NYT Editorial: After three days of Mitt Romney complaining about attacks on his record at Bain Capital, it’s clear that President Obama has nothing to apologize for. If Mr. Romney doesn’t want to provide real answers to the questions about his career, he had better develop a thicker skin.
Mr. Romney’s descriptions of when he left Bain have been erratic and self-serving …. now that Bain has been accused of helping other companies outsource jobs overseas, laying off steel company employees and wiping out their pensions, Mr. Romney says he had no management role after 1999. A Kansas City steel plant that Bain bought in 1993 under Mr. Romney’s control, for example, went bankrupt in 2001, costing 750 workers their jobs and pensions. After the Obama campaign made an ad featuring several of the angry workers, the Romney campaign said he couldn’t be blamed because he left Bain in 1999.
….. Mr. Obama’s criticism is fair…. The right way to respond to Mr. Obama is to release his tax returns from that period, or open up Bain documents. But Mr. Romney told CNN he would not release more than the one year’s return he has already released and the one for 2011 when it is finished. “That’s all that’s necessary for people to understand something about my finances,” he said. It’s not even close.
Charles Pierce: …. All weekend, the question arose: What could possibly be in those tax returns that is so goddamn awful that Romney — who is still, remember, no worse than 50-50 to win this thing — is fighting so hard to keep it secret? The more I think about it, the more I believe that this is the answer to that question.
There is nothing in those tax returns that is in any way illegal …. He is not fighting the release of these returns to keep us from finding out the dark secrets about how stupid-wealthy he and his family are. He is fighting the release of these returns because he doesn’t think he should have to release them.
….This isn’t stubbornness. That’s often an acquired trait. What this is, fundamentally, is contempt. Contempt for the process, and contempt for the people who make their living in that process, and contempt for the people whose lives depend on that process. There are rules for The Help with which Willard Romney never has had to abide, and he has no intention of starting now. My dear young fellow, this simply is not done.
USA Today: Good morning from The Oval, on a day when President Obama and his re-election team are taking the fight to Mitt Romney and, geographically at least, House Speaker John Boehner.
The campaign kicked off the day with a memorandum entitled “Unanswered Questions About Mitt Romney’s ‘Retroactive Retirement.’” It’s intended to create even more doubts about Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, which he either left in 1999 or 2002, depending on your interpretation.
…. Ben LaBolt:
While Romney has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Bain’s decisions after February 1999, he has also hypocritically taken credit for jobs created well after the 1999 end date that he cites. He can’t have it both ways.
If Romney followed decades of precedent set in motion by his father, who released 12 years of tax returns, as well as the minutes from Bain Capital board meetings, the American people could finally learn to what extent Mitt Romney was involved with the actions at Bain Capital following 1999.
This week, Mitt Romney has the opportunity to provide a full accounting of his tenure at Bain Capital, the central premise of his campaign and the opportunity to demonstrate whether or not he was the job creator he claims to be.
John Cassidy (New Yorker): …. With even prominent Republicans saying that his current stance is unsustainable, the obvious question to ask is: Why is the Mittster being so obstinate? He surely isn’t standing on principle, for what principle would that be?
…… It’s only fair to assume that Mitt is doing what he always does: acting on the basis of a careful cost-benefit analysis. Will’s comments on this were spot on: “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear,” he said. “Therefore, [Romney] must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” But what information could the earlier tax returns contain that would be so damaging if it were brought out into the open? Obviously, we are entering the realm of speculation, but Romney has invited it. Here are four possibilities:
1. Extremely high levels of income…..
2. More offshore accounts….
3. Politically explosive investments….
4. A very, very low tax rate….
….as Matthew Dowd noted, “there’s obviously something there, because if there was nothing there, he would say, ‘Have at it’”.
Bill Keller (NYT): On the subject of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare, to reclaim the name critics have made into a slur — a number of fallacies seem to be congealing into accepted wisdom. Much of this is the result of unrelenting Republican propaganda and right-wing punditry, but it has gone largely unchallenged by gun-shy Democrats. The result is that voters are confronted with slogans and side issues — “It’s a tax!” “No, it’s a penalty!” — rather than a reality-based discussion. Let’s unpack a few of the most persistent myths.
