Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he had no active role in Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, after he exited in February 1999 to take over Salt Lake City's Winter Olympics bid. But according to Bain associates and others familiar with Romney's actions at the time, he stayed in regular contact with his partners over the following months, tending to his partnership interests and negotiating his separation from the company.With AP joining the Washington Post's Glenn Kessler among the fact-checkers who are now refuting Romney's Bain departure claim, Romney is going to have a more difficult time ignoring questions about the soft underbully of his tenure at the firm.
Of the 10 most profitable deals that Romney struck while at Bain, four ended up with companies in bankruptcy and workers being laid off. Those four companies represented more than $500 million in profit to Bain—nearly 40 percent of the profits from their top 10 deals—and they illustrate Romney's ruthless "heads I win, tails you lose" business philosophy. Instead of defending his role in those deals, Romney has argued that he wasn't responsible for them because he had already left for the Olympics.
For much of the campaign, Romney has been able to get away with that explanation, but reporting by Mother Jones, Talking Points Memo, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and others have debunked his excuse. And now that AP has joined the debunkers, it's safe to assume Mitt Romney is feeling some additional pressure to come up with another excuse to avoid taking responsibility for his actions. Retroactively, if possible.
10:00 AM PT: Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt has released a statement on the AP story:
“Governor Romney has stated flatly that he left Bain Capital in 1999, but an Associated Press report today makes clear he did not leave when he says he did. Not only did he remain CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board, but he continued to attend meetings with his partners. Additionally, he personally signed off on financial documents, including one for DDI, a company that went bankrupt and laid off workers after Bain loaded it up with debt. Mitt Romney’s explanations about his continued involvement at Bain have shifted all over the place. But what hasn’t changed is his unwillingness to take any responsibility for the American jobs that were outsourced and lost under his leadership, both before and after 1999.”The DDi deal is of particular importance because it was Romney's 8th biggest deal at Bain and he and the firm made all their money on it at the the same time that DDI was laying off hundreds of workers and stiffing creditors as it tumbled into bankruptcy.