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July 14, 2012 9:27 AM Feeling the Bain: The Romney Ill Will Tour

By Adele Stan

While the sun was busy bombarding the earth with a giant energy ball, Washington was absorbed by a storm of a different nature, one that threatens to consume the Romney campaign.

And so we found Mitt Romney last night making the rounds of the network and major cable newscasts, decrying the Obama campaign’s haymaking of the fact that Romney is listed as “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president” of Bain Capital for three years after he says he had left the company. (Video at the bottom of this post.)

Different aspects of the story were broken last week by Mother Jones and TPM, but it wasn’t until the Boston Globe picked it up (initially without crediting the progressive news sources who did the actual digging) that mayhem ensued.

The excuse Romney peddled on the newscasts last night was that his gig overseeing the Salt Lake City Olympics occurred so suddenly, that he didn’t have time over the course of the next three years to change his officially-listed status with the company, even though he had actually, really, functionally retired — which would kind of amount to lying to the SEC.

Romney’s major talking point, though, was of a piece with his much-criticized (including by yours truly, writing for AlterNet) appearance before the NAACP this week: he repeatedly accused President Barack Obama’s statements on Bain, and those of his surrogates, as being “beneath the dignity of the office of the presidency.” Kind of a neat little signal to send to those who believe that having a black guy in the White House is “beneath the dignity of the presidency.”

But the question remains, why is Romney so keen to deny his involvement with Bain from March 1999-2002? As Brother Kilgore alludes, the conventional wisdom holds that those were years when Bain’s outsourcing activities were especially energetic. However, says Kilgore, Bain is pretty well-known as a willing outsourcer in any year. So what gives?

Writing at Hullabaloo, digby suggests the real problem is Bain’s November 2009 1999 investment in Stericycle, a medical waste company that disposes of, among other things, aborted fetuses. The Huffington Post first brought this fact to light, and Mother Jones’ David Corn followed through with the SEC documents to prove it.)

Stericyle has long been in the sights of the anti-abortion movement, and Romney can’t win the 2012 election unless the right-wing evangelical Christian base turns out for him. To that constituency, having a president who reaped financial rewards from a company that serves abortion clinics just might be “beneath the dignity of the office.”

Comments

  • c u n d gulag on July 14, 2012 10:35 AM:

    "And so we found Mitt Romney last night making the rounds of the network and major cable newscasts..."

    Boy, oh boy, I can hardly wait to watch tomorrow's gab-fest's, where the hosts hold Mitt Romney's feet to the velvet, gold-lined, diamond-ruby-and-sapphire-encrusted, slippers from Dolce & Gabbana, worth several million dollars.

    These won't even be softball questions!
    They'll be marshmallow ones.
    And the follow-ups, if there even are any, will make the make-up staff's cotton puffballs look like Union artillary shells.

    Someone better hose-off David Gregory with cold water before the interview, or else he'll get on his knees and start blowing Mitt on national TV.
    And we all know, that's Chris Wallace's job.
    With Bob Schieffer fondling Mitt's testicles.
    And George Vowel-a-lot-apolous tweaking Mitt's nipples with his teeth.

    Sorry for that imagery folks...

  • Anonymous on July 14, 2012 10:48 AM:

    This whole 'story' is so amazing. Romney wants to be President. He tells the 'American People' to accept him due to his ownership/working at Bain...check it out! Those that want to know more indeed 'check it out'. There are major questions on his tenure (up to and including his own TESTIMONY in MA that he still worked at BAIN from 1999-2002 so he could establish residency to be GUV) and now he is whining that it is 'beneath the office of the Presidency' to question HIM. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

  • dr2chase on July 14, 2012 11:03 AM:

    Not that "Ubuntu" means squat to most people (that's African, like the president, right? No, it is a variant of the Linux operating system, that names releases after Alliterative Animals) but I imagine a future release "Whiny Weasel".

