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Think Progress

By Travis Waldron on May 20, 2012 at 12:36

The private equity firm co-founded by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney “fired a lot of people” to get “prosperity for the rich,” CNBC analyst Jim Cramer said during an appearance on Meet The Press this morning. During a panel discussion on the effectiveness of an ad from President Obama’s campaign highlighting Romney’s past at Bain Capital, which bankrupted nearly a quarter of the companies in which it invested while making billions of dollars, Cramer said the firm’s past earned Romney a reputation as a “job destroyer, not a creator.” Watch it:

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Politico

By ALEXANDER BURNS|

5/14/12 6:18 AM EDT

The Obama campaign’s 2-minute ad on Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital is record is out, and it is brutal.

Targeting Romney’s involvement in the acquistion of GST Steel, the commercial shows workers at a shuttered plant pinning Romney and Bain with the blame.

“They made as much money off it as they could and they closed it down, they filed for bankruptcy, without any concern for the families or the communities,” says Joe Soptic, a former steelworker. “It was like watching an old friend bleed to death.”

The spot directly contrasts the steelworkers’ testimonials with Romney’s words touting his business experience, showing the Republican saying “I know how business works. I know why jobs come and why they go” and “As I look around at the millions of Americans without work, it breaks my heart.”

There’s a longer version of the video at RomneyEconomics.com. Your move, Romney campaign …

UPDATED: In an email to reporters, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul called the ad an invitation to engage in a larger debate about jobs.

“We welcome the Obama campaign’s attempt to pivot back to jobs and a discussion of their failed record.  Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as Governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation,” she said. “President Obama has many questions to answer as to why his administration used the stimulus to reward wealthy campaign donors with taxpayer money for bad ideas like Solyndra, but 23 million Americans are still struggling to find jobs.  If the Obama administration was less concerned about pleasing their wealthy donors and more concerned about creating jobs, America would be much better off. ”

That’s at best a lateral response and doesn’t really take on the claims in the Bain ad directly. So the question is whether Romney will tackle the attack head-on at a later point or whether the hope is to sidestep that kind of debate as long as possible.

HERE

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WSJ

Updated March 28, 2012, 10:09 p.m. ET

By MARK MAREMONT

Just after Philippe Wells took a job in 1998 at Bain Capital, then run by Mitt Romney, he recalls hearing an unusual boast from a partner. The man’s individual retirement account had jumped tenfold in five years.

Mr. Wells soon learned how this was possible. Bain, like many other private-equity firms, allowed employees to co-invest in its takeover deals. This posed a risk they could lose their whole investment, as they sometimes did. But because of the firm’s success during the Romney era, employees ended up able to share in returns for Bain investors that averaged 50% to 80% annually.

Bain added a couple of unusual twists that made co-investing even more rewarding. It allowed employees to co-invest via tax-deferred retirement accounts, and to do so by buying a special share class that cost little but yielded much larger gains than other shares when deals proved successful, according to former employees and internal Bain documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal.

In one particularly successful deal, Bain increased the equity value of a company it had acquired by 36-fold in 20 months. But some Bain employees saw a 583-fold increase over the same period on IRA money they invested in the special share class of that company. Being in an IRA, the gain could then be rolled over, without initially subtracting taxes, into fresh Bain deals, for years of compounding.

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POLITICO

By GLENN  THRUSH | 3/14/12 6:38 PM EDT Updated: 3/15/12  12:39 PM EDT

Republicans had high hopes of eroding President Barack Obama’s dominance among Hispanic voters in 2012 — so  great was Latino frustration with Obama’s tough deportation policy and his  failure to fulfill the promesa of immigration reform.

Instead, with eight months to go before Election Day, Obama is on pace to match the 67 percent support he got from  Latino voters in 2008 — and the GOP may be undoing a decade of work to attract Hispanics,  thanks to its election-year rhetorical sprint to the right on immigration, a  charge led by front-runner Mitt Romney.

