'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Thursday, July 12, 2012
Read the transcript to the Thursday show
Guests: Krystal Ball, Alex Wagner, Richard Wolffe, Steve Kornacki, Callum Borchers, Roberta Karmel, Krystal Ball; Steve Kornacki; Richard Wolffe; David Corn
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST: Mitt Romney has told more lies than any
presidential campaigner I`ve ever seen, and he`s been caught at more lies
than any presidential campaigner I`ve ever seen, including another big one
And so what did Romney decide to do after one of his biggest lies got
exposed? He calls President Obama a liar. And so tonight, this entire
program, every word of THE LAST WORD will be about the lies of Mitt Romney.
Oh, and have I mentioned that his first name isn`t really Mitt?
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe this
election will come down to character, conviction, and vision.
ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST: The Obama campaign isn`t giving up on its
narrative that Governor Romney is a secretive rich guy.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bonjour, je m`appelle Mitt
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Boston Globe" is reporting today --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: New claims over Mitt Romney`s record.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Following up on reporting that "Mother Jones`"
David Corn already did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney did not actually leave Bain Capital when he
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Was he legally liable for jobs sent
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A bit of a pickle from the Romney campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Team Romney denying a report in "The Boston
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Governor Romney
will have to defend what he did at Bain.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: He`s going to have to face up to this.
BIDEN: I believe this election will come down to character,
conviction and vision.
ROMNEY: I`ve got broad shoulders. I`m able to handle it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a question about his credibility.
RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You just don`t have
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And his truthfulness.
GINGRICH: They apparently looted the companies.
PERRY: There`s a real difference between venture capitalism and
SANTORUM: He`s the worst Republican in the country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a lot of secrecy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Romney campaign is taking on some water.
ROMNEY: I`ve got broad shoulders. I`m able to handle it.
BIDEN: I believe this election will come down to character,
conviction and vision. And I don`t think it`s even a close call.
O`DONNELL: Willard M. Romney`s hometown newspaper rocked the
presidential campaign this morning with a page one headline saying, "Mitt
Romney stayed at Bain Capital for three years longer than he said he did."
"The Boston Globe" reports that Bain Capital continued to list Mitt
Romney as the firm`s sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief
executive officer, and president for three years after Mitt Romney claims
he left Bain. The date Romney left Bain is the linchpin of his entire
defense against the Obama campaign`s attacks on Romney as a pioneer of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m Barack Obama and I
approve this message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY AD: President Romney`s first 100 days, creating thousands of
new jobs to Virginians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: But would he? "The Washington Post" has just revealed that
Romney`s companies were pioneers of shipping U.S. jobs overseas. Investing
in firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to
new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India. Does Virginia
really want an outsourcer in chief in the White House?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Mitt Romney, who gleefully sends his money offshore to
Switzerland and the Cayman Islands claims he would never send jobs
offshore. Had nothing to do with sending jobs offshore because he was no
longer at Bain when they became the pioneers of outsourcing -- the proud
pioneers of outsourcing.
And today, the Romney campaign decided to fight the Obama campaign
charges of outsourcing with an ad saying basically that President Obama,
once again, I know you are, but what I am?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I`m Mitt Romney and I approve this message.
NARRATOR: When a president doesn`t tell the truth, how can we trust
him to lead? The Obama outsourcing attacks -- misleading, unfair and
untrue. There was no evidence that Mitt Romney shipped jobs overseas.
Candidate Obama lied about Hillary Clinton.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So shame on you,
NARRATOR: But America expects more from a president. Obama`s
dishonest campaign, another reason America has lost confidence in Barack
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: On a Romney campaign conference call on Monday, they told
the press this was coming. The staff said they were fed up with the
outsourcing attacks on Romney and planned to go on TV to call the president
And as we`ve just seen, they chose to call the president a liar by
hiding between Hillary Clinton in the 2008 campaign who never said the
president lied. What Hillary Clinton was talking about in that clip, in
the Romney ad is the political argument she was then having with candidate
Obama over, of all things, the individual mandate in her health care reform
At that time, candidate Obama disagreed with Hillary Clinton and Mitt
Romney on the need for an individual mandate and since then, of course,
President Obama adopted the Romney/Clinton mandate as part of his own
approach to health care reform.
Joining me now is Cal Borchers, one of the "Boston Globe" reporters
who wrote this story today, and for the hour, we`re joined by MSNBC`s Alex
Wagner, Krystal Ball, Steve Kornacki and Richard Wolffe.
