Since the Obama campaigned opened a line of attack in the past few weeks over Mitt Romney’s departure time from Bain Capital, the private equity firm he helped launch in 1984, the responses and opinions have been all over the map. Here is a taste of the various extremes of opinions on all sides of the question.

First, from CNN, political analyst David Gergen, no fan of Romney himself, defends Romney’s tenure at Bain and his timeline of departure:

(CNN) — There may be a number of good reasons to vote against Mitt Romney, but based upon what we know so far, his honesty about his tenure at Bain Capital does not seem to be one of them.

Let me acknowledge upfront what I have said several times on CNN: I have a past relationship with the top partners at Bain that is both personal and financial. I have worked with them in support of nonprofit organizations such as City Year. I have given a couple of paid speeches for Bain dinners, as I have for many other groups. I was on the board of a for-profit child care company, Bright Horizons, that was purchased by Bain Capital. It was a transaction with financial benefits for all board members and shareholders, including me.

Has Romney basically lied about when he actually departed Bain? Has he tried to mislead the public or investors? Here we come to the heart of the recent controversy. I may be wrong but based on what we know so far, I would conclude that we do not have persuasive evidence to show that he has.

Romney has argued for years that after he was called in to rescue the Salt Lake City Olympics in February 1999, he turned his full attentions there and no longer exercised active management at Bain. The story is a complicated one because Bain was a complex partnership and because the company filed various SEC papers after February 1999 still listing Romney in various key roles, including CEO and chairman. But if one takes time to look behind the SEC filings, what emerges is much more supportive of Romney’s statements.

Gergen also said in the article that Romney has not handled these attacks well and is partly to blame for the poor response and media inquiry into this topic. Gergen also would like to see Romney’s tax returns from more than just 2 years.

On the flipside of this argument, The Caucus blog from the New York Times sums up the Obama campaign’s position on this issue which essentially doubled-down on the Sunday political shows this past weekend:

Top surrogates for President Obama on Sunday shrugged off Mitt Romney’s demand for a presidential apology for campaign attacks and instead hammered at Mr. Romney’s business record, accused his former firm of shipping American jobs overseas, suggested he might be hiding damaging information and renewed demands that he release more back tax returns.

The withering attacks appeared to knock the Romney campaign off stride, at least temporarily, as it seeks to shift the national discussion back from a debate about the former governor’s business instincts, extensive wealth and complicated tax history to the tepid growth of jobs and the economy under Mr. Obama. And even some Republicans called for Mr. Romney to release more tax returns.

One Obama surrogate, Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, a former White House chief of staff, offered a blunt suggestion to Mr. Romney, who said on Friday that the attacks on him and the private equity firm he once headed, Bain Capital, were “beneath the dignity of the presidency.”

“I give him his own advice,” Mr. Emanuel said on ABC’s “This Week”: “stop whining.”

Romney personally took to the airwaves last Friday to respond, here is his interview with Bret Baier on the Fox News Channel:

Romney also spoke with CBS, NBC and ABC.

This story is murky in all directions but I don’t think there is enough kindling here to start a fire. The most plausible explanation may be that Romney left Bain to manage the Olympics while leaving open the option to return within a couple years. During that time, he did not have any direct involvement with Bain and obviously did not return to his former position following his time managing the Salt Lake City Olympic games.

This explanation is found in The Caucus blog post mentioned above:

Mr. Gillespie said that after Mr. Romney took a leave of absence from Bain in 1999 to head the troubled Salt Lake City Olympics organization, he had nothing to do with Bain management. The Olympics effort was a “16-hour-a-day job,” Mr. Gillespie said, and Mr. Romney “retired retroactively to February of 1999 as a result.”

Mr. Romney’s insistence that he had no decision-making role at Bain after 1999 drew vocal support on Sunday from a former managing director there, Edward Conard.

Because Mr. Romney was so intimately involved in the company’s founding and development, Mr. Conard said on MSNBC, “we had a very complicated set of negotiations that took us about two years to unwind” the Romney role.