Romney — who needs to bolster his support among tea-party  conservatives — hasn’t merely embraced the controversial Alabama and Arizona  immigration laws, as most in his party have. He’s sought the advice of the  controversial co-author of the bills, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who  consults with the campaign as an unpaid adviser and whose endorsement has been  touted in conservative primary states such as South Carolina and Arizona.

More important, Romney has publicly espoused Kobach’s polarizing philosophy  of “self-deportation,” the idea of making life so inhospitable to illegal  immigrants they’ll flee rather than face legal proceedings.

Hispanics, a powerful bloc whose vote could decide the outcome in pivotal  states such as Nevada, Florida, Colorado and Arizona, seem to have responded by  abandoning Romney, with only 14 percent of Hispanic voters favoring him over  Obama in a recent Fox Latino poll — one-third of the Hispanic support George W.  Bush enjoyed in 2004.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74036.html#ixzz1pCywqoW2

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March 07, 2012 05:00 PM

Crooks and Liars- By karoli

Mitt Romney’s pathetic efforts to stain the President’s track record when it comes to foreign policy ring hollow and are actually dangerous, or could be. During his news conference yesterday, President Obama addressed Mitt Romney’s irresponsible comments about war with Iran in recent days. Here’s a sample:

“Yet, the current administration has promoted a policy of engagement with Iran,” he continued. “The president not only dawdled in opposing sanctions, he’s opposed them. Hope is not a foreign policy. The only thing respected by thugs and tyrants is our resolve, backed by our power and our readiness to use it.”

Earlier this week in Snellville, Georgia, Romney told an 11-year-old boy that the world would be one step closer to nuclear war if President Barack Obama was allowed another term in office.

“If Barack Obama gets re-elected, Iran will have a nuclear weapon and the world will change if that’s the case,” he said.

This follows on the heels of his irresponsible statements at the last debate about how he, and he alone, would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

President Obama had some choice words for him and any other Republican candidate who thinks war with Iran is a good idea.

OBAMA: At this stage, it is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically. That’s not just my view — that’s the view of our top intelligence officials, it’s the view of top Israeli intelligence officials. And as a consequence, we are going to continue to apply the pressure, even as we provide a door for the Iranian regime to walk through, where they could rejoin the community of nations, by giving assurances to the international community that they are meeting their obligations and they are not pursuing a nuclear weapon. That’s my track record.

Now, what’s said on the campaign trail, you know, those folks don’t have a lot of responsibilities. They’re not commander in chief. And when I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I’m reminded of the costs involved in war. I’m reminded of the decision that I have to make, in terms of sending our young men and women into battle, and the impacts that has on their lives, the impact it has on our national security, the impact it has on our economy.

This is not a game, and there’s nothing casual about it. And, you know, when I see some of these folks who had a lot of bluster and a lot of big talk, but when you actually ask them, specifically, what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we’ve been doing over the last three years. It indicates to me that that’s more about politics than actually trying to solve a difficult problem.

Now, the one thing that we have not done, is we haven’t launched a war. If some of these folks think that it’s time to launch a war, they should say so. and they should explain to the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be. Everything else is just talk.

It’s not just the President who thinks they’re being irresponsible with their “loose talk of war,” either. The former director of the Mossad spoke out, saying Romney is actually making the situation worse with Iran. The National Security Network has a roundup of other condemnations by highly respected current and former officials also condemning it, and reminding people that war is not “another applause line.”

Doesn’t the Republican drumbeat for war with Iran feel a lot like the drumbeat for war with Iraq back in 2003? It does to me, and so let me just remind readers and casual visitors alike that there is no evidence of Iran actually having a nuclear weapon. Further, Iran has agreed to restart talks with the world community and agreed in principle to allow nuclear inspectors to visit the Parchin site. Saying so doesn’t make it so, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

It frustrates me to see Republicans warmonger to create a campaign wedge, but I don’t understand why they think they’ll succeed. This is a war-weary nation and support for another war is almost nil. What do they think they gain with this kind of “loose talk”?

