Mitt Romney campaigned Aug. 23 in MN, where he said that big businesses are “doing fine,” using similar language that Romney has hammered Pres. Obama for using to describe the private sector earlier this year.
Romney: “I’m going to champion small business. We’ve got to make it easier for small businesses. Big business is doing fine in many places — they get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation.”
Romney then added that the reason that big businesses are “doing fine in many places” is because they are able to invest their money in “tax havens.” Romney: “They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses. But small business is getting crushed” (Friedman, ABC News, 8/23).
Romney “didn’t mention … that he has kept some of his personal money in offshore tax havens, including accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands” (Pace, AP, 8/23).
In MN, Romney sought to “generate some enthusiasm for his campaign.” Romney: “This is a campaign about the soul of America. I want to keep this country the shining city on a hill, the strong and vibrant nation that has inspired the nation and people all over the globe. I need your help to have that happen.”
Romney told supporters at the private fundraiser in Minnetonka: “You’ve written checks; I need you now to go out and find somebody who voted for Barack Obama — there are a few here in Minnesota. I need you to find them and convince them to join our team. Not because they’re Republican or Democrat, but because this is the time to say what America is. … And if you do, we’re going to take back our country” (Brooks, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 8/24).
Power To The People
Earlier in the day Aug. 23, Romney unveiled his energy plan in NM, “setting a goal of reaching North American energy independence by 2020” by removing regulatory barriers in the U.S. “and increasing cooperation with fellow energy-producers Canada and Mexico.”
Romney: “I will set a national goal of America and North America — North American energy independence by 2020. That means we produce all the energy we use in North America. And there are a number of things I’m going to do to make that happen. It is achievable. This is not some pie in the sky kind of thing. This is a real, achievable objective” (Haake, NBC News, 8/23).
Romney, whose plan “focuses heavily on oil and gas production,” said he federal government “needs to get out of the way when it comes to drilling on federal lands” in states like NM, “where more than half the state’s oil and gas wells are on federal lands.”
Romney, in Hobbs, NM: “Three million jobs come back to this country by taking advantage of something we have right underneath our feet. That’s oil and gas and coal, and we’re going to make it happen. We’re going to create those jobs.”
Romney said the U.S. needs to take “advantage of our energy resources — our oil, our coal, our gas, nuclear, renewables, wind, solar,” but his “clear emphasis” in the Hobbs speech was on the goal of expanding energy production from fossil fuels (Monteleone, Albuquerque Journal, 8/23).
Los Angeles Times headline: “Romney: Energy independence not ‘pie in the sky’” (8/23).
Washington Post headline: “Mitt Romney says plan will achieve North American energy independence by 2020” (8/23).
Wall Street Journal editorializes on Romney’s energy plan: “It appears that Mitt Romney wants to join every President since Richard Nixon who has declared the goal of American ‘energy independence’ and then never delivered. With the exception of that patently political soundbite, the energy plan that the GOP candidate rolled out Thursday is an unusually sane document, in contrast to the fad-obsessed tradition of the last 40 years. The asterisk on the Romney goal of energy independence by 2020 is that he refers to North America, which if you include Canada and Mexico is the fastest-growing energy production region in the world” (8/24).
Buckeye Of The Tiger
Romney and Ryan will make their first OH joint appearance in a Aug. 25 rally, “visiting the critical battleground state” before next week’s GOP Convo (AP, 8/24).
State Of Play
Washington Post‘s Charles Krauthammer, on a new FNC survey showing the race is close: “I think that is good for the Republicans. I think it bodes well. Romney has been under a campaign of negative ads unlike any seen I think in recent American history and he is now in a dead heat. He has been husbanding his resources. He hasn’t spent as much as Obama. He is husbanding it for the last couple of months of the campaign. As soon as he is nominated I think it frees up $160 million” (“Special Report,” FNC, 8/23).
Ready For His Close-Up
Wall Street Journal‘s Langley and Murray profile Romney in an interview: “Romney strides into a hotel suite in Columbus, Ohio, where a couch awaits. He waves at it and quips: ‘People would like me to lie down and let it all out.’”
“As he soon makes clear, Mr. Romney sees no reason to do that in the campaign’s final stretch, which begins with his party’s nominating convention next week. To the contrary, [Romney] … vows in an interview that he won’t be part of the celebrity-style culture often favored by politicians. Despite pressure to be more revealing, he says he won’t use his campaign as ‘a way to personalize me like I’m a piece of meat.’”
“The approach carries risk. But it sheds light on Mr. Romney’s attitude about winning — as well as his theory that 2012 marks a different kind of electoral climate. Voters, he wagers, are most interested in hiring a fix-it specialist for an ailing economy.” Romney: “People who’ve hired me in the past have been pleased that they did. And so, I’ll describe my views and issues and concerns, but I don’t have a plan to take everybody to my childhood home and say, ‘Here’s where I rode my bicycle’” (8/24).
