Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Behind the Ad: The facts behind Mitt Romney's record on job exporting

(Another installment in our "Behind the Ad" series.)

Who: The Obama-Biden campaign.

Where: Eight battleground states.

What's going on: The Obama campaign is continuing to hammer Mitt Romney on his record at Bain Capital as a job exporter, juxtaposing his comments about being tough on China with his record of outsourcing jobs to China.

It should be noted that there is a controversy around the claim that Romney was involved in any of the outsourcing of jobs at Bain. On the one hand, an independent group called FactCheck.org has argued that Romney had left Bain in February of 1999 prior to work the firm did to outsource jobs. On the other hand, the Obama campaign has cited evidence in a letter to FactCheck.org that:

"Romney took an informal leave of absence but remained in full legal control of Bain and continued to be paid by Bain as such. Governor Romney would have the period of Bain service understood differently, for the obvious reason that there is much in this l999-2002 period that he would prefer to avoid accountability for."

[The Obama campaign] cites statements by Romney, his wife Ann, lawyer Bradley Malt, and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission as evidence that he maintained significant managerial and financial ties with the company during the period when the outsourcings referenced in Obama TV ads occurred.

Romney said he would "stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions," the Boston Herald reported in February 1999 after an interview with the private equity executive. The letter also cites dozens of SEC filings from after March 1, 1999, which shows various Bain holdings as "wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney."

If the argument by the folks at FactCheck.org is that the ad is inaccurate because Romney was no longer running the company, despite the fact that he was involved in providing advice on investments and personnel decisions and had financial and managerial ties to organization, I find that absurd.

If this is the bar, I can only imagine what their Lie-o-Meter would do when it assessing anything Romney says. My guess is it would explode.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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