“During that time, a management team ran the firm, and we could hardly even get Mitt to come back to negotiate the terms of his departure, because he was working so hard on the Olympics,” he said.

While conceding that Mr. Romney “legally” remained the firm’s chief executive, Mr. Conard said he did not remember Mr. Romney’s taking part in any meetings.

The truth here may be Romney’s poor explanation and poor response to this line of attack since a close examination, even from those who don’t support him for President, seem to find no wrongdoing on the part of Romney other than poor communication on this topic.


  1. I would like to know when Gov. Romney is going to stop acting like a wimp. Why is he asking the POTUS to apologize? This campaign is looking just like how John McCain lost his Presidential attempt. There must be hundred’s of the “Joe Wilson You Lie” POTUS broken promises to use and a multitude of Obama’s failures that are destroying this great country……………….start using them!!

  2. Just before I read Robert Weinards email responds , my husband and I were decussing this latest attacked on Romney and Bain. With all the negative stuff Obama & his followers have done over the years , makes the devil pale in comparison . We agree 100% with what Robert said. I pray Romney picks a strong running mate, and they both get a strong back bone to stand up to the lies now and what we all know are coming in this fight for saving this country.

    • Ginny — the BO is despicable, but Rmoney may be worse…ever think of that?

      Here is food for thought:

      *Mitt Romney, American Parasite*

      It explains how Bain Capital worked. They would buy SUCCESSFUL companies, with little down, borrowed huge amounts, saddling them with crushing debt, refused to continue equipment purchases or maintenance. Then they would pay themselves huge “management” fees.

      Some notable excerpts:

      “Romney is not a vulture capitalist, as Rick Perry says, since vultures eat dead carcasses,” notes Josh Kosman, who has written about the private equity business for 15 years. He’s “more of a parasitic capitalist, since he destroys profitable businesses.” (The host must be healthy enough to be force-fed all that debt, then slowly bled to death…until the parasites drain all the wealth for themselves).

      “When Bain was about to buy a company, its partners would hold a meeting. “He said that about half the time [they] would talk about cutting workers,” Kosman says. “They would never talk about adding workers. He said that job growth was never part of the plan.” That claim was buttressed by the Associated Press, which studied 45 companies bought by Bain during Romney’s first decade. It found that 4,000 workers lost their jobs. The real figure is likely thousands higher, since the analysis didn’t account for bankruptcies and factory and store closings.

      “The Armco plant closing involved more than the torching of 750 jobs, Morrow says. Contractors and suppliers collapsed. Workers’ children and widows lost health care and pension benefits. And while Bain received millions in tax breaks—paid for by the very people left holding the bag—Romney walked away millions richer.”

      A must read (long) article recommended to all!

      Share it!

  3. My questions:

    1- Why did he sign the SEC paperwork saying he was CEO, only owner, president, etc. if he wasn’t in charge? Why wouldn’t the person in charge at Bain sign them?

    2- Why does it take Mitt so long to come out and explain things? It just gives a bad impression that he’s hiding something. When you or I are asked a question we answer, we don’t take a week to figure what to say.

    3- What’s with Mitt’s tax returns? If they don’t have anything to hide just release them and we can then go back to talking about the important issues like the economy. The longer he takes to release them the “fishier” it seems and more people get that bad impression of Mitt trying to hide something. It’s exactly what people said about Obama not releasing his birth certificate for so long. There wasn’t anything there but it was fishy that it took him so long and look how the birthers have perpetuated something that’s not an issue.

    Let’s get back on message about the failing economy and that’s what Mitt wants to do but until he gets this black cloud off of him it’s not going to happen.

  4. when was Romney bought out or paid for his sole ownership in Bain? there has to be documents certified by the SEC and State records, who did he sell it to?
    does he have a continuing interest or profit from Bain to this day (blind trust or not) is that what is deposited in the off shore banks/
    He is hiding damning evidence may not be illegal but He knows it may doom his run, and /or more countless poor retroactive excuses his campaign has no idea how to for see or head off

    looks like W Bush’s people have another figure head! (Cheney & neo cons ) behind the curtain. draining another couple of trillion from the country (Stiegletz)

  5. All that matters is that Romney used his “business experience” from Bain to run Ma as governor. He claims, what he did for Ma he can do for the USA. Our two biggest problems are jobs and the economy. AS governor of Ma Romney was 46 out of 50 for jobs and he hiked the cost of everything that had to do with state government through the roof in the form of fees.

