11:50: Delivers remarks at a campaign event at Farm Bureau Live, Virginia Beach
1:0: Departs Virginia Beach
2:10: Arrives the White House
First Lady Michelle Obama visits Chicago on Thursday to headline two fund-raisers and to debut on Steve Harvey’s new television show. Mrs Obama has funders at Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo’s Studio and at the home of business executive and Democratic donor Fred Eychaner.
GOPolitico “exclusively” showed this unaired 1994 ad on their site today, accompanied by an unusually truthful ‘hit piece’ about a Republican:
A company that laid off hundreds of employees. A federal “bailout” to rescue a failing bank. Mitt Romney, at the center of it all.
It’s a story line from a tough Democratic ad that was teed up for use against Romney in his 1994 Senate campaign in Massachusetts. The spot, which was provided exclusively to POLITICO, never actually aired. But it’s all but certain that some version of its allegations will surface in the GOP primary or the general election, if Romney makes it that far.
That ad would have been damaging had it appeared when it was produced nearly two decades ago. But it could take on new relevance in a 2012 campaign in which Romney is touting his business career as proof he can lead a national economic turnaround.
When Romney challenged Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994, it was his connection to those two companies that played a significant role in sinking his campaign as Democrats tied him to plant closings and worker firings.
In 2012, those familiar attacks from his past are likely to take on a new potency: Bain Capital’s involvement in mass layoffs is likely to haunt Romney in a campaign focused on jobs. Other episodes, such as the claims that Romney benefited from a federal bank rescue, could ignite anew.
… According to former Kennedy advisers, the ad never ran because it turned out to be unnecessary: Kennedy had already broken Romney with a series of ads tying him to layoffs in Indiana.
Love it. But it’s interesting that GOPolitico is going all out to sink Romney …. not conservative enough?
I see Romney’s campaign released a poster today (copied from a 1970’s campaign by Margaret friggin’ Thatcher) attacking the President’s jobs record …. oh Mitt, do you really want to go there?
New York Post (February 2011): ….Mitt Romney has been saying he is the man to get Americans back to work … However, the former private equity firm chief’s fortune – which has funded his political ambitions – was made on the backs of companies that ultimately collapsed, putting thousands of ordinary Americans out on the street.
That truth, if it becomes widely known, could become costly to Romney who told CNN’s Piers Morgan that “People in America want to know who can get 15 million people back to work,” implying he was that person.
Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital, bought companies and often increased short-term earnings so those businesses could then borrow enormous amounts of money. That borrowed money was used to pay Bain dividends. Then those businesses needed to maintain that high level of earnings to pay their debts.
….Bain and Goldman Sachs, for example, put $85 million down in a $415 million 1994 leveraged buyout of Baxter International’s medical testing division (renamed Dade Behring), which sold machines and reagents to labs … In August 2002, Dade filed for bankruptcy.
This was not an isolated case.
* Bain in 1988 put $5 million down to buy Stage Stores, and in the mid-’90s took it public, collecting $100 million from stock offerings. Stage filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
* Bain in 1992 bought American Pad & Paper (AMPAD), investing $5 million, and collected $100 million from dividends. The business filed for bankruptcy in 2000.
* Bain in 1993 invested $60 million when buying GS Industries, and received $65 million from dividends. GS filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
* Bain in 1997 invested $46 million when buying Details, and made $93 million from stock offerings. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2003.
Romney’s Bain invested 22 percent of the money it raised from 1987-95 in these five businesses, making a $578 million profit.
While I have not investigated all of Romney’s Bain investments and there may be cases where he made money and improved businesses, there’s little question he made a fortune from businesses he helped destroy.
Marketwatch: …. Romney was the governor of Massachusetts from January 2003 to January 2007. And during that time, according to the U.S. Labor Department, the state ranked 47th in the entire country in jobs growth. Fourth from last.
The only ones that did worse? Ohio, Michigan and Louisiana. In other words, two rustbelt states and another that lost its biggest city to a hurricane.
The Massachusetts jobs growth over that period, a pitiful 0.9%, badly lagged other high-skill, high-wage, knowledge economy states like New York (2.7%), California (4.7%) and North Carolina (7.6%). The national average: More than 5%.
….In Romney’s first year in charge, Massachusetts ranked dead last in America in jobs growth. What makes this worse for Romney is that he actually ran on a jobs platform …. he promised the voters of Massachusetts that as governor he’d use his business savvy and connections to bring new jobs to the state.
Net result: 50th out of 50 after one year, 47th after four.
Rick Ungar (Forbes): The first statistics are coming in and, to the surprise of a great many, Obamacare might just be working to bring health care to working Americans precisely as promised.
The major health insurance companies around the country are reporting a significant increase in small businesses offering health care benefits to their employees.
Why? Because the tax cut created in the new health care reform law providing small businesses with an incentive to give health benefits to employees is working.
….United Health Group, the nation’s largest health insurer, added 75,000 new customers working in businesses with fewer than 50 employees ….. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City reports an astounding 58% increase in the number of small businesses purchasing coverage in their area since April, 2010 – one month after the health care reform legislation became law.
“One of the biggest problems in the small-group market is affordability,” said Ron Rowe, who oversees small-group sales for the Kansas City operation for Blue Cross Blue Shied. “We looked at the tax credit and said, ‘this is perfect.” Rowe went on to say that 38% of the businesses it is signing up had not offered health benefits before.
Whatever your particular ideology, there is simply no denying that these statistics are incredibly heartening. However, for those of you who cannot get past your opposition, even for a moment of universal good news, let’s break it down.
The primary, most enduring complaint of the opponents of the ACA has been that the law is deathly bad for small business: Apparently, small businesses, and their employees, do not agree.
The next argument has been that the PPACA is a job killer: If these small businesses found the new law to be so onerous, why have so many of them voluntarily taken advantage of the benefits provided in the law to give their employees these benefits? They were not mandated to do so…
Of course, there is the nagging banter as to how Obamacare is leading us down the road to socialism: Let it go, folks.
Private market insurance companies are experiencing significant growth because of a tax break provided by the PPACA. I may have missed the day this was discussed in economics class, but I’m pretty sure this is not a socialistic result of federal legislation.
When data like this appears, we have the opportunity to really find out who is talking smack for political benefit and who actually cares about getting affordable and available health care to America’s workers … if you cannot celebrate what appears to be an important early success, you really should give some thought as to where your true interests and intents lie.
If you’re all about beating up on President Obama, you can conveniently forget this bit of data as if it never really happened. However, if your interest is to make health care available to more Americans, this should be a happy day for you – no matter what your ideological beliefs.
This is seriously wonderful news: Full article here
WH: Today, Bloomberg News reported that big insurance companies – companies like UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Cigna Corp – spent $86.2 million to fight health insurance reform in 2009. Insurance companies and their allies were desperate to preserve their ability to discriminate against you if you had a preexisting condition, drop your care when you got sick and limit the amount of care you could receive in a year or a lifetime.
Thankfully, they didn’t succeed, but some folks still want to take us back to the bad old days when insurance companies had all the power and doctors and patients took a back seat. In fact, the New York Times recently reported that since the law was passed, opponents of reform spent $108 million on negative television advertisements about the law. And these powerful interests may spend millions more opposing reform in the future.