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Romney: The Bain story, post-'99

The Boston Globe clarifies Romney’s role at Bain after 1999: “Shortly after Mitt Romney took a leave of absence from Bain Capital to run the Olympics in February 1999, he made a trip to Palm Beach, Fla. The firm Romney founded was meeting to celebrate its 15th anniversary as well as the men he had helped make extraordinarily wealthy. Romney and his partners had decided that, in his absence, five managing directors would oversee the company. And in Palm Beach it became clearer that Romney was unlikely to return — but would retain his title as chief executive officer and sole shareholder. The Palm Beach meeting, which has not been previously reported, demonstrates the duality of Romney’s role as he parted ways with Bain, an issue that has sparked controversy in his presidential campaign.

“Romney has said in financial disclosure statements that he ‘was not involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way’ after Feb. 11, 1999. But he was still legally the CEO, with numerous duties and obligations that were his alone, until early 2002. Interviews with a half-dozen of Romney’s former partners and associates, as well as public records, show that he was not merely an absentee owner during this period. He signed dozens of company documents, including filings with regulators on a vast array of Bain’s investment entities. And he drove the complex negotiations over his own large severance package, a deal that was critical to the firm’s future without him, according to his former associates. Indeed, by remaining CEO and sole shareholder, Romney held on to his leverage in the talks that resulted in his generous 10-year retirement package, according to former associates.”

Reuters: “Mitt Romney has secrets. Lots of them, perhaps. That provocative claim is at the core of President Barack Obama's latest attacks on his Republican rival, a strategy that is dominating the narrative of the presidential campaign and leading anxious Republicans to question Romney's tactics. In ads, interviews and social-media blasts, the Democratic president's team is casting Romney as a mysterious figure who is guarding important secrets about his wealth and work history.”

In fact, The Atlantic lists 10 things he might be hiding in his tax returns. (H/t Political Wire.)

What does Bill Clinton’s underwear have to do with Mitt Romney not releasing his taxes? Peggy Noonan reveals.

Rupert Murdoch likes the new Romney.

Paul Krugman: “Businesses aren’t investing, they say, because business leaders don’t feel valued. Mr. Romney repeated this line, too, arguing that because the president attacks success ‘we have less success.’ This, too, is crazy (and it’s disturbing that Mr. Romney appears to share this delusional view about what ails our economy).”

Just to be clear, private equity is not venture capitalism, got it? “When staffers at the National Venture Capital Association see a report that refers to U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney's investments as venture capital, they grimace -- and then contact the author to explain politely why it's wrong,” Reuters writes. “The Republican White House hopeful was head of Bain Capital LLC, which does the bulk of its work in private equity and not venture capital, the NVCA would clarify. Venture capital backs companies from their earliest days, and some go on to create thousands of jobs; private equity typically comes in at later stages to turn around underperforming companies, sometimes via job cuts and other unpopular cost-savings moves.”

Watch Peter Alexander play word association with the five Romney sons. Here Peter asks why they didn’t want their dad to run this time, and here they talk about their dad’s sometimes awkward phrasing.

The Globe on Romney’s event yesterday: “Mitt Romney, speaking this afternoon in Roxbury, accused President Obama of misunderstanding the nature of American entrepreneurship by suggesting that government assistance plays an equal role as hard work in creating small businesses.”