  • Kathryn on July 14, 2012 11:10 AM:

    Following Gulag's theme, I live in Washington D. C. suburbs and have a subscription to the Washington Post (increasingly conservative/ corporatist WaPo). Checked out the guests for tomorrows blab fests and voila, two to one GOP on Meet The Press, Face The Nation, FOX News is 3 GOP to 1, This Week is one to one. Believe it or not, this is an improvement.

  • RL Alitheia on July 14, 2012 11:13 AM:

    Adele- The Stericycle deal was in 1999, not 2009, right? If so, you should probably correct it to avoid becoming fodder for a "Liberal Journalist Admits Stericycle Came Long After Romney Left Bain" headline on RedState.

  • mb on July 14, 2012 11:15 AM:

    "Stericyle has long been in the sights of the anti-abortion movement, and Romney can’t win the 2012 election unless the right-wing evangelical Christian base turns out for him. To that constituency, having a president who reaped financial rewards from a company that serves abortion clinics just might be 'beneath the dignity of the office.'"

    Seems to me that this assumes a level of integrity within the evangelical base that is not supported by the evidence. The fact that they are willing to vote for a mormon who, by definition, they believe is a false prophet and to whom, they believe, they should not even wish "Godspeed," suggests that there is something about Obama that even grinding up dead babies can't trump.

    (Psst, it's that he's half blah.)

  • Gene O'Grady on July 14, 2012 11:31 AM:

    I spent some time in my misspent youth in the headquarters of a large corporation and was at the lower end of the group that did part of the work on those SEC filings. Two observations based on that:

    (1) It doesn't matter how busy Mitt was with the Olympics. It's a staff job, and any CEO or owner is responsible for the quality of his staff and their work.

    (2) These filings are taken very seriously. Smart people go over them in great detail to make sure absolutely nothing is out of place or inaccurate. Like people with law degrees basically doing the job of copy editors. People not directly involved (like me) are told to drop what they're doing and join the effort when something comes up. The possibility of the CEO being listed inaccurately is basically zero.

  • Hedda Peraz on July 14, 2012 11:58 AM:

    Well, I see we all had our big tumbler of "Class Envy" this mornin'!
    Land sakes, but the man's rich, and earned it all his own self, with a bit of a head start from Daddy.
    Who gave you your first baseball glove, sugar? Let you borrow the family Rambler? Bought you a dog?

    As for dates and SEC signin's and being in two places at once, well that's all part and parcel of breathing the rarefied air of High Finance- sometimes one gets light headed and says things they don't remember, but stand by whatever it was.

    Yes, Virginia, you CAN fool all of the people all of the time; or at least a plurality.

  • James M on July 14, 2012 12:24 PM:

    Like Gene O'Grady above, I have also spent a number of "misspent years" working in major corporations. To put this as simply as possible (and echoing the President), 'CEO' stands for 'Chief Executive Officer'. That means that you are the head honcho, BMOC and 'Grand Poobah' all rolled into one! You are responsible for everything your corporation does. Period.

    Mitt's corporate supporters who hate BO and want to win the election at all costs might choose to look the other way, but they know better than anyone that this explanation is total baloney. However, I might still be inclined to cut Mitt a little slack if he hadn't been drawing a 100,000+ salary during the time he had supposedly 'left' the company!

    Leaving aside any complicated issues of corporate governance, compliance or legal accountability, this is an issue that the person on the street can relate to. A CEO who disclaims any responsibility for the actions of his company? Who would think that such a person could be entrusted with the Oval Office? I am sure that Mr. Romney has a lot of smart people on his campaign staff, but unless they work some magic within the next two weeks, I am beginning to think that Mr. Romney's candidacy may be essentially finished.

  • TCinLA on July 14, 2012 12:34 PM:

    Kind of a neat little signal to send to those who believe that having a black guy in the White House is “beneath the dignity of the presidency.”

    Which is why all this won't matter, not the Stericycle, not the outsourcing, the bankruptcies, the unemployment, the Cayman Islands stashing of cash, the Swiss bank account, to the "cornered animals" of White America who "want our country back."

