Did Mitt Romney run Bain after 1999? Will voters care if he did? (+video)
The Obama team may believe that keeping the focus on Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain serves to remind voters of his venture capital past. But evidence is scant that voters are swayed by this line of attack.
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“None of the SEC filings show that Romney was anything but a passive, absentee owner during that time, as both Romney and Bain have long said,” writes Jackson. “It should not surprise anyone that Romney retained certain titles while he was working out the final disposition of his ownership.”Skip to next paragraph
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
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Does this mean the White House will have to abandon this line of attack? Ha! Haven’t paid much attention to this election cycle, have you?
The Obama team may believe that forcing Romney to explain why he wasn’t running Bain after 1999 is almost as good as actually proving that he was running Bain after 1999. That’s because every day the word “Bain” shows up in headlines, it reminds voters of Romney’s venture capital past – and it’s a day when job loss numbers didn’t dominate the national political conversation.
“Sure, Romney’s name appeared on Bain’s SEC filings. But he didn’t make Bain’s decisions. He only benefited financially from them,” writes Slate political blogger David Weigel. “Now you see why the Obama campaign thinks it can drag this out over weeks and months.”
But here’s the not-little-secret about the 2012 campaign: So far, the daily stuff doesn’t seem to matter. Bain, bad job reports, the US Supreme Court decision on health care, Mr. Obama’s comment that the private-sector economy is “doing fine” – there’s little evidence any of that has moved the polls one iota, according to Sean Trende, RealClearPolitics senior election analyst.
Since the end of the Republican primary season, virtually all major polls of registered voters have shown Obama slightly ahead of the presumptive GOP nominee. Virtually all surveys of likely voters have the candidates in a dead heat.
“This is a long way of pointing out that the various events in the campaign that journalists have focused on ... have done almost nothing to move this race,” writes Mr. Trende.
Obama’s attacks on Romney haven’t been able disqualify the former Massachusetts governor for the presidency in the minds of voters – particularly white working-class voters, a group for whom Obama holds little appeal. Meanwhile, Romney’s focus on job losses has ignored the fact that the economy isn’t terrible. It isn’t good, but it isn’t horrendous at this point, either.
“Overall, we just haven’t seen the type of event that would cause this campaign to break open one way or the other. If I had to bet, given the overall dynamics of the campaigns, I’d say we won’t see much net movement until the end,” writes Trende.