 businesses throughout Minnesota that have said no to this proposed constitutional amendment that would limit the freedom to marry for committed, same-sex couples in this state.
In an email to employees today, Thomson Reuters said, “As we’ve heard from employees, recruiters and customers, one thing has been very clear: we’re a better place when we have a rich variety of perspectives, talents, backgrounds, lifestyles and experiences in our workplace, and within the broader community from which we recruit. We believe that building a culture that thrives on diversity and inclusion and provides equal opportunities to everyone is a critical factor in our ability to serve our customers and be successful. …We believe the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, if passed, would limit our ability to recruit and retain top talent. For this reason, we do not believe that the Amendment would be good for Thomson Reuters or the business community in the state.”
Postal Service default appears likely
Source: USA Today
WASHINGTON — The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service is within weeks of defaulting on a legally required $5.5 billion payment into a health benefits fund for future retirees.
So far, it appears House leaders have no intention of preventing that from happening — they have postponed any action on relief measures until at least fall.
While a Senate-passed bill would significantly reduce the amount of the payment, the House has not acted on that legislation. House leaders also have reversed plans to take up a rival measure that would cut the payment to $1 billion, according to a spokesman for one of the measure’s sponsors, Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla.
“It appears, although we have the votes, leadership does not intend for postal reform to come to the floor before (the) August recess,” the spokesman, Fred Piccolo, said in an email late Wednesday.
Under a schedule laid out in the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, the Postal Service also is supposed to make a $5.6 billion payment into the retiree health fund at the end of September.
Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-07-13/postal-service-default/56191812/1?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=206567
Rikyrah, please check your email. Videos are ready for you! :-)
PBO speaking in Virginia. Tim Kaine is up now
Willard ran against amateurs and grifters.
The vetting that never happened
By Steve Benen – Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:33 AM EDT.
There are clear downsides to a long, contentious presidential nominating race. It can harden intra-party divisions, for example, while costing a ton of money that candidates would prefer to spend on the general election.
But they’re not all bad. Candidates who persevere through a difficult process tend to be stronger for it — they’ve not only sharpened their message, they’ve also worked through the dirt dug up by their rivals. It’s all part of an process that works a bit like a body’s immune system — you’re attacked, you survive, and the antibodies will help you survive the next time.
Right about now, it looks like Mitt Romney’s immune system hasn’t really been tested.
Josh Marshall joked the morning that with all the news coming out now on the Republican nominee, you’d think his only opponents in the primaries were a serial philanderer, a guy with aphasia, and Rick Santorum. To quote Homer Simpson, “It’s funny ’cause it’s true.”
Similarly, Jonathan Bernstein asked the right question yesterday: “How vetted is Mitt Romney?”
Here’s how it normally works: Several fully funded, fully staffed campaigns vie for the presidential nomination over a period of some two years, sometimes a little more. Some of those full-service campaigns may come to an end shortly after the Iowa caucuses, but only after having basically run serious races — think, for example, John Edwards in 2008 or Steve Forbes in 2000.
One of the consequences is in opposition research: By the time a candidate secures the nomination, odds are that the most obvious personal attacks have been exposed. It doesn’t mean they won’t still be used in the general election, or that exposing them early necessarily neutralizes them, but it does mean that party actors should get a general sense of what they’re dealing with.
Romney, however, practically ran unopposed. Yes, I realize he had challengers, but they were clownish, underfunded, and understaffed candidates who struggled badly to put Romney through his paces, and never even tried to assemble opposition-research teams. The former Massachusetts governor lost a lot of primaries and caucuses, but that was far more a symptom of his unpopularity and off-putting personality than his rivals’ strengths.
And so it falls to President Obama’s team to do what Republicans did not: shine a spotlight on scandals, controversies, unanswered questions, and secrets that Romney was supposed to address during the primaries, but which the other GOP candidates were ill-equipped to press.
With all of the recent questions surrounding Romney, Republicans can be forgiven for asking, “Why didn’t we know about this months ago?” The answer is, they should have, but Romney’s rivals weren’t up to the task.
BWA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! NUKE’EM!
