(UPDATE IV) Romney Caught In The Crossfire As Perry Drops Out & Gingrich’s Ex Prepares To Blab


How does the Mitt Romney campaign defend itself against charges — entirely accurate, in this case — that the man who wants to replace President Obama got filthy rich on the backs of middle-class working stiffs, pays a tax rate substantially below those stiffs and hides some of his income in offshore tax havens?

The answer is that you portray your critics as “liberals.”

That seems to be the emerging strategy as Romney and his surrogates push back against a groundswell of allegations that he has something to hide and criticism from his Republican competitors and the White House over how he amassed a fortune estimated to be as large as a quarter of a billion dollars, which makes Romney one of the wealthiest men ever to run for president.

The wealth of Nelson Rockefeller and Ross Perot was not an issue when they ran for president, but with an impeccable sense of timing for Romney’s opponents, the gaping chasm between the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans and the middle class has become a lightning rod issue first with the Occupy Wall Street protests and now with stories in the news media detailing how Romney, as CEO of Bain Capital, destroyed companies, which resulted in thousands of workers being laid off. That in itself is not necessary awful. Capitalism is not always a pretty sight, but what has Romney’s opponents on the attack is that Bain and its CEO made obscenely high profits on many of the plant closures.

Romney’s admission that he pay taxes at about a 15 percent rate and his refusal to release his tax returns, something that he has been consistent in doing even in 1994 when he ran for the Senate in Massachusetts and demanded that Teddy Kennedy make public his returns, has added fuel to the fire in highlighting the inherent unfairness of the tax code. He has thus far refused to release returns for earlier years.

The candidate now says that he may release his 2011 returns in April, surely after an army of accountants has sliced and diced his wealth in an effort to mute criticism, and he has flip-flopped almost daily on whether he would support ending a carried-interest tax loophole that allows him to pay taxes at a rate far lower than President Obama and most other Americans.

The controversy also is casting unwelcome attention on Romney’s affiliation with the Mormon Church.

Romney practices tithing, donating at least 10 percent of his income to the church that he deducts from his income. While the practice is entirely legal, some voters are biased against Mormons and the church has reaped more than $13 million over the last 15 years by selling shares in companies that Bain invested in.

Whether the charge that Romney’s critics are “liberals” will resonate with Republican voters, who on the whole have remained lukewarm to him, remains to be seen. And the controversy will eventually peak, possibly making it less of an issue when the election campaign shifts into high gear after Labor Day.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, polls are showing Newt Gingrich, closing the gap between he and Romney two days before the South Carolina primary, with one poll showing him in the lead. But the situation, as they say, is fluid.

The final Republican presidential debate in the state is tonight, while later in the evening ABC’s Nightline will air an interview with Marianne Gingrich, who was the victim of her ex-husband’s infidelities for six years.

Expect Gingrich to continue his attacks on Romney, which may gain additional traction with Rick Perry bowing out of the race, while excerpts from the Nightline interview seem like a rehash of what has long been known.

Marianne Gingrich says that her husband asked her to have an “open marriage” to continue an affair with a congressional aide, Callista Bisek, the woman who is his current wife.

“I said to him, ‘We’ve been married a long time,’ “Marianne Gingrich says in an excerpt from the interview released this morning. “And he said, ‘Yes but you want me all to yourself. Callista doesn’t care what I do.’ ”

Gingrich is desperate to siphon off as much of the conservative vote from Rick Santorum, who it turns out actually won the Iowa caucuses, as he can. He also is hoping that the endorsement of Rick Perry, who is returning to Texas where he can declare war on Turkey, will help, as well as his statement that he will ask Sarah Palin, who also has endorsed him, “to play a major role” in his administration.

Thank dog that will never come to pass.

27 Comments

  1. SM, thanks for your usual fair, balanced and honest reporting. It does contain some recycled inaccuracies so I feel free to recycle some of mine.
    Great, Shaun, if he doesn’t have enough filthy money (do you wash yours?)then he should get on more backs, some of which as was exposed got raises when Bain took over their business.

    The Leni Reifenstal mockumentary has now been lambasted as much as your article headlines; even Obama can’t recycle that turkey.
    SM also said: “he pays taxes at about a 15 percent rate, far lower than you and I”
    Well, I just got a 1099-DIv on a conservative GNMA fund that I use to pay my bills, and lo and behold I am paying 15% on dividends, and I’m not even a 1%er.

    BTW:and did Kennedy release his tax return?

    I don’t know, but Mitt seems to be a little embarrassed by his wealth, unlike Newt and many prior “rich” candidates. Is he guilty, or just sensitive? I leave that for other scribblers to ponder and possibly twist in a partisan way.

  2. dduck:

    Congrats on yet again reminding us about how a tax code that is patently unfair for most of us is working in your favor.

    You seem not to understand the core of the controversy over Romney’s wealth: It is not that he made a ton of money but that he made a ton of money destroying peoples lives and now he wants to run all of our lives.

    I would be interested in hearing your defense of this.

  3. Shaun, please provide a little bit of proof that he destroyed lives. When the government lays off people do you say that? How about newspapers, etc.
    You too can set up a GNMA mutual fund and not be accused of raping and pillaging which will probably be your next Mitt attack.

  4. dduck:

    One more try to get through to that willfully thick head.

    Of course I do not become upset with the government or a corporation that lays off people. In most instances those are regrettable facts of life.

    But what you fail to grasp is that Romney destroyed the lives of those in the When Mitt Romney Came To Town video and many others as is copiously documented in a Los Angeles Times investigation, among others.