Cal, tell us what you found about Mitt Romney`s exit date from Bain.
CALLUM BORCHERS, BOSTON GLOBE: Well, what we found, Lawrence, is that
the documents that Mitt Romney filed with the state ethics commission here
in Massachusetts, combined with some SEC filings by Bain Capital put him as
you noted as the sole stockholder, chairman of the board, 100 percent
owner, president, CEO, et cetera of Bain Capital, all the way up until
2002, which is quite a bit later than his stated exit date of February of
O`DONNELL: And, Cal, one of the things in the filings indicate he was
getting a salary from Bain and the brackets that are indicated on that form
simply indicate that the salary was above $100,000. Do you have any idea
what the salary actually was?
BORCHERS: We don`t, Lawrence. You`re only required to report a
range, so it says $100,000. It could be any amount beyond that. We know
it was more than that in total coming in from Bain, because this is
separate from the capital gains he earned on the investments that he had
through Bain. Those are passive investments. That`s been the contention
that he has.
But what`s interesting is that money, the $100,000 at least that came
in was for being an executive at Bain. That was in 2001 and 2002.
And those are not noted as passive. So that`s a big distinction to
O`DONNELL: Yes, the executive salary is for doing a job. Alex
WAGNER: Cal, I wonder, you know, there seems to be two things in
play. One thing is the issue of Mitt Romney`s integrity and whether or not
he`s misled the American people.
But the other, of course, is the SEC. I mean, if Mitt Romney is
misleading the SEC in terms of his involvement with the company, what are
the repercussion there is? I mean, could this be a criminal charge?
BORCHERS: I`m told that`s not likely, Alex, at least not with the
SEC. I`m not an attorney, to I`ll leave it to them.
But one thing you might hear from Roberta Karmel in the next segment
and I chatted with her yesterday is that if an investor looks at those SEC
filings and see Mitt Romney on there as the man in charge, and they know
his reputation as a very good private equity fund manager. Let`s say they
invest because they have confidence in Mitt Romney.
And they learn after the fact he had nothing to do with what was going
on at Bain Capital at the time, they might be upset with that. They might
feel as they were sort of defrauded in a way and it could be the source of
a civil suit against Mitt Romney. So that would not be of a criminal
nature, but it certainly could get him in trouble.
The flip side of that would be possible problems with what he told the
Office of Government Ethics on the June 1st filing he filed just this year
in which he stated he left Bain Capital in February of 1999. If some
evidence emerges that he was indeed active after February of `99, that
could mean that he made a false statement to OGE and that could possibly
have criminal implications.
But it`s important to note, there`s no firm evidence of that just yet,
so we want to be cautious before we make any, you know, really serious
allegations like that.
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Cal, there is an intriguing
quote in your story from an anonymous Romney adviser, trying to reconcile
the public position of the campaign that Romney was some kind of inactive
manager with these statements that he was CEO and president and chairman
and everything else. The quote says something like, this doesn`t really
square with common sense.
Now, that seems to me a huge admission. When you were having these
conversations, and I understand this was with an anonymous Romney adviser.
But was the tone there, you got us here? Was the tone there there`s
something that I cannot fully explain to you because it`s stuff we need to
keep back? Or can you sort of flesh that out a bit more for us?
BORCHERS: Sure. No, the tone was a got you. It was in the context
of pointing out that look, obviously, the documents say what they say and
the Romney campaign is not disputing the veracity of these documents.
So, the official was pointing out that look, the documents indicate
that he was the man in charge, but that wasn`t actually the case and that
doesn`t seem to square with common sense.
The argument is that there were some Bain Capital entities that were
formed before February of `99. It would have been some hassle we`re told
to restructure those business entities after the fact. So Mitt Romney was
just asked to continue to sign some documents on their behalf after that
for the sake of convenience. It would also show stability.
The problem with that explanation, however, is we found five Bain
Capital business entities that were not incorporated until January of 2002
and those are mentioned in SEC filings as also being under Mitt Romney`s
managerial control. And so, the so-called legacy signatory issues that
might apply to earlier documents could not possibly apply to these later
STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: You know, I`m just thinking here about
Mitt Romney sort of political and business career tracks and trying to
figure out why -- what motive he would have had to list this for those
three years. What`s occurring to me is, you know, he ran for the Senate in
Massachusetts in 1994, went back to Bain after losing then went to do --
O`DONNELL: At that point he claims to take a leave of absence from
Bain for that campaign. Never did anything formal.
