Saturday, July 14, 2012

Romney's TV Interviews Raise New Questions Don't Answer Old

      I honestly thought he'd give us something last night. I thought it was possible he might actually make even a baby step towards releasing his taxes but if not I imagined he might offer more teasing about his veep pick.

      What we got was him simply sticking to his talking points and thereby answering no one's questions. Indeed, there is nothing you know now that you didn't no yesterday afternoon before his interview blitz on Fox, CNN, and the three old networks.

      He stuck to this dubious idea that, yes, he was the President, CEO, Director, and the sole stockholder in the company as shown in the SEC fillings but he had no participation in the day to day operations and is wholly innocent of any responsibility during the time between February, 1999 and 2002 when he begun his candidacy for Governor in Massachusetts.

      None of this rings true. As the President suggested yesterday, who really believes that the guy who is 100 percent owner in the company has 0 percent responsibility? He continued to reap a six figure paycheck during this time as well. So even if you buy it that he had no participation in the daily decisions in, for example, the decision of Bain to downsize American workers and outsource the jobs to China he benefited a great deal from such episodes financially.

     His quibbling is a distinction without a difference. Legally speaking, the SEC filings mean he had total legal responsibility for Bain decisions during this time. In addition we have him on record contradicting this categorical claim he made on tv last night that he had no participation and never even attended even one single meeting. In his statement to the State of Massachusetts when he needed clearance to run for Governor-due to the amount of time he had spent out in Utah-he had assured the board that he had regular Massachusetts dealings and had attended a number of company board meetings. In which he was the President, Director, and sole shareholder. Sole shareholder means no one but him had financial control of the company.

      As Michael Steele said last night, he close any doors and indeed opened a few more doors as well. One was this categorical statement contradicted by his 2002 testimony. He also made another categorical claim easy to disprove in claiming 99.5 percent of his money is in the United States.

      We know that he has at least $30 million socked away in the Cayman Islands as well as many millions more in places like Bermuda and the Swiss banks. So he's made two categorical claims that are demonstrably false.

      On the one thing he could have done to really move the goal posts forward in terms of getting to the bottom of the murkiness of his record at Bain and his personal finances he ruled out doing-simply releasing his taxes as every candidate for President has done beginning with his father, George Romney, in 1968. Yet Mr. Romney ruled this out categorically:

     “I know there will always be calls for more. People always want to get more,” Mr. Romney said on CNN. “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. And that’s — that’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances.”

      This makes it sound as if there is unfair vortex of demands for more and more information, Yet, the problem is that Mr. Romney hasn't complied with the convention of presidential politics and released multiple years of taxes. He's only released 20010 and this only after he was called on it during the Republican primary.

      There is nothing unusual much less unprecedented for calls Mr. Romney release his taxes going back at least 4 or 5 years out. The President has released 8 years and this is the first time in 44 years a candidate has refused to play by the rules of the game.

      This was the point that Rick Perry made during the primary-you can't change the candidate in September. Romney failed to answer these questions then and so they're dogging his campaign now. As much as he might like to change the subject back to blaming the President for the weather this question will not go away until he makes a good faith effort to speak to these concerns:

    “Mitt Romney had an opportunity to answer these questions during the primary,” said Rick Tyler, who ran the pro-Gingrich super PAC that spent millions attacking Romney on the Bain issue. “ He did not answer these questions and now they’re coming up again.”
Tyler warned that the newest Bain twist has the potential to inflict real harm if Romney doesn’t start providing answers."

     “I saw Andrea Saul’s robotic response, which was the same as it’s always been,” Tyler said, referring to Romney’s press secretary. “That doesn’t comport with documents that have his name on it after 1999 that list him as CEO who was making money off of transactions. If he wasn’t making money from Bain, then his tax returns from the period in question would reveal that.”
Tyler said Romney needs to be frank and provide all the details necessary to explain his role in the company after 1999. He hypothesized that there could be more documents to come.

     “Only [Romney] can provide that information,” Tyler said. “Or we’ll just have drip, drip, drip to November.”

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