Mitt Romney Is In One Lying Mess Over Bain
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First, here is what the Romney camp did wrong. They screwed up even before the Post story appeared, by stiffing the paper and not giving the reporter answers to questions about Romney and his company Bain Capital. Bain had invested in companies that were developing business in domestic outsourcing and foreign offshoring of production costs. But rather than answer, Bain issued a bland non-statement. If Romney and Bain had engaged on the story in advance, they might have been able to explain the difference between outsourcing and offshoring. They also might have been able to point out that this was a small part of the business, and an unavoidable trend that, in fact, protected many American jobs by making the American-based companies in question more efficient.
The Romney camp in Boston waited a full six days to hit the alarm box after the story was published, and long after the Obama camp took the headline and facts in the story and twisted them to their own advantage. This is an eon of time in modern campaigning, when every Tweet is its own news cycle. And as if to highlight their slow-off-the-mark response, the Mittsters formed a delegation and flew to Washington to personally demand a retraction by the paper, which they accused of conflating outsourcing with offshoring. Having brushed off the paper in advance, they arrived with a dossier and demanded results. Not surprisingly, they failed.
The Romney campaign's next move was to strenuously point out that Obama's stimulus package directly poured money into foreign, as opposed to American, jobs, by funneling grants to overseas energy companies. This would have been a good retort -- had the campaign thought of using it right away, not after Team Obama had gone up with an attack ad.
Around that time, the Romney camp committed its biggest mistake, basing their defense of the candidate on the theory that he had bowed out of any role in Bain as of early 1999, and, as such, could not be blamed for any offshoring, consulting or other work that Bain did thereafter. This was too cute by half.
For one, were they saying that there was a lot of offshoring, but that Mitt wasn't around for it? Or were they saying that there wasn't any offshoring, at least none that Bain was responsible for?
For another, the timeline defense is opening an entire new line of media inquiry about the facts -- and opening a new line of inquiry is the last thing you want to do. And the question was -- and is -- whether Mitt Romney was really and truly dialed out of Bain, and too busy in Salt Lake City with preparing for the Olympics to notice that American jobs were being shipped overseas?
Source: The Huffington Post | Howard Fineman
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