KORNACKI: But returned afterwards but had the political ambition,
then goes after the Olympics in 1999. And we think of the story about the
Olympics ended and he went and ran for governor of Massachusetts. The
thing that strikes me is the opportunity to run for governor in
Massachusetts really did not come up to the end of that Olympic tenure,
because there was a Republican governor. There was Cellucci and then it
was Jane Swift. And Jane Swift didn`t implode until the final few months
of the Olympics.
So, I`m wondering, I ask Cal, you know -- your impression that
Romney`s plan or his intention, or at least the option he wanted was to
just finish the Olympics and come back to Bain and wait until some point
indeterminate future and run for office?
BORCHERS: Yes. In fact, that`s not my impression, to be honest with
you. It was stated by Mitt Romney in 2002. It was sort of a lost
footnote, but when Romney ran for governor in 2002, there was some question
whether he was eligible to hold the office, because he had been living and
working in Utah for a few years.
And so, when he testified before the state ballot commission that was
going to make that determination, one of the defenses he used was that he
had taken a leave of absence from Bain Capital and that he intended to
return after the Olympics. Those are his words, that`s not an
So obviously that didn`t end up being the case. He never went back to
Bain. He ended up running for governor instead.
But as late as 2002, he was asserting this was a leave of absence.
And we have him also telling us that he had plans to come back.
O`DONNELL: And, Cal, was he filing Massachusetts tax returns when he
was running the Olympics?
BORCHERS: He was filing out of Utah at the time. That was one of the
reasons why there was some dispute whether he should be allowed to run for
governor in Massachusetts in the first place. I believe the calculation at
the time was that he had saved $54,000 by filing in Utah instead of
Massachusetts. He agreed to repay that sum and make up the difference.
KRYSTAL BALL, THE CYCLE: So, Callum, how long has Mitt Romney been
asserting he left Bain in 1999 and had no further involvement with them?
BORCHERS: Well, it really began for that run for governor in 2002. A
few weeks before election day that year, Shannon O`Brien, who was his
Democratic opponent that year, began running a TV commercial that featured
GST Steel. That`s this very same manufacturer that he Obama has used in
ads this year.
And again, the argument was, look, this company went under. Bain
reaped a huge profit, there were layoffs, et cetera. But layoffs and
bankruptcy didn`t happen until February of 2001. So at the time, the
defense from Mitt Romney and from Bain Capital was look, he`s not
responsible for this, because he was gone, he was managing the Olympics.
But the fact of the matter is that at least on paper, he was still
very much the man in charge.
O`DONNELL: Cal, your story forced a reaction from Bain Capital today.
I just want to read that statement and get your reaction to it quickly
before you go. Their statement is, "Mitt Romney left Bain Capital in
February of 1999 to run the Olympics and has had no involvement with the
management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its
portfolio company since the day of his departure. Due to the sudden nature
of his departure, he remained the sole stockholder for a time while formal
ownership was being documented and transferred to the group of partners who
took over management of the firm in 1999. Accordingly, Mr. Romney was
reported in various capacities on SEC filings during this period."
BORCHERS: Well, there`s a lot of material there. You know, one thing
to note remember is that it was a very sudden transition. I don`t think
anybody is suggesting that Mitt Romney was actually managing the day-to-day
operations of Bain while he was running the Olympics. It`s pretty well
documented that he was a busy man out in Utah.
But the question is that since he didn`t have that severance agreement
finalized until 2002, three years after he left, since he told the ballot
commission that it was only a leave of absence, that he planned to come
back, he retained sole ownership of the country, he remained in all of
those title positions and he continued to draw a salary. Is it reasonable
to believe he had absolutely nothing to do -- no influence in any at all,
on any Bain Capital entities after February of 1999?
That`s the position of Bain Capital and the Romney campaign. And
that`s the question --
O`DONNELL: Actually, we have an official ruling on it. It`s just
ruled it is unreasonable to believe that.
We`re going to take a break and come back with more coming up, an
exclusive with former SEC commissioner on the Bain filings and David Corn
is here with new information about Mitt Romney and outsourcing jobs to
O`DONNELL: We have a choice. Either Mitt Romney lied to the American
people or Bain Capital lied to the SEC. A former SEC commissioner joins us
in a LAST WORD exclusive, next.
