Tag Archives: Bain

Good Thing They Didn’t Air the Romney Bio Piece in Prime Time

Or air those personal testimonials when they had the nation’s attention at the national convention in Florida.

Idiot Eric Fehrnstrom has already been quoted as saying the Bain attacks were ineffective “like arrows bouncing off us” in the primaries.  No reason to give a full-throated defense or detailed endorsement of business success that will actually get people working again.   Thankfully Fehrnstrom can etech-a-sketch himself into oblivion now.

Team Romney said they were going to buy media time and run the bio in Battleground States.  Did anyone see it?  I have no reports of it airing.

Here is what I wrote in a private communication on September 28 to someone involved in the Romney campaign in Ohio:

Romney’s short-coming is he has yet to make the compelling case why the country should hire him (so far he’s really just been the not-Obama candidate).  In Romney’s corporate speak this is the longest job interview of his life and all he is doing is telling everyone he can [do] the job better (a losing interview strategy) when he needs to demonstrate he can do the job better (a winning interview strategy).

When the media cries for specifics, don’t dodge the question as he is doing or answer with policy specifics that will be used against him.  Launch into what it was like to create the companies he names in his speeches but doesn’t talk in detail about.  Talk about how many people have been employed over the life of the companies (not just the amount of employees today). Talk about late nights and tightening belts to make payroll and keep the lights on.  Talk about the sacrifices made to get to the next milestone to hopefully turn a fledgling company into a great success.  Demonstrate how these companies are doing great things in states A, B & C but he wants to bring that innovation and opportunity to Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin (depending on the location of the speech).  Beg the Obama campaign to bring up the steel mill where that guy’s wife died of cancer.  Talk about how the company was dying when Bain showed up.  Tell how many steel companies went under while Bain tried to retool and save the company.  Talk about how many more the years the company stayed open with thousands collecting paychecks because Bain kept the doors open as long as they could and this was 6-8 years longer than they would open have had Bain never been there. That’s thousands of people keeping paychecks and having an opportunity thanks to Bain not the other way around.  Demonstrate his great success and how it touched countless lives at every stage of his career. Demonstrate how he can do that for America instead of just talking about it.  We tried that last time.

Insider’s Guide to Romney Debate Themes

Robert Costa of National Review has really distinguished himself this election with stellar coverage of the Romney campaign from calling the Ryan selection before anyone to fantastic insider accounts from Romney campaign headquarters.  Now he sits distills the debate prep with preview of what to expect from Romney on Wednesday:

When Mitt Romney takes the stage on Wednesday at the University of Denver, he will undoubtedly be prepared. The question is whether he will execute.

Romney’s advisers have a simple strategy: They want their candidate to balance his finely tuned arguments with personal warmth. Since Romney is a reserved man, his advisers acknowledge that it will be difficult for him to endear himself to the country, especially under the hot studio lights. But they consider it critical. “This is really about introducing him to the country,” a Romney adviser says. “It’s the largest audience he has ever had. Everybody’s watching.” During prep sessions in Vermont this past month, Romney has worked tirelessly on the stylistic aspect of his presentation, and Romney’s advisers predict that the former Massachusetts governor will come across as both presidential and empathetic. Rather than fire off brusque retorts, as he often did during primary debates, Romney will take care “to speak in paragraphs about the economy,” a second aide says.

Romney confidants are eager to counteract his reputation for aloofness. They want Romney to forcefully elucidate how the president is disconnected from the unemployed. Romney is inclined to talk about his business experience, sources say, and he may share stories from the trail, especially anecdotes about the recession’s impact on families and small businesses. But it won’t all be warm and fuzzy. That’s where the balance comes in, advisers say. When he has the opportunity to give a full response, look for him to speak directly to the camera, making his case. When the president knocks him, however, Romney won’t try to stay above the fray, and he’ll try to make sure that his answers are more than clinical prescriptions. Romney will never be as gregarious as Bill Clinton or a great communicator like Ronald Reagan, but his advisers think he can score if he is comfortable and assertive.

THE ‘CHOICE’ THEME

Expect Romney to frame the election early on as a choice between “free enterprise” and a “stagnant” government-based economy, which is how Gillespie explained it. Undecided voters, Madden added, want to hear about vision more than politics, and Romney wants to be seen as the more presidential and serious candidate. “What are we going to do to make the case to them?” Madden asked. Romney, he said, is “prepared” to talk about the leaked Mother Jones video and other things, but he wants to fight Obama on the broader issue of the recession, which is where the campaign thinks the president is most vulnerable. The Romney emphasis on “choice” reflects Boston’s latest strategy, which is based on the idea that while railing against Obama’s economic troubles is a must, it’s not enough to win. To win, Romney advisers say, the candidate needs to bounce from the referendum argument to his viability as an alternative. In essence, he needs to define the problems of the Obama years and point out that there is another option.

