The irony of today's campaign fisticuffs: FOX News tries to clear
Romney's name with a statement about his tenure at Bain Capital:
Contacted by Fox News and asked about the documents, a source at Bain Capital insisted that Romney never returned to the firm or did any substantive work for it, or for its "portfolio companies," after February 1999. - July 2, FOX News in a piece about "Obama's Vicious Lies" about Bain Capital. (emphasis mine)
But documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission--and obtained by Mother Jones--list Romney as an active participant in the investment. And this deal helped Stericycle, a company with a poor safety record, grow, while yielding tens of millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners. The documents--one of which was signed by Romney--also contradict the official account of Romney's exit from Bain. (emphasis mine)
What Will Matt Rhoades Do?
In the field of political campaigns, the campaign manager is king - when he can do his job right: he is not merely a "spin meister" but the man who navigates the entire campaign through thick and thin waters. The problem with being a Republican campaign manager, is that candidates are vetted too poorly: if a campaign manager doesn't know exactly how many times and exactly where a candidate peed in his life, he's hamstrung...and worthless. Rick Perry's manager, Joe Allbaugh, would no doubt have loved to know about Perry's "N*ggerhead" and the McCain campaign showed world class non-vetting when it chose Sarah Palin. Matt Rhoades is a very quiet, behind-the-scenes character. Suspiciously so:
In a Republican primary packed with highly flammable candidates who have taken turns at self-immolation, Rhoades is the organizing force behind Romney's safe and smooth campaign. - Jason Horowitz, Washington Post, November 20th, 2011.
Now, unfortunately, that campaign is neither safe nor smooth:
The document also states that Romney "may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to" 2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle "in his capacity as sole shareholder" of the Bain entities that invested in the company. That was about 11 percent of the outstanding shares of common stock. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm's stock--the largest bloc among the firm's owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney. ( emphasis mine )
The Romney campaigns' now-blatant lie, that Romney was effectively "retired" from Bain Captial in February, 1999 certainly puts Romney in a bad position, but what about Rhoades? Romney may only sidetrack the scandal by telling people Obama is behind all of this bru-ha-ha, but Rhoades will have to come up with something better, more substantial.
Echoes of Dick Cheney
Throughout his entire vice-presidential tenure, Dick Cheney eschewed questions about his involvement with Halliburton, the blockbuster war supplier. His "retirement" spin lasted eight years throughout which he received "pension benefits" of approximately $120,00 per year. His closed-door conferences with the corporate behemoth were glossed over time and time again by a Bush administration adept at keeping a great many secrets.So it's possible that the Rhoades management team has taken a page from Cheney's "retirement" meme: let it stand and people will forget about it. And for the record, a "part-time leave of absence" is not "retirement."*
So what will Matt Rhoades do to get Bain off Romney's back? It will take some very, very fancy spin and very adroit footwork to steer the campaign in a forward direction and away from the hammering of the Obama campaign.
*"On February 12, 1999, the Boston Herald reported, "Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions." And a Bain press release issued on July 19, 1999, noted that Romney was "currently on a part-time leave of absence"--and quoted Romney speaking for Bain Capital."