Why There is No Substance to the Election
Fri Jul 13th, 2012 at 09:46:40 AM EST
You have to read to page five of Robert Draper’s piece on Obama’s Super PAC to find the money quote.
[Bill] Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities [USA] informed a focus group that Romney supported the [Paul] Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.
In the context of the article, this bit of information is used to explain why Priorities USA pivoted to focusing on Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital. But we should consider what this information means for the Romney campaign. His actual economic policies are so unpopular that people simply refuse to believe he could actually be advocating them. And that is precisely why he isn’t advocating them. He is not talking about what is actually in Paul Ryan’s budget proposal at all. Nor will he. It polls so badly that you can’t even run ads against it because people don’t believe anyone would be so radical as to propose such things.
So, that’s the starting point for understanding this election. Team Romney is trying to steal a page out of Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign by making this an election all about the economy, stupid. But his economic plans are unmentionable. Their substance is taboo. All substance on the core issue is off limits. Romney is waging a campaign on the economy without articulating any specifics.
The specifics exist, of course, in the Ryan Plan or Romney’s 29-page economic plan (or however long it is), but he’s not interested in discussing those details. Why would he be? He might as well indicate that, if elected, he intends to infect every American with chlamydia. For the same reason that Bill Burton and Paul Begala discovered that Romney’s economic plan was not ripe for criticism, Romney knows it isn’t ripe for advocacy either. It’s just this toxic thing that neither side wants to touch.
But it really is what the Republicans want and intend to do if they get the power to do it.
Don’t Call Me a Felon
Thu Jul 12th, 2012 at 11:20:51 PM EST
Mitt Romney wants us to believe something that, if true, would make him a felon. That’s just basic. You can’t make false sworn statements to the government of Massachusetts or the United States. And he either lied to Massachusetts when he testified that he attended board meetings at Bain Capital and its affiliates during the period in question or he lied in his federal disclosure forms when he said (effectively) that he did not. In any case, his campaign is furious with Stephanie Cutter for making a plain statement of tautological fact.
Obama official Stephanie Cutter made the claim following a Boston Globe article that said documents show Romney was in charge at Bain for three years longer than he had claimed. Cutter said Romney was either misrepresenting his position at Bain to the Securities and Exchange Commission, “which is a felony,” or misrepresenting to the American people.
Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades issued a blistering statement in response.
“President Obama’s campaign hit a new low today when one of its senior advisers made a reckless and unsubstantiated charge to reporters about Mitt Romney that was so over the top that it calls into question the integrity of their entire campaign,” Rhoades said. “President Obama ought to apologize for the out-of-control behavior of his staff, which demeans the office he holds. Campaigns are supposed to be hard fought, but statements like those made by Stephanie Cutter belittle the process and the candidate on whose behalf she works.”
Ms. Cutter seems unfazed as she just sent out a blast email to everyone on Obama’s list reiterating that Romney is a big fat liar who has a shady business in Bermuda, offshore bank accounts in tax shelters, won’t disclose his billionaire bundlers, and won’t release his tax returns. I think she’s enjoying herself, actually.
The Romney campaign’s “OMG! They called me a felon” outrage is pretty comical considering that he’s the one who swore under penalty of perjury both that he was the CEO of Bain and attended board meetings and that he had “not been involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way.” The only problem is figuring out which document is the false one.
And, of course, this is all largely irrelevant because even if everything Romney had ever said or sworn or testified to about his time at Bain were true, it wouldn’t exonerate from the charge that he personally enriched himself by destroying hard-working American people’s lives. His defense that a company that he owned and controlled and that made him hundreds of billions of dollars did nothing he can be held responsible for is so risible that he should be prosecuted for insulting our intelligence.
RELEASE YOUR FUCKIN’ TAX RETURNS, MITT; THEN WE CAN TALK.
Bain: He’s Drowning Not Waving
This morning, we still have no explanation for why Mitt Romney was paid a six figure salary for three years while he “had absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies” in Bain’s words in their statement yesterday. We also have no explanation of why telling the SEC in 2001 that he remained the “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president,” while he was nothing of the kind. Yes, we have been told that his departure was dramatic, and that it took time to restructure a complicated business partnership, but for a company to declare a false CEO to the SEC for three years is either the mark of spectacular incompetence – and a potential felony – or a lie.