ROMNEY’S AGGRESSION

Sources familiar with the prep say that part of Portman’s mission during the mock debates was to pry out elements of Romney’s personality in order to see what would translate well on national television and what should be muted. During the primary debates, Romney was frequently testy when challenged, and during heated moments he would sometimes arbitrarily switch between seeming belligerent and quietly tense. That needed to be fixed… A senior Romney adviser says politicos should watch for how Romney “targets” his pugnacity during the Denver debate. If the president criticizes Romney’s Bain Capital experience, his tax returns, or other issues that have flustered him in the past, the campaign would like to see him offer clear and curt responses, but not go overboard.

ROMNEY’S DISCIPLINE

Romney’s team hopes that, beyond channeling his aggression, their man is disciplined on stage and avoids making any stray remarks or extemporaneous jokes. They’ve armed him with a bushel of zingers, sources say, and he’ll be ready with scripted lines on a variety of fronts. Romney, for his part, recently told ABC News that he would have to be careful and resist responding to every presidential taunt. “The challenge that I’ll have in the debate is that the president tends to, how shall I say it, to say things that aren’t true,” he said. “I’ve looked at prior debates. And in that kind of case, it’s difficult to say, ‘Well, am I going to spend my time correcting things that aren’t quite accurate? Or am I going to spend my time talking about the things that I want to talk about?’”

THE USE OF DATA

Romney, a self-professed policy guy, also enjoys getting into the weeds on health care and economics. But his time will be limited in Denver, and part of the debate prep has revolved around picking and choosing which data points to employ. Jobs numbers seem to be at the top of that list, and with Friday’s jobs report looming, look for Romney to go into detail about the scope of the recession. His aides believe that Romney is capable of painting a picture of the economy with numbers that sways voters, and they think his grasp of the fiscal situation could rattle the president, especially if the pair has time to debate specifics. As a graduate of Harvard Business School who relishes any opportunity to explain a complex problem on a whiteboard, Romney is inclined to use numbers to demonstrate why his position is better. On a debate stage with an incumbent president, there will be no whiteboard, but there will be select opportunities for Romney to shame the president by using economic and fiscal data as weapons. Romney’s strength on statistics, his aides say, should come in handy if the president tries to dodge his record.

PERSONAL ANECDOTES

His father, George Romney; his wife, Ann; and his five sons all may come up on Wednesday. Whereas statistics and policy are two areas where Romney is most comfortable, personal stories have often been hard for him to articulate. Romney’s advisers don’t seem to be pushing him to do a lot with personal anecdotes, but look for Romney to intersperse a few carefully selected stories. As I mentioned earlier, Romney’s campaign sees the first debate as more than a contest to win on points. They want to introduce Romney to the country. [T]he most important anecdotes, aides say, may not even be family stories, but memories from his days at Bain Capital. Bain Capital’s rise from an offshoot of a consulting firm to a major power in the private-equity world is something Romney takes prides in, and his advisers hope that the candidate defines those years on his own terms.

The Truth About Romney at Bain from 1999 – 2002

Considering the Obama campaign is desperate to change the subject from their own failed record, it appears they have entered the “just making shit up” phase. Despite repeated corrections by not exactly friendly Romney sources like the Washington Post, the Obama campaign casts smears on top of their lies. The lies began over Romney’s impact on any outsourcing while at Bain, now the Obama campaign claims Romney is a felon for false SEC filings based on questionable Boston Globe reporting. The Washington Post fact-checkers conclude:

The Obama campaign is blowing smoke here.We realize that Bauer gets to the word “criminal” by mentioning “investigation,” but that distinction might be lost on most listeners.  Meanwhile, the weight of evidence suggests that Romney did in fact end active management of Bain in 1999. He stated that in a federal disclosure form he signed, under threat of criminal penalties. He said he was a “former employee” in a state disclosure form. A state commission concluded 10 years ago that he did, indeed, leave Bain in 1999.  Investors in Bain funds were told he was not part of the management team.

To put this complex issue in more simpler terms, Conn Carroll quotes a George Mason corporate law professor:

The Boston Globe seems to be confused about the SEC filings. They refer to Bain Capital VI, an investment distinct from what we commonly know as “Bain Capital.” Saying that Governor Romney was the CEO of Bain Capital VI is like saying that I am the CEO of my retirement account… its a silly bit of legalese but it doesn’t mean I am CEO of all the companies in which I invest.

Here is a far more lengthy explanation from the Washington Post:

As we wrote yesterday, we are standing with our assessment that Mitt Romney left the helm of Bain Capital in 1999, when he left to run the Salt Lake City Olympics. The date is important because some questionable investments by Bain took place between 1999 and 2002, when he ran for governor. But a Boston Globe article on Thursday raised new questions about that timeline, citing SEC filings, and the Obama campaign jumped to take advantage of it.