Romney writes in the Wall Street Journal, “What I Learned at Bain Capital”: “A broad message emerges from my Bain Capital days: A good idea is not enough for a business to succeed. It requires a talented team, a good business plan and capital to execute it. … My presidency would make it easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses to get the investment dollars they need to grow, by reducing and simplifying taxes; replacing Obamacare with real health-care reform that contains costs and improves care; and by stemming the flood of new regulations that are tying small businesses in knots” (8/24).
Speak Of The Devil
“Gawker” on Aug. 23 published “more than 950 pages of internal audits, financial statements, and private investor letters for 21 cryptically named entities” in which Romney invested during his time at Bain Capital (Cook, “Gawker,” 8/23).
The document dump “offered new details on holdings owned by [Romney]’s family trusts, including offshore account locations and underlying assets.” The records also “provided financial statements and investor information on 18 Bain investment funds and three hedge funds in which Romney, his wife, Ann, and his children have invested. Some of the funds listed underlying assets that included loans to companies ranging from health care firms to the Las Vegas Sands, the casino owned by major GOP donor Sheldon Adelson.”
“The massive trove of Bain materials adds to the public’s knowledge of the inner workings of some of the funds that the Romneys own through family trusts. … But the documents did not provide any new major revelations about either the Romneys’ personal holdings or their tax strategies, and left veteran tax and legal experts speculating on the cache’s informational value” (Braun, AP, 8/24).
The documents “do not specify the stakes held in the funds by the Romney family trusts or by other investors. But they highlight the range and complexity of Mr. Romney’s investments at a time when those very qualities have been the subject of the Obama campaign’s main attacks against him, including demands that Mr. Romney release his tax returns to clear up any suggestion that he might be benefiting financially from legal loopholes or tax shelters” (Confessore, New York Times, 8/24).
Bain issued a statement “lamenting Gawker’s release of the documents”: “The unauthorized disclosure of a number of confidential fund financial statements is unfortunate. Our fund financials are routinely prepared by auditors and demonstrate a commitment to transparency with our investors and regulators, and compliance with all laws” (Hamburger/Dennis, Washington Post, 8/24).
Fortune‘s Dan Primack, on the documents: “Let me save you some time: There is nothing in there that will inform your opinion of Mitt Romney” (8/23).
Romney did an interview with FBN’s Peter Barnes, 8/23.
Romney, on if he’d appoint Romney adviser Glenn Hubbard to be the Fed chair under his admin: “I haven’t considered a single person at this point, given no names any thought or deliberation. When the time comes to appoint a new Fed chairman, I will give that a full analysis. I don’t have anyone to write into that slate right now or anyone to write out but of course Glenn is a wonderful economic advisor, Greg Mankiw also from Harvard, likewise an excellent economic advisor and there are many across the nation who I’d want to consider for any appointment of that magnitude.”
Romney, on if would consider Fed chair Ben Bernanke for a third term: “I always listen to people who have counsel and advice but my view has been that I would want to select someone who is a new member, excuse me, a new person to that chairman position, someone who shared my economic views, was sympathetic to the needs of our nation and I want to make sure the Federal Reserve focuses on maintaining the monetary stability that leads to a strong dollar and confidence that America is not going to go down the road that other nations have gone down to their peril.”
Romney, on how he’d avoid the fiscal cliff: “I’ve indicated that I would keep the status quo in place with regards to tax policy, military spending and the like. And keep that as part of the going forward runway and allow the new president to put in place his new tax program, his new budget. I have a hard time understanding how it is that we have a law in this country that the Senate must bring forward a budget every year and it’s been 3 years since they’ve done so. I look forward to having a president that will actually lead and have budgets and policies to get American on track to economic sanity.”
Romney, on how he defines wealthy Americans while talking about the idea of ending the mortgage interest deduction as part of tax reform: “I haven’t described specifically what changes would occur with regards to deductions or exemptions for higher income Americans. I have not said we would eliminate, for instance, the home mortgage interest deduction, but I know for higher income Americans we are going to maintain the progressivity and the code. I am not looking for high income people to pay a lower share of the total tax burden in the country. At the same time, I’m going to make sure that middle income families don’t pay more in taxes and that middle income families don’t pay a higher share of the tax burden in the country.”
More Romney: “I am not looking, as I know the Obama people want to say, to reduce taxes for wealthy people. I am looking instead to lower tax rates and limit deductions and exemptions in such a way that we have enterprises, small businesses able to keep more of their capital and at the same time simplify the code” (FBN, 8/23).
Pull Your Punches, Please
“It’s the sort of statement that leaves journalists slack-jawed: ‘The one stipulation to the interview was that I not ask him about abortion or Todd Akin.’”
That’s what Romney’s campaign demanded, said Shaun Boyd, a reporter for the CBS-owned television station in Denver, when she interviewed Romney on Aug. 23. “Boyd was one of four Denver reporters to be granted five minutes with the candidate via satellite, and the only reporter to tell viewers about any preset restrictions” (Stelter, New York Times, 8/23).
After her interview with Romney, Boyd said she “said to them, “˜Look, everybody’s talking about this. It’s going to seem awkward if I don’t ask about it. And they said, “˜Well, he’s said all he’s going to say about it. He doesn’t have anything more to say. You won’t be getting any new information, so we don’t want to talk about that.’”
