Brad DeLong nails the idiotic attempt to claim Mitt isn't lying when he claims to have retired from Bain in 1999:
It would be very unusual for somebody to have the titles of not just "CEO" but "President", "Chairman of the Board" and be "sole stockholder" and to have no responsibilities whatsoever. In fact, I defy Glenn Kessler to come up with any example of anybody anywhere--save for Mitt Romney--who has been characterized to the SEC as "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" and also claimed to have no responsibilities whatsoever and to have merely been a passive investor.But the Romney campaign is continuing in post-truth mode. Demanding retractions from those that dare to suggest that either Mitt must have been lying when he claimed to still be working at Bain in 2002, or he must by lying now when he claims to have retired in 1999 (he made both claims in federal documents that require the truth, under penalty of law).
While the political strategists seem to think this is genius, I think the average voter can tell when a politician is desperate to change the subject after being caught in a lie. Take his CBS interview Friday:
JAN CRAWFORD: Governor Romney, the Obama campaign is saying that you either committed a felony by lying to the SEC or you are lying to the American people about when you left Bain capital. What do you say to that?Crawford tries repeatedly to get a straight answer out of Romney without success:
GOV. MITT ROMNEY: Well, I think this kind of statement from the Obama team is really shocking, it's, it's ridiculous, and it's beneath the dignity of the presidency. Look we just had a report come out that millions of Americans remain unemployed. [Ignores question completely]
GOV. ROMNEY: I was the owner of a, of the general partnership but there were investors which included pension funds and various entities of all kinds that owned the, if you will, the investments of the firm. But I was the owner of an entity which was a management entity. That entity was one which I had ownership of until the time of the retirement program was put in place. But I had no responsibility whatsoever after February of '99 for the management or ownership - management, rather, of Bain Capital.Now this might appear to be a vigorous denial on camera, but what has Romney actually said? All he denies is having 'responsibility for the management' of Bain. He's splitting hairs. Romney was the sole shareholder, so the only person he would be 'responsible' to was himself.
What Romney is deliberately obscuring is the fact that since he was never replaced as CEO of the partnership, he remained an executive officer of the partnership and every other executive officer of the partnership remained responsible to him.
What matters to most voters is not whether a politician's statements are the literal truth but whether they can trust him. Voters don't find a prevaricator any more trustworthy than a liar.
Romney has already defined himself as a man who changes his policy positions as often as his neckties. Now he's defining himself with the voters as someone who is economical with the truth. And that won't win him many votes.