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The Huffington Post | By
Posted: 03/02/12 02:56 PM ET

The Obama campaign has started a petition aimed at forcing Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch, to release its donor lists to the public, proving the group’s claim of running a grassroots-supported organization.

This latest move by the campaign is part of an ongoing battle between the Obama team and the Koch brothers.

In late February an email to Obama supporters described Americans for Prosperity as a “front group” and accused the Koch brothers of making millions by “jacking up prices at the pump.” The email also claimed the Koch brothers have committed $200 million to destroying Obama before the November election.

Phillip Ellender, president of government and public affairs for Koch Industries, responded to the email with a letter addressed to Jim Messina, campaign manager for Obama’s re-election efforts, disputing the accusations.

“We own no gasoline stations and the part of our business you allude to, oil and gas refining, actually lowers the price of gasoline by increasing supply. Either you simply misunderstand the way commodities markets work or you are misleading your supporters and the rest of the American people,” Ellender wrote.

The letter goes on to defend the organization as not being funded exclusively by the Koch brothers. “Rather it has tens of thousands of members and contributors from across the country and from all walks of life,” the letter stated.

As the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, Messina responded directly to Ellender’s letter, in which he scolded the Koch brothers’ companies and organizations.

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Gawker-  By Mobutu Sese Seko

Feb 23, 2012  2:05 PM

The after effects of the Citizens United ruling shouldn’t shock anyone. Corporations were granted the ability to spend ungodly sums on campaigns, and guess what they’re doing?

They’re spending ungodly sums on campaigns.

There is one byproduct of this mess, though, that is unintentionally fun to observe: Americans get to watch billionaires hijack the election process like a bunch of shit-hammered uncles blindly destroying a pious family gathering we wanted to skip in the first place.

Currently, just five donors are controlling 25 percent of funds pouring into GOP super PACs. In the last week alone, faux cowboy Foster Friess made Rick Santorum’s “aaaiiiigh! intercourse!” campaign about aspirin and women’s knees, island builder Peter Thiel came to Ron Paul’s aid by upping his investment to $2.6 million, Sheldon Adelson gave Newt Gingrich another $10 million, and we learned that Mitt “I Like to Fire People” Romney has a huge backer in Frank “I Like to Sue Blogs out of Existence” VanderSloot.

(We won’t talk about VanderSloot here—because he likes to sue blogs out of existence—except to say that he looks like Alternate Universe Dick Cheney‘s opening-credits photo from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. He’s the one who knows about wine and shaving brushes.)

In years past, we would never have met these guys. Even as far back as 2000, if you wanted to be a billionaire who ran a campaign, you actually had to be the one campaigning. Ross Perot set the standard in 1992, opening the door for men like Steve Forbes.

Forbes, unfortunately, demonstrated how troublesome rich-guy candidacy could be: Namely, he proved that being rich is proof of nothing other than being rich (his major life accomplishment was emerging from Malcolm Forbes’ wife), and wanting to keep being rich is a shitty platform for the 270 million-plus Americans who are not. In later years, we came to think of Forbes as “the creepy version of Rory Gilmore’s grandpa from The Gilmore Girls,” but in 1996 and 2000, it was obvious why he steered any question back to the need for a flat tax. That stuck out. Herman Cain perfected this failing greedheaded tax formula by replying, “Nine, nine, nine…” endlessly on the stump, like he was going through some celestial voicemail, begging for an operator to come on the line and tell him what Libya is.

What Citizens United has done, however, is create a formula for actual campaign surrogacy. Billionaires with two ideas (“I want to keep being a billionaire!” and “Something else!”) can remit funds to the person whose job it is to have all the other ideas. It’s great fun. We’re lucky to get the chance to meet these guys.

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