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It's not news that the Romney campaign was trying to deflect blame from Mitt Romney's role in Sensata Technologies sending 170 jobs from Illinois to China by focusing on President Barack Obama's pension from his time as an Illinois state senator. But it's hard to believe Romney believed this was going to be a winning debate moment:
GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Yes, just going to make a point. Any investments I have over the last eight years have been managed by a blind trust. And I understand they do include investments outside the United States, including in Chinese companies.

Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?


GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Have you looked at your pension?

THE PRESIDENT: I’ve got to say -- Candy --

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Mr. President, have you looked at your pension?

THE PRESIDENT: You know, I don’t look at my pension. It’s not as big as yours so it doesn’t take as long. (Laughter.)

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Let me give you some advice.

THE PRESIDENT: I don’t check it that often.

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Look at your pension. You also have investments in Chinese companies. You also have investments outside the United States. You also have investments through a Cayman’s trust.

First off, Mitt Romney's financial arrangements do not actually count as a blind trust. Were he elected president, he would have to completely change how his money is managed, because presidents need actual blind trusts (if they're not going to disclose much, much more about their finances than Romney would ever do) and that's not what he has. Blind trusts are managed by financial institutions that have not done business with the person whose money they manage. Romney's money is managed by his personal lawyer.

Secondly, President Obama's pension? Really? That's a pension from two jobs ago, worth between $50,001 and $100,000, which Obama cannot collect until he's 62 and in which he's one of hundreds of participants. He has no say—none—over how that money is invested, any more than any other person with a defined benefit pension gets to tell their former employer's pension fund how to invest. If this is not the definition of a bullshit political distraction, I don't know what is.

If Romney was trying to defend himself on his Chinese investments and especially on Sensata, he only managed to look defensive. What he succeeded in doing here was looking evasive on the subject he was supposed to be talking about (immigration), looking like a petty dick, and letting Obama call attention to his vast wealth. But who knows—given that he was supposed to be talking about immigration, maybe this distraction was preferable to his other options.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 09:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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