(BEGI9N AUDIO CLIP)
BOB BAUER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: In filings with Massachusetts
disclosure commission as late as January of 2003, Mitt Romney is describing
himself as an executive of Bain Capital and then all of a sudden, and this
coincides with his political ambitions and pursuits, he tells the federal
government in financial disclosure form that he in fact wasn`t involved
with Bain after February of 1999, directly contradicting the certified
record before the Securities and Exchange Commission.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That was Obama campaign attorney Bob Bauer on a conference
call today, asking how Mitt Romney can tell the federal government he
wasn`t involved with Bain after 1999 on one form. And when a Bain document
shows that he was still the CEO on another form.
Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter went even further,
asking if this could amount to a felony.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: 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.
If that`s the case, if he was lying to the American people, that`s a
real character and trust issue.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Roberta Karmel, former commissioner of
the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is currently the centennial
professor of law at Brooklyn Law School.
Professor, you`re also mentioned in "The Boston Globe" article
analyzing these SEC filings. We have one up on the board behind you that
you have seen already -
ROBERTA KARMEL, FORMER SEC COMMISSIONER: Yes.
O`DONNELL: -- indicating that Mitt Romney is the chief executive
officer, is the president, he`s managing director, long after Mitt Romney
has claimed he was none of those things.
KARMEL: Right. And I believe it says that was his principal
O`DONNELL: Yes. How -- what are we to take of this? Is this
something the SEC takes casually?
KARMEL: No. Documents like this that are filed with the SEC are
serious documents, and if information in those documents is false or
misleading, there are serious consequences. There can be civil cases
brought by the SEC. And depending on the facts and circumstances, if
there`s a false filing with the SEC, there can even be a criminal
I`m not saying Mitt Romney should be criminally prosecuted, but that
is a possible consequence of a false filing of a document like this with
O`DONNELL: Bain Capital is making a big deal about their statement
today, their short statement, the sudden nature of Mr. Romney`s departure.
There are sudden departures all the time in business. People get
fired. People die. Do they not change the SEC filings after sudden
departures, is that common?
KARMEL: If there is a filing by a company, for example, that shows
Mr. X is the president, CEO, chairman of the board, and Mr. X is fired or
died, that company has to make a filing to correct the former filing.
O`DONNELL: Is there some kind of memo they could have issued saying
look, this just happened, we are working this out, he`s still technically
on these forms? Is there some intermediate filing they could have made?
KARMEL: Not a memo, but what you do is if there`s a material change
from a form that was filed before, you have to make a new filing.
BALL: So when you are attesting, as Mitt Romney did, that you are the
CEO, the managing director, you`re essentially signing up for some sort of
responsibility and accountability. I mean, what does it actually mean to
put that attestation on a statement from the SEC`s perspective?
KARMEL: Well, this document is not a document -- this document is a
document of a portfolio company, and had to do with whether or not Mitt
Romney was a controlling person of that portfolio company, and his position
at Bain Capital.
And generally, when a businessman is the chairman, CEO and in this
case the sole stockholder, he`s accountable for the business and affairs of
that company. And even if he`s not making day-to-day decisions or managing
the investments of a company like this, which was a venture capital
company, he`s still legally responsible and should believe accountable for
the business and affairs of that company.
Unfortunately, too many business executives have tried to exculpate
themselves from that kind of accountabilities and it`s one reason in 2002,
Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act compelling CEOs to sort -- of public
companies to certify financial statements..
KORNACKI: Roberto, hello down there. I wanted to ask you to play
referee here a little bit, because there`s an article in "Fortune" that
came out this afternoon that the Romney campaign, its defenders already
point to, and they`re saying it sort of exonerates him from the suggestion
he had day-to-day involvement.
Because I`m not going to terms, I`m going to read from here to make
sure I get this right. But what they`re saying they have found are
offering documents for a Bain Capital fund from 2000 and from 2001 and they
show in these documents Mitt Romney is not listed as, quote, "a key
investment professional." And this establishes that there was not
operational input on Romney`s part in terms of Bain`s activities, even if
there was a legal and financial relationship still in place.
Do you think there`s anything to that explanation?
KARMEL: Well, somebody who is running a venture capital company may
not be making day-to-day decisions as to what portfolio investments that
company is going to make.
O`DONNELL: Especially if the company has a lot of them.
O`DONNELL: Those are delegated frequently.
KARMEL: But at least in my experience, it would be unusual for
somebody who is 100 percent owner of a company like that, and is still
holding the positions of CEO, chairman of the board, not to pay attention
to what kind of investments are being made by the company and not to
monitor those investments.
O`DONNELL: Cal, what do you make of the revelations that "Fortune"
thinks they`ve come up with today?
