Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Romney is not a felon

It’s time for all of Mitt Romney’s supporters to stop criticizing President Barack Obama for calling Romney a felon. Neither Obama nor his campaign team have ever called Romney a felon. In fact, I doubt Obama even privately thinks that Romney is a felon.

The issue stems from Romney filing forms with the SEC on behalf of Bain Capital that state Romney was the CEO, president, and managing director of Bain in 2002. Yet Romney has claimed during his current campaign for president that he was not actively involved in the business matters of Bain Capital after 1999. The two claims seem to be contradictory.

In response, Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter told reporters, “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the American people to avoid responsibility for some of the consequences of his investments.” Yes, Cutter did use the word “felony” but look at it in context.

This is an either-or statement. It doesn’t say that Romney is a felon. It says he’s either a felon or he misrepresented his position at Bain to the American people -- one of the two but not both. When Obama tweeted that “if you don’t buy Mitt Romney’s excuse that he 'retroactively retired' from his buyout firm, you’re not alone,” he made it clear he believes it’s actually the latter. But misrepresenting yourself to the American people is not a crime.

Obama is making the claim that Bain outsourced American jobs to foreign countries under Romney’s stewardship. But this activity occurred predominantly after 1999, so it’s in Obama’s best interests politically for the 2002 SEC filings to be factual, not fraudulent. He wants to make the case that Romney had executive authority over Bain when it was offshoring jobs, so Obama and his supporters want the electorate to believe the SEC filings’ statement that Romney was the CEO at that time.