  • James M on July 14, 2012 12:49 PM:

    To TCinLA,

    I am not so sure that this one won't matter. Even for people who are pretty right-wing, there are some things they just won't put up with. For example, if it is found that Mr. Romney:

    1. Has been/Is lying through his teeth about his involvement with Bain
    2. Has stashed tens of millions of dollars overseas in dodgy tax havens and Swiss Bank accounts
    3. Hasn't paid a dime of taxes in years by taking advantage of above tax havens and loopholes, despite being mega-rich

    I think it could really hurt him, even with voters who despise BO and would otherwise be strongly inclined to vote for Mr.Romney. I suspect that voters with a strong ideological bent are willing to be deceived up to a point, but they don't want to be taken for fools.

  • Joe Friday on July 14, 2012 12:51 PM:

    "And so we found Mitt Romney last night making the rounds of the network and major cable newscasts, decrying the Obama campaign’s haymaking of the fact that Romney is listed as 'sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president' of Bain Capital for three years after he says he had left the company."

    As reported by CBS News, not just "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president", but:

    Sole Shareholder
    Sole Director
    CEO
    President
    Chairman of the Board
    Managing Director

    of a firm he claims he wasn't managing.

  • bcinaz on July 14, 2012 1:14 PM:

    OK Mitt, point to the guy who was in charge. Open up an even bigger can of worms by implicating someone else in this fraud. If you weren't the guy in charge, who was?

  • Diane Rodriguez on July 14, 2012 1:41 PM:

    James M@ 12:49. I wish the media would pay more attention to your #2 and #3. The off shore money parking / tax dodging is so much easier for the electorate to understand as something a Presidential candidate shouldn't do. It directly relates to Romney's drumbeat on the top earners being "job creators" -while stashing money overseas???? There is a very significant question about loyalty and belief in America to be mined here.

    I would add #4 and #5. #4 His assertion that the single tax return he has released plus a supposed 2nd that is forthcoming, will be sufficient to satisfy any questions. #5 Just how in the hell did he make 100 million on a 6K per year IRA? I want me some of that action!

  • Skip on July 14, 2012 2:02 PM:

    Given all the excellent points made on just this one article, the conservatives who never miss a trick when it comes to criticizing the left, have managed to overlook, ignore, and/or suppress an amazing amount of negative information to keep this person in the running for president, and on their ticket too. Teh God Party strikes again...

    Mitt's starting to make Newt's hypocrisy look benign.

  • judge77 on July 14, 2012 2:08 PM:

    When does lack of ethics become too much even for the right? Because I'm not seeing anything yet to indicate that Mitt's activities are generating any kind of disgust or outrage from those on whose ticket he runs.

    They don't mind this...guy...being the conservative party poster child? That speaks volumes.

  • exlibra on July 14, 2012 2:09 PM:

    [Romney was]:

    Sole Shareholder
    Sole Director
    CEO
    President
    Chairman of the Board
    Managing Director

    of a firm he claims he wasn't managing. Joe Friday, @12:51

    He was the captain of that ship...
    Just not on that specific trip.

  • suekzoo on July 14, 2012 2:14 PM:

    How many times have we heard Mitt say that he worked at Bain for 25 years....many!

    It's already well-documented that Mitt started at Bain in 1977.

    1977 + 25 years = 2002

    Full stop.

  • N.Wells on July 14, 2012 2:21 PM:

    So the guy who is telling the president (in a very patronizing way) to step up and take responsibility is reduced to bleating that, despite being the "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" etc., he wasn't actually in charge, and it wasn't his fault. (But he got took home a salary that the rest of us can only dream of.)

    That's a picture that can keep a lot of voters home. This could turn out to be a contest between R's suppressing democratic voters and dismaying their own. Now, if we could just get a little ruckus from the Ron Paul crowd at the convention (but with Romney just barely surviving) and a quick post-R-Convention round of reminding people exactly how Romney's olympics became a success (socializing losses & privatizing profits), then we could be in nice shape for November.