BORCHERS: Well, they make some good points. I think that it`s
important to note as Roberta pointed out, you know, there`s nobody really
suggesting that Mitt Romney had his hands in every single day-to-day
operations of Bain Capital. You know, we know that he had his hands full
out in Utah running the Olympics.
But the fact of the matter is, the documents that we reported on this
morning show that the buck sort of stops with Mitt Romney. He still had
the titles. He still drew a paycheck as an executive, and it`s sort of
hard I think to wash your hands entirely.
WOLFFE: Roberta, I worked at the "Financial Times" for many times.
I`ve never heard of an inactive managing director or CEO.
But let`s take them at their word that there are companies out there
that have people who have a leave absence for many years but still hold the
title, for whatever reason.
My question is, what would that reason be?
If you saw a company that had a leave of absence, CEO, for three, four
years, why would the company want to do that? What reasons do you imagine
would be reasonable for that?
KARMEL: I don`t know. It may be because people thought that Mitt
Romney was a good CEO, chairman. He had a certain reputation on Wall
WOLFFE: But he was no longer there.
KARMEL: But that makes him accountable.
WOLFFE: Right. They`re saying he was no longer, right? He wasn`t
physically present, why would the company or individual still want to
persist with this?
KARMEL: Well, if he`s the 100 percent owner, he decides who`s going
to be the CEO.
O`DONNELL: That`s the thing that didn`t change. He owns 100 percent
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s the decider.
KARMEL: The shareholders select, the directors and the directors pick
CEO. But if he`s the 100 percent shareholder, he can call the shots as to
who the executive officers are going to be and obviously he chose himself.
WAGNER: Roberta, I want to telegraph out to the sort of practical
realities here in terms of the campaign season, because it seems clear if
you`re running for president, what you want is a compelling narrative and
not a who done it, which is what is happening here to Mitt Romney`s
I mean, we are now talking about sort of the ins and outs of SEC
filings. We have "Vanity Fair" stories talking about whitewashing money
overseas in the Cayman Islands. This is all highly dubious.
And I guess I wonder what needs to happen before the SEC says,
something fishy is going on here, we`re going to investigate further?
KARMEL: Well, these documents are from a long time ago. I don`t know
that the SEC would necessarily be investigating further.
I mean, I think it`s more a question of really what was said at the
very outset here is either the statements in the SEC filings are false,
which would be a very serious matter, and I don`t think the Romney campaign
is saying that. And I wouldn`t really expect them to be saying that,
because that could be a violation of federal law.
Or Mitt Romney, who is running on a campaign of -- well, I was a great
businessman and so I`m going to run the country as a business, and if
you`re someone who thinks that would be a good idea, you have to wonder is
what kind of a businessman continues to have the offices of CEO/chairman,
take at least $100,000 a year in salary, and may believe to Mitt Romney
that`s small change, but any one of my students would love $100,000.
O`DONNELL: And the filing simply says above $100,000. It could have
been taking $50 million.
KARMEL: It could have been. It could have been.
He was also taking whatever profits Bain Capital was making during
O`DONNELL: We would find out what he was taking if he would release
the tax returns of those years, which he`s not doing.
Professor Roberta Karmel, former SEC commissioner and Cal Borchers of
"The Boston Globe" -- thank you both very much for joining me tonight.
KARMEL: Thank you for inviting me.
O`DONNELL: And Alex Wagner, thank you for joining us for the first
half of the show.
Coming up, David Corn has broken another story about Bain outsourcing
operations. Bain invested heavily in a Chinese manufacturing company that
depended on U.S. outsourcing for its profits.
David Corn joins us next.
O`DONNELL: David Corn is going to join us next with his exclusive on
Bain Capital`s investments in a Chinese company that made its money on U.S.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will clamp down on
cheaters like China and make sure they finally play the rules and don`t
steal our jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That`s what Mitt Romney said at the NAACP convention
yesterday. Something he said many times. And this is what "Mother Jones"
Exclusive, Romney invested millions in Chinese firm that profited on
U.S. outsourcing. And what is important about this story is the date of
that outsourcing, August 19, 1998, when Mitt Romney was indisputably the
head of Bain Capital.
Joining me now is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother
Jones" who broke that exclusive. He`s also an MSNBC political analyst.
David, tell us what you found.
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as you know from the
discussions so far tonight, the sole issue of when Romney left Bain has
been somewhat clouded in murkiness and competing facts and contentions. I
worked on this story over a week ago. We talked about that earlier.
