Taxation and Representation
In a sign of increasing aggression from his campaign, two supporters of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer trashed his rival in the comptroller’s race, ex-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, both for self-funding his bid and failing to release his tax returns.
“It’s really shocking that someone who made their reputation as a fighter for transparency and ethics in government now seems to believe he can be cynical about the same goals and get away with it,” said Councilman Brad Lander. “New Yorkers have to wonder, what is Mr. Spitzer hiding?”
Mitt Romney launched a major counteroffensive against the Obama campaign’s persistent attacks on his record at the private equity firm Bain Capital today. Not only did he unveil www.SterlingBusinessCareer.com to tout his private-sector achievements, but tonight’s schedule at the Republican National Convention is loaded up with Bain-related events.
According to Mitt Romney’s campaign manager, Matt Rhoades, “this week, the Obama campaign hit a new low.” In an email to supporters, Mr. Rhoades said the Obama campaign hit bottom with an ad run by the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action that featured Joe Soptic, a steelworker whose wife died without health insurance after he was laid off from a company owned by Bain Capital. Multiple members of President Barack Obama’s campaign staff subsequently claimed not to have any knowledge of Mr. Soptic’s story in spite of the fact he previously was featured in a campaign commercial and conference call.
“This week, the Obama campaign hit a new low. Obama allies released a desperate and dishonest ad that tried to falsely link Mitt to a family tragedy. As if the disgusting and disgraceful ad wasn’t enough, President Obama’s top campaign advisers repeatedly lied, claiming they had no knowledge about the content of the ad,” Mr. Rhoades wrote.
Mr. Rhoades went on to describe the ad as an attempt to distract voters from the president’s “failed economic record.”
Pizza magnate, former GOP presidential candidate and poet Herman Cain sent avery special email to his supporters explaining how excellent it is to be rich.” The missive was prompted by President Barack Obama’s now infamous “you didn’t build that” line, which has become a favorite target of conservatives. Mr. Cain argued the remark and the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mr. Romney’s tax returns and evolving story of his exit from Bain Capital as proof the president has a “disdain for the rich.”
“He doesn’t like you having all that money (unless you contribute it to his campaign), and he really doesn’t like you taking credit for having earned it,” wrote Mr. Cain.
As far as Mr. Cain is concerned, that argument neglects just how very awesome it is to have a lot of cash.
“What a load of crap. To listen to these people, you’d think being rich was the worst thing anyone could do,” Mr. Cain wrote. “Well I’ve got news for them: Being rich is cool.”
At Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s press conference this morning for the groundbreaking of the Sugar Hill Affordable Housing Development The Politicker asked him for his take on the controversy over Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital and his refusal to release more than two years of his tax returns. Initially, Mayor Bloomberg, who, like Mr. Romney, came to politics from the business world, said he wanted to stay out of the controversy.
“You have a right to raise any questions and I’ll leave national politics to national politics,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “You know, everybody’s got to deal with their own things. Government is different than the private sector. It’s hard to explain some things. What is in his tax returns? I don’t know. But ask him, not me. If you want to put it out you do, if you don’t, you don’t and you deal with what the public has to make a decision.”
Mayor Bloomberg went on to add that he isn’t pleased with the negative personal attacks that are increasingly defining this presidential campaign.
Back in 2002 when he was running for Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney and his aides had no problem admitting he retained his position as CEO of Bain Capital after 1999. Press articles from the time describe how Mr. Romney was on a “leave of absence” after 1999 and had not fully cut ties with the private equity firm.
Now that he’s running for president, Team Romney has repeatedly said he left the company after 1999, a claim that was called into question by yesterday’s Boston Globe report revealing Mr. Romney signed documents identifying him as chief executive and chairman of Bain Capital as late as 2002. Mr. Romney being on a ”leave of absence” would explain the discrepancy and it doesn’t mean he played any role in managing the company, however, according to at least one former Bain Capital executive, during a prior leave of absence, Mr. Romney still remained in a very active role with the company.
In the wake of relentless attacks from the Obama campaign on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital and his overseas assets, the Romney campaign released a new television adentitled “What Happened?” featuring footage of President Obama as a candidate four years ago criticizing negative campaigning.
“Four years ago, Candidate Obama spoke out against using ‘stale tactics to scare voters.’ Today, his plan to ‘destroy Romney’ includes dishonest attacks that he hopes will distract voters from his broken promises,” the Romney campaign said in a statement on the ad.
This morning’s edition of the Boston Globe contained a report that “government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control” bolstering the Obama campaign’s argument that Mr. Romney was responsible for outsourcing that occurred at Bain. The Globe article came just as the Romney campaign released a new ad describing the outsourcing claims as “dishonest.” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith responded with a statement saying, “Romney’s False Ad Is Based On His Big Bain Lie.”
“Mitt Romney’s ad is based on the false premise that he left Bain Capital in February 1999, an assertion that today’s Boston Globe and official documents filed with the SEC and the State of Massachusetts demonstrate is just not true,” Ms. Smith said. “The fact is that Romney, despite his big Bain lie, served as president and CEO of his corporate buyout firm until three years later and is responsible for the American jobs that were shipped overseas during that period.”
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul countered the Globe article with a statement of her own labeling the Globe story “inaccurate.”
Newark Mayor Cory Booker is co-hosting a fundraiser for President Barack Obama at The Plaza Hotel tomorrow and he hopes it will lay to rest once and for all any impression he somehow defected from the president’s re-election effort after his comments he was “nauseated” by the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital. The Politicker reached out to Mr. Booker to ask whether he believed the fundraiser would put to rest persistent chatter in the New York Post and elsewhere that the Bain brouhaha signified a break between him and President Obama. His response was emphatic.
“Since when do you all at NY Observer give so much credence to the Post on chatter? I’m giving speeches around the country for the party, I’m co-chair for the DNC Platform committee, I’m fund-raising for the campaign, hosting Thursday’s event and more,” Mr. Booker wrote. “Draw your own conclusions.”
Thanks to the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s career with Bain Capital, private equity has been thrust into the spotlight on the campaign trail with partisans on both sides debating whether the industry has a negative effect on the country. Private Equity Growth Capital Council, a political action committee that was formed in 2007 by several of the country’s largest private equity firms, has responded with a series of videos ”aimed at educating media, policy makers and the public about the private equity industry and its positive contributions to the American economy.”
“The presidential election has brought the private equity business model into sharp focus. But sometimes lost in the political debate is the positive impact private equity brings to the companies in which they invest,” read a statement from PEGCC announcing their latest video.