    Link:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/na.....3872.story

    That is unfortunate in and of itself, but Romney destroyed lives in the service of becoming filthy rich. I consider that unacceptable, let alone unacceptable for a man who wants to be my president.

  5. If my head is thick, yours is impenetrable.
    You know that video was criticized and found to be be highly inaccurate, even Newt, the guy who has “no control” over the content, has asked that inaccuracies be disclosed. The people in the first segment got raises and were not laid off until the company was sold to someone else. http://online.wsj.com/article/.....51476.html
    As far as grasping, you are grasping to paint a picture of a corporate vampire, while the more rational among us sees a more nuanced character. Here’s a defense by a democrat, who happens to be in the money business:
    http://finance.fortune.cnn.com.....-and-bain/

    And., it’s an awful shame that our government destroyed the lives of those folks over at Solyndra.

    BTW: these guys get filthier rich when the businesses they “invest” in succeed.

  6. My God dduck you received a 1099-DIV? You must be not only a 1 percenter but more likely a .000001 percenter.

  7. DG, alas, only a 99%er, but one that understands that it is not smart to be stupid.

    As,Judge Learned Hand, said:
    “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as
    possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the
    treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes.
    Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister
    in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone
    does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any
    public duty to pay more than the law demands.”

  8. “nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands”

    which is why the 1% pay lobbyists to write legislation that their slave politicians then pass…both R and D.

    I don’t have a problem with Mitt or how he made his money. I have a problem with a system that continues to enable this sort of behavior to the point where it becomes destructive to society…and judging from what the financial industry crash has done to our country…it obviously has.

  9. SL, what “this sort of behavior”, he ran a business.

  10. yeah, and wrapping toxic mortgages into perfectly packagable financial mini-nucs is also considered “running a business”.

    not attacking Mitt or his business… I am attacking the destructive behavior in which the industry in which he worked is now involved.

  11. SL, Oh I get it now, he is part of an “industry” where destructive behavior occurred.
    Sort of like every other “industry”.

  12. Shaun- My beef with Romney is not that he’s filthy rich and considers 350K in speaking fees chump change. If he makes it into office his plan allows him to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for the middle class but keep them for the upper class and to also eliminate the estate tax. His plan actually increases the deficit while hurting the poor and middle class. In other words– increases inequality even further.
    I also suspect that he would continue corporate’s quest to crush American unions- creating jobs but low-paying ones like the ones he created at Staples. Mitt is also an adherent to the Ryan plan which even Newt was against before he was for it, LOL

  13. Really? Good points? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  14. dduck:

    Are you familiar with your cousin the Muscovy duck? They hiss a lot but can’t quack.

  15. “Marianne Gingrich says that her husband asked her to have an “open marriage” to continue an affair with a congressional aide, Callista Bisek, the woman who is his current wife.”

    So much for Newt Gingrich’s passionate support for and pledge to “defend” traditional marriage between one man and one woman: “As President, I will vigorously enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted under my leadership as Speaker of the House, and ensure compliance with its provisions…I will support sending a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to the states for ratification. I will also oppose any judicial, bureaucratic, or legislative effort to define marriage in any manner other than as between one man and one woman.”

    (Oh, I am sorry, Gingrich was referring to one man and one man/one woman and one woman, not to one man and two or more women — my misunderstanding))

  16. D. Duck: He’ll never learn. He refuses to.

    Meanwhile, Romney’s stash in the Caymans makes perfect sense as it shields assets from junk lawsuits, while regarding Bain Capital and the liberal (and Democratic) whining and ugly behavior and it:

    Bain gives more campaign money to Democrats than it does to Republicans

    http://thehill.com/homenews/se.....s-than-gop

    Ugly facts, they are… tissssk, tissssk

  17. SM, down to duck jokes, eh.

    Quack!

  18. Thanks, BJ……………..

  19. “Mitt seems to be a little embarrassed by his wealth”

    Funniest thing I’ve read all day. Not sure which Mitt you’ve been watching there, but I’m pretty sure he isn’t embarrassed by it one iota.

    Too bad the beneficiary of all this rightwing infighting is going to be Obama. All those who have been patiently waiting for him to quie diddling around and start providing some old fashioned democrat-like leadership might as well give up.

  20. “Sort of like every other “industry”.”

    Huh?

  21. “the liberal (and Democratic) whining and ugly behavior”

    That bit of prose really reminds me of someone. Has there been a resurrection?

  22. “the liberal (and Democratic) whining and ugly behavior”

    That bit of prose really reminds me of someone. Has there been a resurrection?

    Yes, it appears that good ol’ Logan nee Jason nee Jason™ has yet another nom de plume. I was going to wait for his copyrighted “you haters” but I think zephyr’s right.

    Ducks attacks on Shaun read like he’s being coached by D-L-S… Could it be that the right side of the room is getting a little nervous about their prospects in 2012?

  23. “Could it be that the right side of the room is getting a little nervous about their prospects in 2012?”

    I don’t know why they would, they’ll get what is in essence a republican president either way. That said, ODS is a separate phenomenon.

  24. I watched Marianne’s less than 15 minutes of fame tonight and must say that I was underwhelmed after all the big build-up in the press. Ok she established that he’s a very cruddy person but most people already knew that.

    At the end the interviewer brought up the fact that she had been caught up in an FBI sting when Newt was speaker- trying to peddle influence in a Paris hotel to the tune of 10 million. She was never charged– but she certainly did not seem like an innocent woman to me. Most likely her then husband called in a few favors.
    So, in essence, my impression is that Newt and Marianne are both amoral liars-and I felt like taking a hot shower afterwards!

  25. Yes, the recycling industry is quite destructive…if you are a plastic bottle.

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