The story I broke today, there is no-doubt dispute about it. That`s a
truly one reason it stands out. In 1998, when Mitt Romney was fully in
command at Bain Capital, he had a Bain entity that he controlled. Again,
sole owner by up to about 10 percent in a Chinese company called Global
Tech Appliances. What did Global Tech Appliances do, it made household
But what it really did was take outsourcing from U.S. companies,
companies that were consolidating and shipping manufacturing and jobs
overseas, Global Tech. Their whole business model was to take those jobs
and make that equipment.
So what they were doing was basically poaching U.S. jobs. The very
sort of thing that Romney in that clip you showed said he was against. So
when he was a private businessman, when it was all about making money, he
saw no problem in investing in a Chinese firm that was poaching these jobs
from American companies.
And in the piece, people can go online, you can post it in yours, we
have statements from Global Tech at the time back in 1998 saying indeed
their business plan depended on more outsourcing from American companies.
So here was a guy, Mitt Romney, not just investing in companies in the
U.S. that might be shipping jobs overseas, he was investing in companies
overseas and this one company in China that was benefiting from outsourcing
RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: David, my recollection from
this period is that actually companies doing this stuff were at the early
wave of outsourcing and dealing with China. In fact, I remember talking to
executives in this time period who weren`t certain whether they could
control their investments and dealing with Chinese managers and everything
Do you have a sense of how many companies were in this line of
business? Were they pioneers at this stage or were there other companies
they were copying?
CORN: Well, you`re right. It was sort of an early wave of
outsourcing when people were first joining to talk about it as a problem
politically and policy and economically here in the United States.
But what I do know about this, and the SEC documents interestingly
that Romney had to fill out, this company has to fill out about the steal
were certain type of SEC documents, 13-G at that matters to anyone out
there, which you don`t have to put a lot of details unlike some other SEC
So we don`t know a lot of the firm details about this. But it does
seem that he bought his initial round of shares, he traded for a year and a
half, this shares up and down, but he bought his initial round in an - it
seems in an IPO that the company put out. That really means getting in on
the ground floor and getting sort of a preferential price with this
company. This is one of the first Chinese companies that I can tell that
was doing an IPO of this nature back in the time period. So, it really
looked like Mitt Romney was trying to get in on the ground floor of this
whole outsourcing and the bloom in China manufacturing wave.
STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Yes, I have sort of an observation here,
listening to his, I`m thinking of what Alex was saying in the last segment.
We`re looking ahead to November and nobody thinks at the end of the day
that Obama is going to win this big or that Romney is going to win big.
But we`re talking about a small pool of voters who are going to swing
this thing. And I know sort of the central challenge for the Obama
campaign is to take people`s instinctive view that a businessman man
automatically knows how to manage an economy because there`s a relationship
there. And their challenges really undermines his confidence on economic
issues. And I`m just thinking that, you know, we now have a story, thanks
to David, about Romney having a direct role in outsourcing.
We have a story now about Bain from "the Boston Globe" and basically
that connects directly to this steel plant in Kansas City where Romney has
been saying literally for a decade, I had nothing to do with the closing of
that, I was gone from Bain.
And it just seems to me, you know, you`re really talking about
appealing to one percent to two percent of the electorate and convincing
them that no, the guy is a rich businessman, it doesn`t mean he knows how
to manage an economy. And how many days like this can Mitt Romney really
afford before this really becomes real.
CORN: And Steve, you know, the whole issue of when he left Bain and
what he did there I think is rather important. You know, I`ve been
reporting on that. But here this story, you know, you have the -- I can
understand why voters might be confused and not care about the exact day
that he left Bain. But here we have a guy who made a buck, invested
millions of bucks in a Chinese firm that was competing with America for
To me, when the whole theme of this election is jobs, jobs, jobs, and
Romney feels he has to go out there and say I`m not going to let China
steal our jobs from us, this is kind of a visceral story that shows at the
time when he was doing all this great stuff that he says gives him a
calling card to become president. He had a different set of priorities
than what was best for the United States.
KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: The other thing that strikes me
here is sort of the dumb political strategy. Because Mitt Romney`s defense
previously has always been I wasn`t at Bain when that happened, which is
sort of an admission that it`s problematic and damaging and makes it easy
to pick that apart and say here`s a company where you were at Bain. And
guess what? You didn`t leave the way you said you had. You still were
You know, it reminds me of this claim that he has been putting forward
that they created 100,000 jobs. Well, why did he make that claim when it`s
not provable and what you`re doing at Bain is not about job creation? It`s
just strikes me as the dumb political tactic when they know all the facts.