    Looking ahead, having the D convention after the Olympics, the R convention, and Labor Day is beginning to look like great scheduling by the Dems: take the wind out of the R sails immediately and hit the "time to get serious" sentiment of early September.

  • Mimikatz on July 14, 2012 3:31 PM:

    Evangelical voters aren't a majority. They don't all have to stay home for Romney to lose. And independentas are the most likely to be turned off by Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Islands partnerships and Luxembourg shell corporations. Both sides need all of their supporters to turn out and need to get a substantial segment of the undecided in order to win.

    Right now it looks pretty good for Obama, but that can always change with events. OTOH, events could cut Obama's way as well.

  • RaflW on July 14, 2012 4:06 PM:

    Romney is reported to be heading to London in about a week to vacuum up American bankster cash at two fundraisers. They'll be legal (they say) as all the guests who donate will be US citizens or have US legal status. But the optics will be perfect: the man with Swiss bank accounts and Cayman shell companies cashing in on connections to the LIBOR types in London.

  • bluestatedon on July 14, 2012 4:34 PM:

    In 1999, Mitt Romney and Bain invested in a company that profited from the disposal of aborted fetuses, something that ought to sow discomfiture in the ranks of the nuttiest wingnuts. Assuming that the media doesn't bury the story.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/romney-bain-abortion-stericycle-sec

  • grandpa john on July 14, 2012 5:06 PM:

    A CEO who disclaims any responsibility for the actions of his company? Who would think that such a person could be entrusted with the Oval Office?
    I would imagine that an ad embracing this particular point is in the pipeline somewhere.

  • grandpa john on July 14, 2012 5:18 PM:

    he off shore money parking / tax dodging is so much easier for the electorate to understand as something a Presidential candidate shouldn't do. It directly relates to Romney's drumbeat on the top earners being "job creators" -while stashing money overseas???? There is a very significant question about loyalty and belief in America to be mined here.
    The ads just keep writing themselves don't they? There is such an embarrassing quantity of material, that its going to be difficult to narrow down

  • Joe Friday on July 14, 2012 6:02 PM:

    THE WORM HAS TURNED !


    Today, at the 'National Governors Association' meeting, Alabama's Republican governor, Robert Bentley, called on Willard to release all the documents requested of him:

    "If you have things to hide, then maybe you're doing things wrong," Bentley said. "I think you ought to be willing to release everything to the American people."

  • PTate in MN on July 14, 2012 6:38 PM:

    "When does lack of ethics become too much even for the right?"

    It takes a bit longer for information to reach conservatives. First, it has to crack the Fox filter. But I am confident that once the news is out--the news that Romney was CEO when Bain invested $75 Million in a company that disposes of aborted fetuses--it will spread like wildfire.

    People hate Obama, but they don't trust Romney and above all, don't want to be duped.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on July 14, 2012 7:55 PM:

    Just an intuitive guess -- I think the Stericycle stuff could end up proving to be reeeeeeeeally bad for the Romney candidacy, as in, pinch-hit another nominee at the convention bad. The base will forgive all kinds of stuff, including a ridiculous Damascus road experience on abortion that absolutely no one really believes. But disposing of fetuses is probably a bridge too far.

    If this depressed evangelical turnout even 10%, it probably wouldn't matter how bad the economy got -- you could just cancel the election right now.

  • Adele M. Stan on July 14, 2012 10:09 PM:

    Yikes! Thanks, RL Alitheia, for the correction.

  • Adele M. Stan on July 14, 2012 10:15 PM:

    Equal Opportunity Cynic -- Even a ridiculous Damascus road experience with a dog strapped to the car roof!

  • glen49 on July 15, 2012 7:56 AM:

    I think one thing people are overlooking is that it's now obvious that the Republicans have nominated Eric Cartman for the Presidency.

    Milt's outburst was just an updated version of Eric's signature line; "Respect my authoritah!" (thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Cartman for allowing me to spell it that way!)