I think it’s telling that the Romney campaign has not yet addressed these two core questions. But even its own line of response – to reiterate that even though Romney remained the formal CEO, he was completely AWOL – is now looking more tenuous with new data from HuffPo. In trying to fend off questions about his Massachusetts residency for the gubernatorial campaign, Romney stated that while he was running the Olympics,
“[T]here were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth.”
My italics. That statement was under oath. So was this about the period in question:
“[I] remained on the board of the Staples Corporation and Marriott International, the LifeLike Corporation.”
Lifelike and Staples were Bain acquisitions. To repeat: Romney said he attended board meetings of Bain companies in a period in which Bain says he had “absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies.” And this was under oath:
“I returned for most of those meetings. Others I attended by telephone if I could not return.”
now the story is the following: Romney legally declared himself the “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” in a period when his company says he had “absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies.” But during that period, he attended board meetings of Bain companies and made several business trips back to Boston.
So did Romney lie under oath or is Bain lying today? I’d say Romney’s best bet is to stick with his under-oath testimony and to his SEC filing and admit that he was responsible for what Bain did – legally and practically – in the period in question, even if he was part-time. Otherwise, he could have committed a crime. The only problem with conceding this is that it opens up a whole can of worms about investments and decisions by Bain in those years – and possible inquiries into conflicts of interest as he drummed up dollars for Salt lake City’s Games.
Which leads us to the following conclusions: yes, former Senator Santorum, your nominee was the “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” of a private equity firm that invested in a post-abortion fetus disposal enterprise. Maybe if you’d known that, you could have brought it up in the primaries.
Voter ID Laws Are the Last Gasp of a Fading GOP Strategy
—By Kevin Drum
| Fri Jul. 13, 2012 3:00 AM PDT
Earlier this week I wrote about the long-standing hope of Democrats that demographic changes are working in their favor and will soon create a durable national Dem majority. There are several moving parts to this theory, but the two big ones are (a) young people are trending Democratic, and (b) the Dem-leaning nonwhite population is getting bigger and bigger. As far as I know, Republicans don’t really deny that these things are happening. After all, the trend in the youth vote jumps out in every poll, and the growing nonwhite share of the population is regularly front-page news. George Bush and Karl Rove, who desperately wanted to pass a comprehensive immigration bill in 2006 in order to stanch the flow of Hispanic votes into the Democratic column, knew perfectly well how important this was.
So what’s the Republican response to all this? They have two options:
1. Start to move leftward on social issues, especially gay marriage, in order to win back their share of the youth vote; tone down the anti-immigration rhetoric from the tea partiers; and stop tolerating casual racism among their core supporters.
2. Double down on the demographic groups who already support them. This is basically the South, angry white men, the rich, and the elderly.
Scott Brown’s sense of self-importance
Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:15 AM EDT.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) got himself into a little trouble a few weeks ago, boasting about how important he is. To prove it, the Republican said he’s been “in secret meetings with kings and queens and prime ministers.”
As it turns out, that wasn’t true, and his staff later said he misspoke.
This week, however, Scott’s sense of self-importance once again caused problems.
During a CNN interview that aired Tuesday, Senator Scott Brown said that President Obama and other powerful Democrats are regularly phoning him to get help passing their legislation. […]
“I can name a litany of Democratic-sponsored bills that I’ve done that never would have passed hadn’t it been for me,” Brown told CNN. “And the president had called me, and vice president calls me, and Secretary [of State Hillary Rodham] Clinton calls asking for my vote all the time.”
At a certain level, this hardly seems worth bragging about. Administration officials call members of Congress, hoping to get support on all kinds of measures. But the boast also raised questions about accuracy. Do President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary Clinton really call Scott Brown “all the time,” making sure Democratic-sponsored bills become law?
found this good comment at Balloon Juice about the problem the President has with the national press:
The Obama campaign gets it too. That’s why, since the very beginning of his campaign, he’s focused on local news and publications instead of dancing to the tune of the beltway press. It’s why Obama stays popular with people despite the tidal wave of bad press nationally – the locals are reporting a different story than national news sources(Fox, MSNBC, CNN, NYT, WP, etc) that are less trusted.