  6. If Romney is looking to be “Wimp-In-Chief” he’s doing a good job. What is needed in the GOP candidate for President is a gutter fighter than can descend to Obama’s low level. Stop whining and ATTACK. The bum in the White House is a blight on the Presidency – he’s a Chicago hood who knows only how to fight dirty. Lies and distortions are HIS truths.
    Romney needs to do to Obummer what he did to Gingrich. Get away from the old adage: “Nice Guys Finish Last”
    One last point: Romney should release his past tax returns when Obama releases his REAL school records.

  7. You “all” gotta get off your high-horses and stop splitting hairs over Romney’s personal wealth. Instead think about JOBS that private businesses creating and your future. What difference does it make when he left Bain and how much money he has. Its much more important to get rid of the liar in the Whitehouse. Obama has caused a lot of misery to all classes of Americans.
    WE need new leadership. Worry about more taxes, and the public option. Concern yourself with the facts someone else besides you and your dr. making
    choices for your medical care.
    Don’t be foolish!

  8. The only way to get rid of the BO is for Mitt Rmoney to become a Patriot!

    Here is what needs to happen, and soon:

    “Mitt Romney Resigns!”

    “Mitt Romney announced today (place date) he will no longer seek the Republican nomination. Instead, he pledged his full support to Dr. Ron Paul, who he trusts implicitly to be the only viable candidate to defeat Barrack Obama,” said a Romney spokesperson.

    Mr. Romney’s spokesperson continued saying, ” Mr. Romney is making the ultimate sacrifice, for the good of the Nation, so wants to be remembered as the one that helped America be rid of Obama…as such Mr. Romney is a true patriot…”.

    Questioned as to the real reasons Mitt Romney quit — the spokesperson said, “He only wants to be remembered as the Patriot that Saved America… that is his only reason”….and “…none of the below were a factor in his decision”…as claimed:

    “That so many videos have been taped showing fraud on his behalf that TV mini-series could be made running for weeks,
    Or, that he can’t get 100 people to attend his meetings, while Ron Paul gathers Real Americans in the several thousands,
    Or, that he has broken rule #11 in collusion with the GOP, so he is about to be removed from many states ballots,
    Or, that his shadowy party in Nevada, is further grounds for his removal as a GOP candidate,
    Or, that he cannot garner enough delegates with all the cheating done on his behalf so far,
    Or, that All National Delegates are NOT bound according to rule #38, and US election law, in Tampa,
    Or, that his eventual loss to Ron Paul in Tampa will make him a national joke,
    Or, that even if manages to CHEAT his way out of Tampa, his guaranteed loss to Obama will make him an even Bigger Joke…”.

    No, none of these are factors, according to Mitt Romney’s spokesperson — “Mr. Romney quit the race today because he is a Patriot!”

    And I agree, Mitt did the right thing — and we shall build monuments and name schools after him!

    Pass it on! Hopefully someone with brains in Mitt’s camp will see this syllogism and force it upon this dullard (for his own good)!

  9. I posted this on the previous thread, since it took a while for this thread to be started. There, I said:

    I thought it was particularly funny when Willard complained that Obama should call off his attack dogs–and that, as the boss, Obama is responsible for what they say.

    This is the same guy who says he has NO responsibility for the way Bain was run–when he was still president AND ceo AND sole shareholder. Face it, Mittens, you can’t have it both ways.

    Maybe the GOP will take another look at its rules and suddenly “discover” that NONE of the delegates are bound to Rmoney, and see who they come up with in August. Well, I know, but wouldn’t it be nice?


    From FORBES

  10. Good grief, this has been a few weeks and the issues and ads are already flying. I just hope that both cadididates will stick to the issue rather than to propaganda.

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