I literally thought it was a headline in The Onion when I read that Mitt Romney is demanding President Obama apologize for using Bain's own SEC filings to prove Mitt Romney a liar. Say what? I mean I know that Romney's party lives on opposite planet most days, but this is absurd by even whackjob standards. Let's get some facts straight:
- Mitt Romney told everyone that he "left" Bain in February of 1999 and has had nothing to do with them since.
- SEC filings turned up showing Mitt Romney listed as Bain's President, CEO and Chairman of the Board as well as ... you know... sole owner through 2002. Oh, and he was drawing a salary at least in the six figures during this time.
- President Obama's campaign points that out and relies on the simple concept that if you're listed with all those titles, and paid for your service, you must have (and take) responsibility.
- Instead of apologizing for lying to the American people (or, in the alternative, filing a deceptive SEC report), Mitt Romney turns around and demands that President Obama apologize for telling the truth.
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.Business trips? As far as I can tell, Mitt Romney only had one business being run out of Massachusetts: Bain Capital. So either Mitt Romney was lying in his sworn testimony - i.e. committing perjury - or, he's lying right now. Which is it? You see, Mitt, the problem with SEC filings and sworn testimony is that they're not recorded on etch-a-sketches. You can't just shake them and make them go away. That the truth-telling from the Obama campaign about Romney's Bain record is taking its toll was evident yesterday when Romney was forced to go to all 5 networks to
“I think most Americans figure if you are the chairman, C.E.O. and president of a company that you are responsible for what that company does,” Mr. Obama said on WJLA-TV in northern Virginia earlier in the day. “Ultimately, Mr. Romney, I think, is going to have to answer those questions.”To which, I imagine Romney's response was, "What? Financial firm CEOs are supposed to work and be responsible? Why, that's socialist!" But it's not just the Obama campaign that is fed up with Mitt Romney's lies. Republican strategists are turning on him, too.
It wasn't just Obama, though, pressuring Romney. "There is no whining in politics," chided John Weaver, a veteran Republican strategist. "Stop demanding an apology, release your tax returns."The Obama campaign has made their Bain attacks sharp enough that not even Republicans outside of the Romney campaign will defend Romney's loud whining and his secrecy about taxes. Still the question might be raised whether it is reasonable to hold Mitt Romney accountable for the companies Bain bankrupted during his "leave," if you will. That's an easy question to answer. First, as someone once pointed out in the comments section on TPV, Romney pretending that he's not responsible for the devastation of entire communities from Bain's decisions to bankrupt companies and move jobs overseas is like someone who pushed someone off the roof of a 100-story building claiming innocence of the death of the victim because he wasn't there when the victim hit the ground.
Second, even if we take Romney at his word that he wasn't involved in making the specific decisions that lead to these job losses, he admitted himself that as he remained in charge on paper, he could have taken charge or intervened in any decision at any time; he just chose not to. Take it from his own mouth:
ROMNEY: The documents show that there’s a difference between ownership, which is I owned shares in Bain, but I did not manage Bain. I left, as everyone knows, to go out and run the Olympics in February of 1999. I was full time running the Olympics. I had no role whatsoever in the management of Bain after I went off to the Olympics. And that’s been demonstrated by people who work at Bain, by all of the documents, but I still retained an ownership interest, I had the capacity if I were not on leave, if I were actually wanting to run the business, to do so, but I did not. I left. And that’s been demonstrated time and time again.Well, why not? Why didn't he intervene and stop Bain from bankrupting companies like AMPAD and GST steel and shipping the jobs overseas? After all, it's not a practice that was unknown to Romney. As David Corn pointed out in his investigative article in Mother Jones, in 1998 when even Mitt Romney says he was in full charge at Bain, the company invested $14 million in a Chinese outsourcing company whose primary goal was to fill manufacturing jobs outsourced from the United States. Mitt Romney can't exactly claim surprise at the fact that Bain sent jobs overseas - hell, they have had a financial interest in doing just that. So why didn't Mitt Romney stop those specific outsourcing decisions by Bain, if, as he says, he could have assumed control at any time?
I'll tell you why. Mitt Romney had no problem with the outsourcing - in fact, he was pleased with it - as the suffering of families and devastation of communities turned into cash for him and his investors, some of which he promptly sent to foreign bank accounts to avoid taxes.
Mitt Romney might hope and pray that this will go away after his round of interviews, but it won't, and not simply because the Obama campaign won't let people forget it. It's because Mitt Romney is not actually answering any questions. Mitt Romney's answer to this is simply to repeat his lie that he had no responsibility for a company that he was signing documents for as CEO, Managing Director and Chairman. It is going to take him releasing his tax returns, and perhaps Bain releasing it Board minutes from the time Romney says he was gone to the time he actually was gone. Romney won't do that of course, because I suspect the damage sitting in his hidden tax returns are far worse than that caused by his Bain record.