People are focusing too much on "was-he-or-wasn't-he" at Bain. The question behind the question is whether or not it's appropriate to hold Romney responsible for what happened there post-1999. And obviously it is. If Obama ran an ad that said, "Bain destroyed jobs in 2001, Romney owned Bain, we hold him responsible," that ad would surely pass the fact checkers, I would hope. (And yet, that hypothetical ad is hardly any different than the one they ran.)
Did Bain destroy jobs? Check. Did Romney own Bain? Check. Do we hold him responsible? Check. It's all true.
It's subtle rewording of the same basic message in a way that clears the controversy.
The element to this that everyone seems to be missing is whether or not Romney supports what happened at Bain after 1999. He was still officially the top guy, with all the inherent authority, regardless of whether or not he was on the conference calls.
So here are some questions Romney needs to be asked:
Did he approve of the decisions being made at Bain post 1999? Even in retrospect? Would he have done anything differently had he been more involved? Does he wish he had been more involved so he could have prevented all those layoffs?
Do you believe the owner of a company is ultimately responsible for its actions?
Whatever happened to that great Republican value of personal responsibility? It is so incredibly craven and cowardly for Romney to be trying to dissociate himself from a company he fully owned. Is this the kind of president he's going to be? One that ducks responsibility?
He really needs to be hammered on this.