Saturday, July 14, 2012

Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney - The "battle of the adverts" seems already decided, as Obama-campaign launches devastating campaign-ad against Mitt Romney - PLUS: Are Romney's tax-returns "full of ugly stuff?"

By Patrick

Despite the fact that Ron Paul's supporter today try to make a "last stand" at the Nebraska GOP convention, it seems certain that Mitt Romney will face Barack Obama in the presidential election. But although the candidates still have several months to go, Mitt Romney already is in big, big trouble. The Obama-campaign has little difficulty to exploit the weaknesses of Romney's record, and most of the weaknesses are connected to Romney's activities at Bain Capital (apart from that, he is a shameless, flip-flopping opportunist).

So the Obama campaign today released this magnificent anti-Romney advert, which is different in style from most campaign adverts we see these days - very subtle in style, nicely done (big h/t to Older_Wiser):

The anti-Romney campaign commercials virtually write themselves these days! Henry Blodget from "Business Insider", who is known to our readers for having a very good smell for BS, on Thursday had this wonderful headline:

Henry Blodget explains that Mitt Romney was at the very least ultimately responsible for the decisions of Bain Capital from 1999 - 2002, even if one accepted the statement by the Romney campaign that Mitt Romney had "no input on investments or management of companies" after 1999:

Note that the Romney campaign does not deny that Romney was "chairman, CEO, and president" of Bain from 1999-2002.

What the Romney campaign says instead is that Romney "left" Bain in 1999 and had "no input on investments or management of companies after that point."

So, read to the legal letter, both of those statements may technically be true (or at least defensible).
Romney did leave Bain in 1999, at least for a leave of absence (he went to run the Olympics).

And it is possible that, once he left, he no longer had direct input into investment or management decisions.
However ...

As "Chairman, CEO, and President" of Bain, he damn well would have remained responsible for these decisions. In which case, saying he had "left" and implying that he had no involvement or responsibility whatsoever is highly misleading.

The CEO of a car company may not have input into the decision of what specific cars the company makes or where it makes them (though he or she obviously could if s/he wanted), but this CEO is unequivocally responsible for these decisions.

Similarly, if Romney was CEO of Bain at the time it made the Stericycle decision, as well as the company layoffs and other unpleasant facts that Candidate Romney would like to disown, he certainly was responsible for these decisions.

That would really be the last thing Americans need right now - a President who is unable to take responsibility for his actions.

I am sure that the next anti-Romney commercials are already in the making, as Mitt Romney, in a risky and potentially extremely damaging move now refuses to release his tax returns for the years before 2010. This move even surprises some Republicans, as TPM reports, and could be the greatest threat for Mitt Romney yet:
On Thursday, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), who heads all House GOP campaign efforts, told reporters that questions about Romney’s holdings were on target, according to CNN.

“His personal finances, the way he does things, his record, are fair game,” Sessions said. While he declined to name a specific amount of information or number of years’ worth of tax returns Romney should release, he called the issue a “legitimate question.” Romney has only released his 2010 tax return and had said he will release his 2011 return before the election.

Obama has personally called on Romney to release past tax returns, saying a candidate should be an “open book” to voters. The issue has gained traction in recent weeks following a series of reports on Romney’s holdings in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and his past use of a Swiss bank account. Obama campaign officials frequently note that Romney’s father, George Romney, set the current standard for disclosure in his own 1968 presidential bid when he released a dozen years’ worth of returns.

In another article, TPM points out that John McCain's former campaign manager Steve Schmidt already saw Mitt Romney's tax returns back in 2008, and judging from Steve Schmidt's very cautious remarks in an interview on MSNBC from January 2012, TPM believes that it is very well possible that Romney's tax returns "are full of ugly stuff."

In this interview from January 2012, Steve Schmidt said, according to TPM:

"I think that he`s the front-runner in the race. I think he`s the most likely person to be the nominee of the party. And I would never advise him to disadvantage himself with issues like his taxes, against what is precedent for campaigns.

I think that he will probably do what presidents and vice presidents typically have done with regard to the release of their taxes. But if it was good enough for John Kerry, it ought to be good enough for Mitt Romney. He shouldn`t release information that disadvantages himself and opens up a lot of attacks."