Highlights of the controversy include:

  • Much of the language saying Romney was “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” was boilerplate that did not reveal whether he was actually managing Bain at the time.
  • “Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain ‘executive’ in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.” …  The 2001 form describes him as a “former executive” (see page 1 of form A-5) — the campaign says this was retirement pay — but the 2002 form says “executive.” So either you believe he suddenly rejoined the firm, after leaving it, or someone made a typo.
  • Romney’s sudden departure from Bain had left the partnership in flux, in fact almost breaking up the firm, and a final resolution was not reached until he ended his Olympic sojourn and decided to run for governor.
  • Fortune magazine on Thursday reported that it had obtained the offering documents for Bain Capital funds circulating in 2000 and 2001. None of the documents show that Romney was listed as being among the “key investment professionals” who would manage the money. As Fortune put it, “the contemporaneous Bain documents show that Romney was indeed telling the truth about no longer having operational input at Bain — which, one should note, is different from no longer having legal or financial ties to the firm.”
  • Massachusetts Democrats tried to keep Romney off the ballot in the 2002 governor’s race on the grounds that he had been living and working in Utah, even paying taxes there, and thus had failed to meet the requirement to have lived seven consecutive years in Massachusetts. The effort failed, but not after Democrats waged an expensive, months’ long battle to prove he worked so much on the Olympics that he was in effect a citizen of Utah.

Ohio Disaster Relief Center at Romney Headquarters in Columbus

Due to the devastating storms ravaging the mid-west and east coast, many states were declared disaster areas including Ohio.  To assist with disaster relief the Romney campaign is using its Columbus headquarters and campaign bus to assist relief efforts:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign is helping storm relief efforts in Ohio. Spokesman Chris Maloney says the state campaign headquarters in Columbus is open Sunday for donations of water, flashlights, non-perishable foods and other items needed in the aftermath of severe storms Friday evening that knocked out power to much of the state amid a heat wave. He says a Romney bus in Ohio this week for campaign office openings will be diverted Monday and Tuesday to deliver supplies to shelters, fire stations and churches in hard-hit areas. Nearly 700,000 utility customers remained without power Sunday morning. Maloney said the Romney campaign office received some 5,000 bottles of water by late morning. He said the campaign will ask the American Red Cross and other relief officials for guidance on where to take the donations.  “This is about helping people in their time of need,” Maloney said, calling the effort apolitical.

Headquarters Location and Hours:
1335 Dublin Rd.
Suite 110 F
Columbus, OH 43215

Monday – Friday
9am-9pm
Saturday
9am-5pm

This type of charity is nothing new for Romney.  Famously, he closed all of Bain Capital and 30 partners and employees flew to New York to help find a partner’s missing daughter.

UPDATE: Official Romney campaign release:

The severe storms that ripped through Ohio have claimed 13 lives across our nation and left thousands without power in Ohio.  It could be several days before power is restored to the hundreds of thousands of Ohioans affected. The Romney for President bus is in Ohio this week and we’ve decided to put it to good use in the relief effort, but we need your help. If you’d like to make a donation to the relief effort, bring supplies to the Romney for President Headquarters located at 1335 Dublin Road in Columbus on Sunday between 10am and 7pm. We will load up the Romney for President bus on Sunday evening and send it to Southeast Ohio on Monday morning to deposit supplies at various relief centers. Here’s what we need:

*   Bottled Water

*   Non-perishable food items, such as beef jerky, granola bars, peanut butter, etc.

Bring your supply donations to our headquarters Sunday and we’ll ensure it gets to your fellow Ohioans who are in need on Monday. Thank you in advance for your generosity.

Democrat Perspective: Why Obama Will Win Pennsylvania

In the second installment of “Democrat Perspective” we’re going to take a look at the Keystone State. I will readily admit that this is one of the least likely GOP wins among the Battleground states (Michigan is probably the least likely) but the state is still close enough to be a consensus Battleground. Evan McMurray, the political editor at Ology, had a reasoned essay explaining “Why Mitt Romney Will Lose Pennsylvania“:

Pennsylvania is getting further and further out of reach for Mitt Romney, putting additional pressure on him to win one of the eight so-called super swing states in November. But more important, the Pennsylvania’s movement away from its flirtation as a swing state shows how changing demographics—and some well-placed, anti-Bain Capital ads—put the state back in the blue.

Although I was immediately concerned that the argument would be overly-weighted to the suspect demographic arguments Democrats keep trumpeting, Mr. McMurray weighed in heavily on more data driven arguments:

Public Policy Polling has Obama up a solid 50/42 despite the president’s disapproval rating actually being one point underwater

Reconciling this disparity McMurray identifies the Obama campaign strategy:

How do voters elect a candidate they don’t particularly like? By hating his opponent: Keystoners have a real problem with Mitt Romney, who has an approval deficit of 14 points, 37/51. Voters may not be thrilled with Obama, but they’re more than happy to vote for him over Romney.

Now demographics:

  • PA has seen “strong growth in college graduates and skilled service industries and increased diversity due to a burgeoning Hispanic population” — all Obama groups
  • Eastern half of the state has been trending away from its rust belt roots — a demo with shrinking support for Obama but importantly a shrinking demo
  • Still central to the state’s vote results, though, are white working class voters who did not disproportionately turn on Obama in 2008 despite his “bitter clingers” comment — he won enough in 08 to carry the state

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