OBAMACARE IS A JOB-KILLER. …After years of trying out various alarmist falsehoods the Republicans have found one that seems, judging from the polls, to have connected with the fears of voters…..
OBAMACARE IS A FEDERAL TAKEOVER OF HEALTH INSURANCE. Let’s be blunt. The word for that is “lie.”…..
THE UNFETTERED MARKETPLACE IS A BETTER SOLUTION. To the extent there is a profound difference of principle anywhere in this debate, it lies here…..
LEAVE IT TO THE STATES. THEY’LL FIX IT. The Republican alternative to Obamacare consists in large part of letting each state do its own thing. Presumably the best ideas will go viral…..
OBAMACARE IS A LOSER. RUN AGAINST IT, RUN FROM IT, BUT FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE DON’T RUN ON IT. …Unfortunately, the benefits of Obamacare do not go wide until 2014, so there are not yet testimonials from enthusiastic, family-next-door beneficiaries. This helps explain why the bill has not won more popular affection. (It also explains why the Republicans are so desperate to kill it now, before Americans feel the abundant rewards.)
…. If the Obama campaign needs a snappy one-liner, it could borrow this one from David Cutler: “Never before in history has a candidate run for president with the idea that too many people have insurance coverage.”
President Barack Obama high fives a young boy outside an event in Palm Beach Garden, Fla., April 10, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama returns to the White House after a visit to Florida, April 10
**** 10:15 AM ET: President Obama delivers a statement on the Buffett Rule ****
EJ Dionne: Conservatives are not accustomed to being on the defensive. They have long experience with attacking the evils of the left and the abuses of activist judges. They love to assail “tax-and-spend liberals” without ever discussing who should be taxed or what government money is actually spent on. They expect their progressive opponents to be wimpy and apologetic.
So imagine the shock when President Obama decided last week to speak plainly about what a Supreme Court decision throwing out the health-care law would mean, and then landed straight shots against the Mitt Romney-supported Paul Ryan budget as “a Trojan horse,” “an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country,” and “thinly veiled social Darwinism.”
….. Romney pronounced himself appalled …. yet could neither defend the cuts nor deny the president’s list of particulars, based as they were on reasonable assumptions. When it came to the Ryan budget, Romney wanted to fuzz things up. But, as Obama likes to point out, math is math.
And when Obama went after the right’s willingness to use the power of the Supreme Court for ideological purposes, conservatives were aghast – and never mind that conservatives have been castigating activist judges since at least the 1968 presidential campaign….
Paul Krugman: Oh, boy. It turns out that the WaPo featured on its front page a report by Charles Blahous of the (yes, Koch-funded) Mercatus Center – although the Post describes him as a Medicare trustee, giving the impression that this is somehow an official document – claiming that the Affordable Care Act will actually increase the deficit. Jonathan Chait does the honors…..
….. this is basically a sick joke that doesn’t pass the laugh test. Unfortunately, it seems that some news organizations don’t have mandatory laugh-testing.
Steve Benen: ….. The problem, which the Post article didn’t mention, is that Blahous’ research falls apart under scrutiny. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Paul N. Van de Water easily dismissed the Republican’s report.
…. I can appreciate the fact that these budget figures can seem complex, but certainly a guy who worked on entitlement policy for Bush/Cheney should understand the basics here, and the basics tell us that Obama’s health care law helps lower the national debt. Whether the right finds this inconvenient or not is irrelevant.
ET can exclusively reveal that George Clooney is hosting a fundraiser for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign – but there’s one thing he won’t do to help the president.
Clooney tells ET, “I’m proud to do whatever I can to support the President… as long as no one asks me to sing.”
… Clooney will host the president and about 150 supporters at the event on May 10 at his home in Los Angeles, California …. tickets will run $40,000 each, with proceeds going to the Obama Victory fund, a joint fundraising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.