If Mitt Romney were running a “post-truth” campaign, would the political press report it?
No, they would not. This falls under: too big to tell.
The Boston Globe reports: Mitt Romney stayed at Bain 3 years longer than he stated. ”Firm’s 2002 filings identify him as CEO, though he said he left in 1999.”
Fallout. Which fits well into the controversy of the day template, that reusable campaign good.
Un-templated: Suppose a major party candidate for president believed we were in a “post-truth” era and actually campaigned that way. Would political reporters in the mainstream press figure it out and tell us?
I say no. They would not tell us. Not in any clear way.
Instead, they would do what the Globe did here: try to nail the candidate on specific misstatements that can be documented. Which is good and necessary and difficult and contentious and honorable. Keep going, Boston Globe! And don’t forget to credit others who have done similar work.
What template is there for reporting on a strategy that incorporates…
1.) Key lesson of the climate change debate: you can run a political campaign against verifiable facts, and thereby weaken those facts in the public’s mind.
2.) The Palin-ator: you can invent stuff and stick with it when it is shown to be false because culture war politics feeds off the noise and friction when fictional claims are fact-checked by the mainstream media.
3.) David Frum’s observation from within the Republican tent: “Backed by their own wing of the book-publishing industry and supported by think tanks that increasingly function as public-relations agencies, conservatives have built a whole alternative knowledge system, with its own facts, its own history, its own laws of economics.”
4.) Old-fashioned secrecy, as in: don’t release information, don’t explain.
I think there’s evidence that the Romney forces have figured much of this out. And so even though we have a political press that believes itself to be a savvy judge of campaign strategy, here is one that will probably go unnamed and un-described because (…and this may be the cleverest part) a post-truth campaign for president falls into the category of too big to tell.
Meaning: feels too partisan for the officially unaligned. Exposes the press to criticism in too clear a fashion. Messes with the “both sides do it”/we’re impartial narrative that political journalists have mastered: and deeply believe in. Romney will be fact checked, his campaign will push back from time to time, the fact checkers will argue among themselves, and the post-truth premise will sneak into common practice without penalty or recognition, even though there is nothing covert about it. #
The War On Workers Comes to California, in Disguise
By: David Dayen Thursday July 12, 2012 7:10 am
After the victory in Wisconsin, many wondered where conservative interests would strike next to finish off unions and permanently alter the power relationship between labor and capital. It appears the next step is California. In November, voters will decide on an initiative, Prop 32, that would “eliminate unions from having any voice in politics whatsoever,” according to one labor official.
In its simplest form the measure, often called “paycheck protection” on the right, would stop unions from using automatic payroll deductions from their members for political activity. Similar measures have been on the ballot before in California, and have been beaten back both times. In 1998, voters rejected Prop 226, and in 2005, they similarly beat back Prop 75. But those were frontal assaults against unions. The difference here is that the supporters have dressed up this initiative as a campaign finance reform measure that affects corporations and unions in equal measure. Prop 32 supports call it the “Stop Special Interest Money Initiative.” Nothing could be further from the truth, says the opposition to Prop 32.
“The people who drafted this are the same people who twice before tried this and failed,” says Brian Brokaw, the communications director for No on 32. “They claim that it’s even-handed, in that it bans both unions and corporations from collecting political funds via payroll deductions. But corporations don’t use payroll deductions for political funds, they just use their own treasuries.”
It’s actually more insidious than that. The initiative has two parts. First, it bans direct political donations to state candidates from both corporations and unions. Neither side does a whole lot of that, as independent expenditures are more common in support of or opposition to individual candidates. But the definition of a “corporation” is made so narrow in the initiative language, granting a number of special exemptions to entities such as LLCs, limited partnerships, insurance companies, hedge funds, developers, Wall Street investment firms and more. “They carefully drafted this to exempt themselves,” Brokaw says. Any corporation could set up a shell company and continue the practice of direct political contributions.