They have all the facts at their disposal and half of the things that it
was play out this way.
CORN: Well, this is the thing. I don`t think they know all the
CORN: There`s so much in the Bain finances and Mitt Romney`s own
personal finances, I don`t believe for a minute that people in his campaign
fully know or even understand all the details. It took them over a day to
get back to me on this Global Tech deal. And I`m positive they had no clue
until I basically told them what I had and they were back and re-researched
it themselves. That`s the big problem I think for the Mitt campaign. They
don`t know what Bain and he`s done all these years and that makes it hard
to sell it to the public.
O`DONNELL: David Corn, great work and thank you very much for sharing
it with us tonight.
Thank you very much, David.
CORN: Thanks, Lawrence.
Coming up, more on the stunning ease with which Mitt Romney tells his
lies. We will review the lies of Mitt Romney, including his lie about
Martin Luther King. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: The political media hates to call a liar a liar. Just
hates it. But Mitt Romney continues to challenges the media more than any
other presidential candidate has, to do exactly that, to call a liar a
More of the lies of Mitt Romney coming up.
O`DONNELL: The Romney lie. The liars at the Romney campaign. If
there is a pathological liar in the presidential campaign, it is Willard
Romney. Liars, like Romney, debase our politics. Liars, like Romney,
depress voter turnout. Liars, like Romney, turn people away from politics.
Liars, like Romney, are profoundly bad for this country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The Romney lie in the Romney ad, that`s about as ugly a
lie as you could possibly do with videotape, isn`t it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Lying politicians like Mitt Romney. The one word that
best describes that assertion is lie. The lying Romney campaign. Today,
Mitt Romney staked his campaign on that big lie. Mitt Romney has left us
with a choice. He`s either a liar or what George will would call, a
Yesterday, Mitt Romney closed his speech at the NAACP with a reference
to Martin Luther King Jr., which brings up the uncomfortable memory of the
2007 campaign when he was talking about his father and Martin Luther King
Jr. Let`s look at that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.
My dad marched with Martin Luther King.
Did you actually see your dad march with Martin Luther King?
No, I say that in a figurative sense. I try to be as accurate as I
can be, and the -- if you`ll look at the literature or the dictionary, the
term "saw" includes being aware of in the sense that I`ve described and say
it`s a figure of speech and been familiar and it is very common. And I saw
my dad march with Martin Luther King. I did not see it with my own eyes,
but I saw him in the sense of being aware of his participation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: And I saw Richard Wolffe win the super bowl. What the --
WOLFFE: No wonder he`s a fan of Bill Clinton. It`s really - Clinton
O`DONNELL: It`s way wilder than Clinton. Yes you know, I mean,
Clinton at least understood here`s the stuff they can check. OK, I`m not
going to say that.
WOLFFE: It`s in the dictionary. What do you want?
O`DONNELL: Steve, this lying pattern with him, look, I don`t like my
first name. I`m wicked jealous of my brother, Michael, who got the good
name in my family. But I feel theirs is something -- it would be a lie if
I just didn`t tell you my first name and claimed my first name was mitt
when it`s Willard. It begins there with this guy.
BALL: If anyone on this panel was going to change their name, I might
throw it out. I will stick with it.
O`DONNELL: We share something. The integrity of what we got stuck
with. But there is something -- I`ve never seen anything like this in a
KORNACKI: I like the use the word "wicked" there are fairness as used
by Richard. But for me, the thing -- with Romney it really started way
back. I remember this guy in 1994 when he ran for the Senate in
Massachusetts. And his position was pro choice. That`s well established
but it was much more than that.
In a debate with Ted Kennedy, to defend his pro-choice credentials, he told
a wrenching personal story about a family member who died from illegal back
alley abortion and how the experienced was so traumatic and so moving for
him that it convinced him that the government had absolutely no business
imposing a decision on a woman ever. And he ends by saying, you`ll never
see me waiver on that.
He went from that position to a position today that basically would
treat that same woman as a criminal. Any woman seeking abortion is
criminal. I don`t understand how you can get from there to there and not
have any accounting for it in a year. He`s never grappled with that
transformation. There are people who change from prochoice to prolife.
