In a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of swing states, an overwhelming majority of voters remember seeing campaign ads over the past month; most voters in other states say they haven't. In the battlegrounds, one in 12 say the commercials have changed their minds about President Obama or Republican Mitt Romney â€” a difference on the margins, but one that could prove crucial in a close race.
At this point, Obama is the clear winner in the ad wars. Among swing-state voters who say the ads have changed their minds about a candidate, rather than just confirmed what they already thought, 76% now support the president, vs. 16% favoring Romney.
Charlie Cook and Washington establishment miss the point of Bain attack ads
Charlie Cook, a font of Washington wisdom whom I respect, has followed in behind the new meme that the Obama Campaign's attack on Romney's business record and personal finances amount to a personal attack, rather than one on policy grounds.
Quote:It isnâ€™t clear when the Romney campaign plans to introduce its candidate to the voters, to have his sons talk about their Dad, or to have Ann Romney talk about her husband. Maybe they plan to hold off until the convention. But if I were running, every day that undecided and independent voters in swing states were getting pounded with ads portraying me as an awful person, Iâ€™d think I would want some testimony to contradict it. Iâ€™d want to have someone telling those voters what kind of person I am and why I am worthy of their support. But what do I know?
I beg to differ with that bit I bolded.
The reason this is business, not personal, is because Mitt Romney says that it is his experience as a businessman that justifies his election and policies, whatever they are. Mitt Romney isn't out touting any idea or policy prescription for the economy beyond a number of typical Republican talking points about big government, etc. etc. His main argument is that President Obama doesn't understand the economy, and that by way of his personal success in leveraged buyouts, he does. He is offering himself, not his policies, as the prescription for what ails the country. Mitt Romney doesn't talk policy. Mitt Romney is the policy.
Therefore, it is only fitting to vet Mitt Romney. Thoroughly. That is exactly what the Obama Campaign is doing. It would be political malpractice to do otherwise. It is a disservice to the country for the media to do otherwise.
For example, Mitt Romney says he knows what to do about taxes. What exactly does he propose to do about them? Consider the famed carried interest loophole. Mitt Romney says he isn't in favor of raising any taxes, including closing the carried interest loophole, which he himself benefits from significantly. He has been squishy about where he stands on it and offers no real definitive position on the matter. He also rejected the proposition when asked would he accept any deal with Democrats that provides a ten to one ratio of spending cuts to tax increases to control the deficit. Therefore, it only stands to reason that Romney will only cut spending. But he has also pledged that he will increase Defense spending significantly but declined to provide any detail about paying for it. These things can't possibly add up. But does Mitt Romney talk about these things out on the trail? No. Does he offer them up as a policy that will make the economy grow? No. So what is his point exactly? Who knows. His basic position is "trust me." Whenever he's asked, he simply returns to the mantra that the president has failed and he knows what to do because he's a rich businessman. One can't have a policy debate with a feather. We need to see weight. If he wants the American people to just trust him on these things and pay no attention to the details, then it is worth finding out if he's trustworthy. Thus, we need to see his tax returns and business documents. We need to examine all facets of his business record. He invites this with his plea for trust.
On every single major issue, be it creating jobs, immigration, healthcare, foreign policy, trade with China, you name it...Mitt Romney doesn't have a solution he's running on. He's simply saying "i'm not Obama...trust me." That's not going to cut it. That's why he's losing ground in the swing states.
Mitt Romney is making his own bed. He is the one lying, both literally and figuratively, in it. If his policy prescription is himself, then attacking him is by definition attacking his policies. A thorough examination of his policy (himself) is just business, not personal. However, if Mitt Romney wishes to have a serious policy debate and doesn't want any more talk about his business background and personal trustworthiness, then he should lay some serious policies on the table and run on them.
6:06 AM PT: BTW, I also take issue with the idea that simply sending Mitt's family out to say what a great guy he is will fix his Bain and tax problems. That should be obvious to a guy as smart as Charlie Cook.
Why rush in and give responses right now? What's the rush? Do you really think swing voters are going to decide NOW on whom to vote for in 4 months?
Government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time.
Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firmâ€™s â€śsole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.â€ť
Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romneyâ€™s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain â€śexecutiveâ€ť in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.
The timing of Romneyâ€™s departure from Bain is a key point of contention because he has said his resignation in February 1999 meant he was not responsible for Bain Capital companies that went bankrupt or laid off workers after that date.
Contradictions concerning the length of Romneyâ€™s tenure at Bain Capital add to the uncertainty and questions about his finances. Bain is the primary source of Romneyâ€™s wealth, which is estimated to be more than $25o million. But how his wealth has been invested, especially in a variety of Bain partnerships and other investment vehicles, remains difficult to decipher because of a lack of transparency.
The Obama campaign and other Democrats have raised questions about his unwillingness to release tax returns filed before 2010; his offshore assets, which include investment entities based in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands and a recently closed bank account in Switzerland; and a set of â€śblind trustsâ€ť that meet the Massachusetts standards for public officials but not the more rigorous bar set by the federal government.
Romney did not finalize a severance agreement with Bain until 2002, a 10-year deal with undisclosed terms that was retroactive to 1999. It expired in 2009.