As to why unions could not engage in such behavior, that brings us to the second part of the initiative. This is the payroll deduction part. As said before, both unions and corporations would be banned from using payroll deductions for political activities, yet only unions use this function. “Political activities,” incidentally, is so broadly defined, that it would include internal communications, i.e. unions talking to their own members and educating them about upcoming elections and legislative votes.
Unions can ask their members to voluntarily donate to political causes, say the backers of Prop 32. But the initiative contains an additional measure that requires an annual written authorization from each union member on even voluntary contributions. Unions typically have an automatic process to collect dues and use them in part for political ends. Now they would have to go through a time- and resource-consuming process of collecting all dues individually, getting written authorization for how the dues can be used, in such a way that would be logistically impossible.
“This attacks our ability to engage in politics from every conceivable angle,” says Steve Smith, the communications director for the California Labor Federation. “The whole reason to have a union is to collectively bargain. This would take political action, and say you can’t do that. In terms of those who would be able to spend resources on elections, it would be wealthy individuals and Super PACs.”
The intent of the law can be seen by looking at the leading funders who paid to get in on the ballot. So far, the leading funder is billionaire Thomas Siebel, the founder of Siebel Systems, since purchased by Oracle. Siebel, a funder of Super PACs and a huge Sarah Palin fan, introduced her at a 2008 rally with this bit of schmaltz:
Posted at 08:30 AM ET, 07/13/2012
The Morning Plum: How do swing voters view the economy?
By Greg Sargent
Have Americans mostly given up on the idea that a president has control over the economy and can fix it? Matthew Dowd suggested that possibility the other day, noting that his conversations with voters had persuaded him that voters want a president who will level with them about how bad things are and how long it will take for things to get better, and that this dynamic could favor Obama if he heeds it.
Now, in the read of the morning, Ronald Brownstein has done his own interviews with Colorado swing voters, and he’s reached a similar conclusion, noting that an unexpectedly broad set of factors may be driving voter decisionmaking:
The most powerful glue for many of the president’s voters was the sense that he has earned a kind of sweat equity in delivering grudging progress against the same economic gales so disruptive in their own lives….many voters here seem to be measuring Obama’s performance not against the booming 1990s, but rather the rocky ground they mostly have been traveling over since….
That sense of sustained struggle provides the yardstick for judging Obama. Those defecting from him, while generally unconvinced that Romney could do better, seem ready to simply try another approach. Those sticking with Obama believe that he’s produced all that can be asked against the headwinds of a turbulent new normal. Ironically, if the candidate of hope from 2008 survives, it may be partly because many Americans, after a grueling decade, view both the presidency and the economy with lowered expectations.
E.J. Dionne noted the other day that Mitt Romney seems to believe that all he has to do to get elected is ensure that enough Americans answer Ronald Reagan’s question — are you better off than you were four years ago? — in the negative, or at least conclude that the recovery is so slow that it’s time to fire the guy in charge. This is a rule of thumb that seems to be guiding many observers of this election. But as E.J. points out, swing voters’ views of the economy are more complex than that.
July 12, 2012
Obama, 11; Romney, 1
The latest Pew (phew) poll:
Obama beats Romney on the issues of creating jobs, immigration, Supreme Court nominees, the economy, taxes, healthcare, foreign policy, energy, terrorism, human rights, and the “problems of poor people.”
Romney beats Obama on “Reducing the federal budget deficit.”
Obama, 11; Romney, 1.
This is also known as a turkey shoot.
Don’t bother Haley with the details
By Steve Benen
Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:45 AM EDT.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has called her voter-ID law one of her signature accomplishments in public office. The voter-suppression measure, intended to eliminate fraud that appears to exist only in Republicans’ imaginations, was intended to go into effect this year.
The Justice Department had other ideas. Using the Voting Rights Act, federal officials intervened and blocked the controversial law from being implemented in 2012.
Haley, however, still thinks her law has a shot.
Gov. Nikki Haley’s administration will push ahead with the state’s controversial voter ID law for the Nov. 6 general election if it wins federal approval to do so anytime before the polls open.
