If you missed last night’s ABC debate, here is a round up courtesy of TPM.”
Last night the Republicans faced off for a 2-hour debate on ABC, and this morning is round 2 as they debate on NBC. Mitt Romney, the putative winner in Iowa and the projected winner of New Hampshire, is feeling the heat as he is being attacked from all side as the Suffolk University tracking poll shows his support dropping for the fourth day in a row.
“Taking two positions on every issue, one on the left and one of the right, doesn’t make you a centrist. It makes you a charlatan.”
— David Axelrod, in a conference call with reporters.
According to the Huffington Post, Romney’s first event in New Hampshire after the Iowa Caucus “offered a rude awakening”:
Three of the first four questioners were openly hostile to Romney, although one of them was an Occupy Manchester activist. And even the endorsement and appearance of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) failed to arouse much of a reaction from the Granite Staters in attendance… the tone of the event was a sharp break from the joyful mood that had accompanied the former Massachusetts governor onto a charter plane from Iowa earlier that morning, along with a swarm of press befitting a presidential frontrunner.
Romney’s Fast Shuffle on Tax Figures
FactCheck: In the post-debate analysis, the Annenberg Public Policy Center found Romney mangled facts in Manchester.
Romney, talking about taxes, said federal, state and local government consume 37% of the economy today compared with only 27% when John F. Kennedy was president. In fact, taxes now consume only 27.4% of GDP.
The Urban-Brooking Tax Policy Center has analyzed Mitt Romney’s tax plan. They “found that the plan constitutes a major tax cut for wealthy Americans. But compared to today’s rates, Romney proposes effective tax increases for people making less than $40,000.”
Meanwhile as April 15 approaches, Romney continues to refuse to make his tax returns public as is traditional for Presidential Candidates. Brian Beutler exposes Romney’s motivation for doing so:
One tax expert told TPM of “fairly sophisticated tax strategies” that would be “not available to ordinary tax payers.” A technique that puts you in a position that’s “like having an unlimited 401k account” sounds very attractive. But maybe not if you’re running for office, for Pete’s sake.
When Romney jokes that he’s been unemployed for years, he’s obscuring the fact that he’s still collecting millions of dollars of investment income, which is taxed at a much lower rate than it would be if he, like most taxpayers, took home a regular paycheck. He’s also obscuring the fact a great deal of that same income is only vaguely connected to his own underlying investments, and yet benefits from a key loophole in the tax code that allows him and other wealthy finance veterans to more than halve their effective tax rate.
Romney’s Dubious Jobs Claim, Again
“Mitt Romney, I think, is more of a job cremator than a job creator.”
— DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz
FactCheck continued its analysis of Romney’s job creation claims:
Romney repeated the claim that he created over 100,000 jobs through his work at the private equity firm Bain Capital. That’s an unproven and questionable claim, as we wrote earlier this week.
Romney said that 100,000 jobs was a “net-net” figure that included jobs gained and lost at more than 100 businesses in which Bain invested. When moderator George Stephanopoulos questioned that, saying analysts had said Romney hadn’t subtracted jobs lost, Romney responded, “no, it’s not accurate.” He said he was “a good enough numbers guy to make sure I got both sides of that.” But this week, the Romney campaign sent us as support for the claim a thin list of jobs gained at just three companies: Staples, The Sports Authority and Domino’s. No other companies were included in the list, and no jobs lost were mentioned, either. We have asked the campaign again for the detailed count that Romney said exists.
A former employee of Mitt Romney
Trailer for documentary by pro-Gingrich PAC
Romney: “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”
As for the three companies the campaign has cited, it’s true that they have added more than 100,000 jobs since Bain invested in them. But does Romney deserve credit for all of those jobs? He admitted at the debate tonight that the total includes jobs up until the present day, long after Bain’s initial involvement, and that other firms had invested in them as well. As we reported earlier, The Sports Authority was started with help from Bain, William Blair Venture Partners, Phillips-Smith and Marquette Venture Partners. William Blair and Bessemer Venture Partners invested in Staples. And both companies, of course, had founders and CEOs spearheading their launches.
Romney Spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom: Romney’s claimed 100,000 job figure was undercut by his own campaign as his spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom told the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler that these were gross job creations, and not net numbers which would have to include the people Romney laid off:
Fehrnstrom says the 100,000 figure stems from the growth in jobs from three companies that Romney helped to start or grow while at Bain Capital:
- Staples (a gain of 89,000 jobs),
- The Sports Authority (15,000 jobs), and
- Domino’s (7,900 jobs).
This tally obviously does not include job losses from other companies with which Bain Capital was involved — and are based on current employment figures, not the period when Romney worked at Bain. (Indeed, Romney made his comments in response to a former employee of American Pad & Paper Co. who says he lost his job after Bain Capital took it private.)
Contradictions about ads produced by pro-Romney PAC after the jump.