Boyd finally agreed, saying: “I wanted to get the interview with him because I have other issues I want to talk to him about” (TPM, 8/23).
On TV, Boyd introduced her short interview with Romney this way: “I had about five minutes with him and we got through a fair amount of material, actually, in that five minutes. The one stipulation to the interview was that I not ask him about abortion or Todd Akin — he’s the Missouri Republican who created a firestorm after saying that women’s bodies shut down in a legitimate rape to prevent pregnancy.
A Romney campaign source said: “This is not how we operate. The matter is being addressed” (Wemple, Washington Post, 8/23).
In the CBS Denver interview, Romney said his health care law in MA was “better than the federal law it inspired.” Romney: “My healthcare plan I put in place in my state has everyone insured, but we didn’t go out and raise taxes on people and have a unelected board tell people what kind of healthcare they can have” (Viebeck, The Hill, 8/23).
The Good Wife
Romney and Ann Romney are in an upcoming interview on FNC’s “Fox News Sunday,” 8/26.
Ann, on Mitt: “I wish everyone could see him how I see him, because as a mother, I’ve seen him, how compassionate he’s been with me, as a wife and my raising these small children and how he always valued my work as being more important than his.”
Ann: “Whenever I introduce or talk to, especially fundraising groups, I’ll look out and I’ll see everyone is looking like they’re doing pretty well here. I’m like, guess what, guys, we’re not running for you. We’re running for those folks that are really worried about how they’re going to have a paycheck or they’re really worried about how they’re going to be able to afford to educate their children. That’s what we’re running for. We’re not running to make your lives easier.”
Mitt, on Ann advising him: “Ann is really good. She is really good at seeing things in ways others don’t see them and — and being able to provide that openly to me. And I value it very highly. She is — she has been my, you know, best friend, obviously, and my counselor throughout my life.”
Ann, on her advice: “Not on policy.”
Mitt: “I was going to say, I didn’t know she didn’t give advice on policy.”
Ann: “Yeah, I might weigh in on that, too, sometimes. … Poor Mitt, he gets advice from everybody, even me” (8/26).
With Friends Like These…
KS Sec/State Kris Kobach (R), an “informal adviser” to Romney, is representing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees suing the Obama admin. “over its plan to stop deporting many young illegal immigrants and grant them work permits.”
Kobach “filed the lawsuit on behalf of 10 ICE employees” Aug. 23 in federal court in Dallas. The 22-page filing contends that the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals plan “violates federal law and forces ICE employees to break the law by not arresting certain illegal immigrants.” DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano and ICE Dir. John Morton are named as defendants.
Kobach said “he is representing the employees as a private lawyer” and not in his capacity as a KS official (Caldwell, AP, 8/23).
Meanwhile, Romney’s campaign “is treading carefully on the issue” of the new lawsuit against the Obama admin.’s deportation deferrals for young illegal immigrants, “criticizing Obama for the policy but refusing to say whether or not he would continue the deferrals if he were to become president.”
Romney spokesperson Ryan Williams: “There is no question that the president’s executive action is unprecedented and raises large questions as to whether it is within his authority. The courts will have to sort this out, but this kind of uncertainty is unacceptable as these young people brought here as children are seeking clarity on their long-term status” (Joseph, The Hill, 8/23).
Washington Post‘s Bouie writes: “Team Romney says it wants to exceed John McCain‘s performance among the demographic. … But McCain spent years building credibility with the Hispanic community. He was a vocal supporter of immigration reform and was one of the original sponsors of the DREAM Act in 2005. It was only the the rabidly anti-immigration views of the GOP base that forced McCain to adopt a more hardline stance during the 2008 campaign” (8/23).
L.A. Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa (D), on Romney appealing to Hispanics: “He was somewhere, I was thinking Mars, when they think that they’re going to get anything close to 38 percent of the Latino vote. … I expect that they’re not getting anything above 25 percent” (“Ed Show,” MSNBC, 8/23).
Hey Mitt, They Like It!
A Romney TV ad blasting Obama for the spot that linked Romney to a woman’s cancer death “is the only ad so far this cycle to hurt the president among independent voters, according to a new study.”
Romney’s “America Deserves Better” ad — which attacks Obama for the Priorities USA ad — “swung support among independents six points in Romney’s favor, the Vanderbilt/YouGov Ad Rating Project survey shows” (Weigner, Politico, 8/23).
His John Hancock
Washington Post reporter Phil Rucker, who famously shouted “What about your gaffes!?” at Romney, arrived on the campaign’s press plane Aug. 23 with a homemade t-shirt that read, “What about your gaffes!?”
Rucker “then sought Romney’s signature, which he obtained” (Byers, Politico, 8/23).
That’s What She Said
DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, on writing in a fundraising email that Romney’s camp wrote the abortion platform: “What I’m saying, it doesn’t matter.”
Wasserman Schultz: “There is no way that a presidential candidate, a party’s nominee, can separate themselves from that party’s platform. … He had an opportunity during the drafting of that platform language to make sure that his own view, if that really is his view, is in that party’s platform language. … He didn’t do that. Neither did his campaign team” (“AC360,” CNN, 8/23).
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