The decision, revealed in new federal court filings, comes despite disagreement and uncertainty about how the measure would be implemented. […]
S.C. Deputy Attorney General Robert Cook said in a June 29 opinion that the law would take immediate effect upon approval by a three-judge panel hearing the case in U.S. District Court in Washington.
Here’s the deal: the Justice Department blocked the voter-ID law, which led to litigation in the federal courts. Haley’s administration believes it can win the case and then immediately try to implement the law.
The problem — well, one of the problems — is that the decision isn’t expected until September. For those mindful of the calendar, this means South Carolina, if it wins in court, intends to put a new, dubious voting law into effect less than two months before Election Day.
Will there be time to educate voters about the strict requirements? No. Will there be time to train staffers at individual precincts? No. Will there be time to clarify logistical questions? No. But Haley doesn’t care. She wants her law, gosh darn it, and she wants it now.
The state deputy attorney general said those who try to cast a vote without ID can cite the circumstances as a “reasonable impediment,” but (a) they’ll have to jump through additional hoops, cast a “provisional” ballot, and sign affidavits; (b) there’s widespread confusion about the legal definition of “reasonable”; and (c) this doesn’t speak to the possible chilling effect of voters who won’t show up because they assume they’re ineligible.
If I didn’t know better, I might think Haley and her allies are less concerned with the integrity of the voting process, and more concerned with keeping voters they don’t like from participating in their own democracy.
Romney’s Bermuda Account Raises Questions
by David Welna, National Public Radio
July 13, 2012
…the day before Romney was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts, he put a corporation he’d set up in Bermuda in a blind trust held by his wife, Ann. Romney insists he did nothing wrong.
That investment account, called Sankaty, was established 15 years ago. Romney first revealed his ties to this offshore entity in the 2010 tax return he released in January. Earlier this week on Fox News Radio, he defended his actions.
…So what was the advantage of setting up Sankaty High Yield Assets Investors Ltd.? The American lawyer who set up Romney’s corporation in Bermuda declined to comment for this report. So did Romney’s longtime associate, Brad Malt, who administers the trust where it’s now held.
“If it’s registered here, it’s registered here for a reason … maybe to the benefit of the shareholders of that company,” policeman Andy Morgan says of Romney’s investment.
For a $20 fee, you can check out the documents that established Romney’s own corporation at Bermuda’s Registrar of Companies. The folder is slim — just 10 pages.
Romney Was Attacked on Bain 18 Years Ago: Why Isn’t He Ready for It Now?
By Molly Ball
Jul 12 2012, 5:41 PM ET11
The Republican nominee’s corporate past continues to haunt him, even though it’s been part of his political baggage since 1994.
Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital has been dragged back into the spotlight this week with the news that he remained legally in charge of the company for several years past the 1999 retirement date he’s long claimed. And once again, he’s been caught flat-footed.
One of the major mysteries of the whole Bain conversation continues to be why Romney seems to keep getting blindsided by it. This stuff isn’t new. Since his first run for office — his 1994 Senate campaign against Ted Kennedy — Romney has run on his business record, and Democrats have responded by calling that record into question. Take this passage from a 2002 profile of Romney, then a gubernatorial candidate, in the Boston Globe (emphasis added):
Romney’s business background became a liability in his unsuccessful 1994 challenge to US Senator Edward M. Kennedy, when he was panned as a cold-hearted capitalist whose venture firm routinely put profits over people, especially lower-paid workers. Romney failed to quickly grasp the impact of the accusations, or address them, a dynamic he later said led to his defeat.
The issue erupted over Ampad Corp., a paper company Bain Capital controlled.
In July 1994, Ampad bought an Indiana paper plant, fired the existing workers, and gave most employees their jobs back at reduced wages and benefits. Even though Romney was on leave from Bain for the campaign, the workers came to Massachusetts and dogged his campaign. Romney initially tried to justify the layoffs, defending them as necessary in corporate restructuring. Prodded by the workers to meet with them in Boston, Romney eventually did so, but even then, he further distanced himself, showing a diagram of Bain Capital’s corporate structure, claiming he was not to blame.
