What Goes Around, Comes Around

Romney says big business is “doing fine.” Sound familiar?

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Aug. 24, 2012, 6:55 a.m.

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).

TV Timeout

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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