There are people who changed from prolife to prochoice and they can tell
Mitt Romney has never actually - he invented basically an -- he had a
meeting with a stem cell guy in his office as governor. The stem cell
specialist disputes the terms that Mitt Romney used. Mitt Romney is
basically said that the guy treated like, you know, as a pro way thing and
that would convince him. The guy completely dispute that. Beyond there,
there was no accounting for that just stunning transformation other than
KORNACKI: You have a candidate that wants it both ways. And that`s
what the Bain story is. He wanted to run for public office with your
private equity income. And that`s really the heart of it. You know, he
wants to be severely progressive and severely conservative. He wants to
have everything both ways. Truth and fiction.
O`DONNELL: Krystal, he has to believe that he can get away with
lying. He has to have looked at the political media and said, OK, you know
what? I can get away with it and I`ll buy so much advertising and make the
truth be what the ads say it is.
BALL: Well, and that`s what is scary. To a large extent, he has
gotten away with it. I mean, we could spend hours detailing every Mitt
Romney lie. It would be one thing, we could maybe give him the benefit of
the doubt if he shifted positions. But it`s repetitive and it`s exhausting
to keep up with, so he thinks that he can muddy the waters and that we
won`t call him to account.
And to your point, we`ve talked a lot about the money that`s going to
be spent in this campaign, which is overwhelming. But I`m less afraid of
the money, and more afraid of their willingness to say anything that they
think will help Mitt Romney win this election.
O`DONNELL: All right, one more break and back with more on the lies
of Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC FEHRNSTROM, ROMNEY CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well, I think he hit
a reset button for the fall campaign, everything changes. It`s almost like
an etch-a-sketch, it can kind of shaking up and re-start all over again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Richard Wolffe, they say in business that an organization
resembles its head. And Mitt Romney is the head of this organization. So,
why wouldn`t you think you could just etch-a-sketch everything away
whenever you have you, right?
WOLFFE: And they say, campaigns are like fish, they rot from the head
down. You know, if he wants to clear this up, he can do what candidate
Obama did when there was a questionable land deal. He got a strip on his
backyard, remember like (INAUDIBLE). Candidate Obama had to sit down with
a couple of ad board and trash this out for hours and answer every single
question, then it`s done. And people can keep talking about it, but you`ve
given your best explanation that`s what Mitt Romney needs to do, preferably
with the editorial board of "the Boston Globe."
O`DONNELL: Steve, we have seen candidates Geraldine Ferraro, other
with a big question come up to say OK, we`re going to settle this here and
move on with the campaign.
KORNACKI: Well, I think the most striking thing here today is you`ve
seen a very aggressive push back from the Romney campaign but they have not
disputed the basic facts reported today, the basic facts that he was listed
as the president, the CEO, as the sole shareholder from 1999 to 2002 of
All they`re saying is something that may be ultimately be un-provable.
That yes, he was listed as all these things, yet, all the power that came
with that, he took money, but yes, trust us, he wasn`t involved day-to-day.
And I don`t know that you can ever establish that in a way. And that`s why
it`s so damning.
O`DONNELL: And the Bain statement has no legal meaning to it either.
BALL: Right. Right. And I think the point here is that it`s really
- it`s not the crime so much as the cover up. The only way for them to get
a handle on this story is to put absolutely everything out there and get it
out there and be up front. At this point, they`ve spun so many tales it`s
going to be hard to do that.
O`DONNELL: See, I`m not a believer -- when you`re guilty, you must
continue to lie. If he really -- if he, you know, if he makes any credible
claim about I had nothing to do with Bain, you know after a certain date,
he would be out there making that claim. It is un-makeable with these
BALL: If you can`t sustain the lie, though, you have to get it all
out there and be done with it. Otherwise, it`s going to be death by a
thousand cuts. There is going to be more companies that come out there.
it is going to be more SEC filings, and we`ll keep doing this from now to
WOLFFE: In politics we prefer the sinner, not the saint. Let him
have his shot at redemption here. He can say, I`m a reform guy and coming
clean and it may be the most interesting thing he`s ever done.
O`DONNELL: Steve, can he keep saying I`m going to really teach China
a lesson after these stories about him, you know, profiting by out this?
KORNACKI: He can say anything he wants. At Krystal`s point, it`s
true. I mean, at the end of the day, this race is basically an even race
right now. But like I said, Obama is ahead by a couple of points and
that`s how it will ultimately be decided, in two points either way. So it
may be, you know, he can get to 47, 48, 49 percent, but it may keep him
from getting over time.
O`DONNELL: Krystal Ball, Steve Kornacki and Richard Wolffe. Thank
you all for joining me on this special edition of "the Last Word, the lies
of Mitt Romney."
"The Ed Show" is up next.
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