So it really seems that the details of Romney's tax returns would be very damaging to Mitt Romney.

When asked about making his tax returns public, Mitt Romney said in a debate in January 2012 that he will "probably" release his tax returns public "for other years as well", but then immediately lashes out against the Democrats with the nonsensical argument that they just want to attack him "for being successful" - but even from this clip it is obvious that Romney is very afraid to release his tax returns (from the 1:40 mark):

I thought that in the USA it is the biggest advantage for a potential presidential candidate to portray himself as "successful!" So how could this possibly be used by Democrats for an "attack?"

So, if successful or unsuccessful, Mitt Romney is definitely in trouble.

The voters are also not convinced of flip-flopping, secretive Mitt - the polls consistently favour Barack Obama for many months now:

The "Daily Beast" mercilessly slams Romney for not releasing his returns - and also for lying through his teeth:

Meanwhile, Romney is lying as usual, having told Larry Kudlow that John Kerry only released two years so what's the big. Not true. Kerry released two years while running for president. But before that, as a sitting senator, he'd released batches of returns as he approached each reelection, meaning that he put 20 years' worth out there en toto.

My guess is that Romney will do that thing that really rich people often do, which is allow select reporters (that is to say, not anyone who knows details about taxes, like David Cay Johnston) to come to a sealed room, relinquish their cell phones, and spend three hours looking at a huge stack of returns but not take copies away. No one will learn anything and he'll then go out and say hey, we released them, and I'm clean.

The Democrats have to keep pounding this. Releasing your returns is just one of those things you have to do, like eating corn dogs in Iowa. That he is even fighting this point shows us, or at least gives us much reason to suspect, that the kind of capitalism he practiced for 25 years is utterly incompatible with civic responsibility.

There is another point I would like to make. I find it surprising that Mitt Romney is so weak when it comes to defending himself, as the more "modern way" of Republican politics these days often follows the "classic" Scientology motto - "Always attack, never defend." Maybe Romney is just too "old school" (following screenshot taken from this excellent anti-Scientology video):

Sarah Palin for example has become a master in this tactic, never admitting any of her uncountable lies or scandals, and instead always launching vicious attacks against the media, Democrats and other people who could disturb her. It is very well possible that she took advice in this respect from top-Scientologist John Coale, Greta Van Susteren's husband, who "set up SarahPAC" and "lends Sarah Palin advice when needed", as TIME reported (John Coale is reportedly on the OT8 level, the highest known level in Scientology).

But then, it is probably not in Mitt Romney's nature to attack. He just wants to pleases people and tell them what they would like to hear. He once was a staunchly pro-choice and pro-healthcare Governor, a liberal Republican, so to speak, as beautifully displayed in this attack-ad which John McCain produced already  in 2007:

Now he has magically transformed into a conservative Republican, which only adds to his overall weakness.

Finally, watch this remarkable clip where thin-skinned Mitt Romney loses his temper after challenged by a reporter, who rightly criticized Romney distorting remarks about not letting lobbyists run his campaign:

Mitt Romney, the next President of the USA? I think the Koch brothers and the other billionaires gunning for Mitt would need to paint him red, white and blue and sell him for a bargain price in order to make him marketable. The election may be a close call, but with such a weak candidate like Mitt Romney, Barack Obama should not have to worry - especially if his campaign team continues to deliver.

Smile, everyone - Barack Obama is in charge!



Great pictures today from Barack Obama in the rain, speaking in Virginia. When Republicans would have already retired into the dry rooms of their country clubs, Obama weathers the storm - just like in 2008. More pictures HERE! (h/t BellPeppery)



This is just too good  - Mitt Romney was yesterday on five networks, voicing his outrage about the claims by the Obama-campaign, demanding an apology - and rarely looked a candidate weaker. You were the CEO and the owner! And the chairman! You received a salary of at least $ 100,000 p.a.! Plus all the other gazillions which came with being the owner, I guess. Mitt, have you forgotten?

Daddy Obama, please apologize! Otherwise poor little Mitt won't be able to sleep at night.

The best thing is: All five interviews have been condensed in the following clip to only 60 seconds. More than enough! (h/t Older_Wiser)

I believe even Republicans don't know why they should for Mitt!

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