Sound familiar? Romney’s campaign denies the new reports, which rest on securities filings showing that Romney retained nominal control of the company as late as 2002. The upshot appears to be that Romney left his day-to-day post abruptly in 1999 in order to go to work rescuing the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, but didn’t relinquish his legal title as CEO and continued to receive a six-figure salary.
The testimony Romney prefers to forget
By Steve Benen
Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.
Much of yesterday’s controversy surrounding Mitt Romney’s work at Bain Capital comes down to a very narrow question. Both sides agree that Romney was a well-compensated CEO of his firm from 1999 to 2002. Both sides agree that Bain orchestrated controversial investments, layoffs, and bankruptcies during that time.
But while Romney’s critics say he’s responsible for the actions of his company, Romney’s defenders say the buck stops somewhere else — he may have been Bain’s sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president, but he didn’t really do any real work. Indeed, the argument goes, he wasn’t even there.
Rachel played a clip last night from Romney’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign in which he said of the time period in question, “I was in Utah full time. I had no responsibility for management at Bain Capital.”
Overnight, new reports call these claims into further question.
Mitt Romney’s repeated claim that he played no part in executive decision-making related to Bain Capital after 1999 is false, according to Romney’s own testimony in June 2002, in which he admitted to sitting on the board of the LifeLike Co., a dollmaker that was a Bain investment during the period.
Romney has consistently insisted that he was too busy organizing the 2002 Winter Olympics to take part in Bain business between 1999 and that event. But in the testimony, which was provided to The Huffington Post, Romney noted that he regularly traveled back to Massachusetts. “[T]here were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth,” he said.
Romney’s sworn testimony was given as part of a hearing to determine whether he had sufficient residency status in Massachusetts to run for governor.
So, on the one hand, Romney said he was in Utah “full time,” was gone from Bain, and no role with Bain operations “in any way.” On the other hand, Romney also said he wasn’t in Utah “full time,” and he remained actively involved in Bain investments after his alleged departure.
Politico reported overnight that the Romney campaign, when asked if Romney attended meetings and/or had contact with Bain between 1999 and 2002, “declined” to answer.
At a certain level, I suspect many of these details will be lost on the public. It might matter to the voting mainstream that Romney’s claims clearly contradict one another, but the specifics will almost certainly get lost in the shuffle.
But the lingering problem for the Republican presidential hopeful is the lasting damage. Romney has already taken a hit for getting rich by laying off so many American workers, then he took another hit for investing so much of his vast wealth in offshore tax havens.
Now he’s being forced to effectively tell the public, “Sure I was the CEO of my own firm, and sure I was paid handsomely, and sure I filed formal documents that said I was in charge, but don’t worry, the buck stops somewhere else.”
I keep thinking of a working class family in Columbus, Ohio, listening to this. It seems hard to imagine that family thinking, “Yeah, let’s make that guy president.”
From the NOTE:
EXCLUSIVE: Democrats Dump Opposition Research On Top Vice Presidential
ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Michael Falcone, Gregory Simmons and Arlette Saenz report:
Mitt Romney and his team in Boston aren’t the only ones feverishly vetting potential running mates.
In a non-descript Washington, DC office building within sight of the United States Capitol, a team of more than a dozen Democratic researchers have spent the last few months examining every nook and cranny of the records of several GOP vice presidential contenders.
The researchers work for the super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, which is unveiling a new website on Friday called VeepMistakes.com. The site features more than 1,300 pages of opposition research and scores of video clips
Lawrence O’Donnell’s entire show was worth seeing last night. dedicated to the LIES OF MITT ROMNEY.
Do you have the video or a link? I saw it. Can you do a post on it?
figures, it takes a century it seems like for the MEDIA to catch up. Thanks
Repost from romney threads…
I love Al…his voice is so smoooooooth :)
Good Morning, rikyrah. PBO has spoken in regards to Romney & Bain. See video!
Happy Fry-day, Everyone! :-)
Good Morning, Ametia and Everyone :)
HA AHA AAAAAAAAAAAA TV networks are working the Romney-Bain-tax return debacle!