What to do when your time machine sucks…

As we all know by now Mitt Romney has a paper-trail Time Machine. He was having problems because more than a gross of documents and news reports  listed him as the CEO, chairman and president of the company through February 2002. Turns out that many and more actions of Bain during that time were jam packed with political problems for old Mittens. And so, he built his paper-trail Time Machine and retroactively retired as the sole shareholder, CEO and President of Bain Capital in February 1999.  It would be a nice hat trick, except that everyday new evidence burbles up that his “retroactive retirement” is a fantasy.

For example, it turns out that even the 2002 Winter Olympics–that took ALL of Romney’s abilities just to “run”–also listed him as the guy in charge of Bain:

“… in February 2000, Romney was introduced as the “founder and CEO of Capital” at the National Press Club during an appearance about the Olympics, and Romney’s biography on the Olympic’s website listed him as Bain Capital “founder and CEO.”

How can we expect a guy who’s paper-trail Time Machine sucks to be the Leader of the Free World?


41 replies
  1. 1
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Dying to see the tax returns. Should be juicy reading.

  2. 2
    trollhattan says:

    When they’re done with this tax return bidnez perhaps they can work him over regarding the hard drive removal when he departed his Mass governorship. WTF was he hiding, that time?

    “I was running for president, for Pete’s sake.”

  3. 3
    dmsilev says:

    @Patricia Kayden: I wonder how many of Romney’s aides have dared the displeasure of their boss and have told him to lance this particular boil and just release the damn things already.

    He doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who copes well with disagreements from his underlings. Which is a problem in and of itself, given the job he is applying for.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    Willard just needs the White House TARDIS. Obama’s been photographed with one.

  5. 5
    Evolving Deep Southerner says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Same here. Good God there must be some shit there that would curdle milk.

    If the world were a just place, the whole “We need a BIDnessman running America!” shit would die with this election. We don’t. That may be the last thing we need.

  6. 6
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @dmsilev: I have to admit, I’m looking forward to the gossipy leaks. I’m curious has to how Romney does anger. I’m guessing seething silence.

    I wonder if Romney is waiting for the Olympics to start running ads about how he “saved” the whole thing, and if Plouffe and Axelrod have one labeled “Crony Capitalism?” to pull that rug out. Romney will have nothing left but full on birtherism.

  7. 7
    Calouste says:

    There’s a potentially explosive diary up on the Great Orange Satan about how Bain Capital (CEO and sole owner: W. Mitt Romney) held about $100 milion worth of Mattel stock when Mattel was announced by the SLCOC CEO (W. Mitt Romney) as the Licensee to make plush toys of the Olympic mascots.

  8. 8
    ally says:

    this is OT, but the Jacob Weisberg story at Slate, “The Pain in Bain,” is excellent. Not horse race stuff. A concise look at rising inequality in this country, and how Bain (and others like them) have made things worse.


  9. 9
    joes527 says:

    @Calouste: Potentially explosive? Try: Business as usual.

    You may not have noticed, but that’s _exactly_ how our government rolls. Try googling “halliburton” some time

  10. 10
    russ says:

    The tax returns are about to get superceded by this:


    and lets see what happens.

    this guy has baggage all over the planet.

  11. 11
    NotMax says:

    Good thing ol’ Mitt will be in London.

    In case there’s some snafu with the Olympics, he’ll be right on the scene to be tapped to fix it all up lickety-split.

    As if.

  12. 12
    joes527 says:

    @russ: That one’s gonna leave a mark. He has _no_ good options. It really isn’t fair* to lay that at his feet, but he will have to deal with it.

    * Except in the larger karmic sense. Someone should have told Mitt that as you sow, so shall you reap.

  13. 13
    muddy says:

    It’s so great for opposition ads. You don’t need to say anything mean about him, just play clips of what he has said previously. There was one on Maddow (?) last night where he is explaining to some people that a blind trust is not really blind, as you choose the people and set the terms, so really you are in charge of it.

    Maybe it was bitching about Kennedy or something, it was an old clip.

  14. 14
    NotMax says:

    Excellent, excellent piece outlining a current real-world case of a finance giant manipulating esoteric rules to maximize profits without providing anything in return for the payments. Highly suggest reading the whole thing.

    The incentive remains for outfits like JPMorgan to stretch the rules to the breaking point — if they get caught, the cost is tolerable; if not, the returns are fabulous. This raises again the age-old question: Can Wall Street be trusted? And it suggests an age-old answer: no.  Source

  15. 15
    Violet says:

    So….will he release them? Or will he refuse to release them? Bets?

  16. 16
    NotMax says:


    $10,000 bets?

  17. 17
    Calouste says:


    He won’t release them.

    If he won’t release them, he is 100% likely to spend the next 4 years in La Jolla with his car elevator.

    If he releases them, he is still most likely to spend the next 4 years in La Jolla, he still has a negligible chance to spend them in the White House, but he will also have a non-negligible to spend them in the Big House.

  18. 18


    I saw something in passing the other day where he only agreed to go and “save” the Olympics if the committee agreed to exclusively to deal with Staples for all of the office supply stuff.

  19. 19
    JPL says:

    @Violet: he might release 4 years but those four years might be odd. For example..1971..1980 and then 2010 and 2011.. That’s my guess.

  20. 20
    burnspbesq says:


    At this point, unless they are at a Superfund level of toxicity, the smart play is to release them. I think Romney is too pigheaded to do the smart thing. So he’ll get lingering death by a thousand cuts instead of a quick beheading.

    But then, I’m the guy who said 7-2 for the Commerce Clause, so everything I say is presumed to be fucked up.

  21. 21
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I’m not sure what the chicken and the egg were, but Staples was one of the big cronies, along with Papa Huntsman, who could buy and sell Our Willard several times over.
    Link to an interview with Boston reporter who covered this four years ago, and a link there to the original story.

  22. 22
    Violet says:

    @NotMax: Ha! Made me laugh.
    I kind of agree. I think he’s just going to tough it out. Eventually the story will be old and “Romney stands on principle and refuses to release his returns.” Or something like that. I think they’re hugely toxic, but asking for them will get old eventually and the press and independent voters will move on. Unless the Obama campaign has more on it, the story will be Old News eventually.

    I think the Dems are not helping by trying to pass something making presidential candidates release ten years of returns. Just looks like he’s being bulled. Not living up to his father’s example is a much better way to approach the issue.

  23. 23
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    some fun stuff from the 2007 Boston Phoenix article on Romney

    Romney has insisted that he had no thoughts of politics when taking on the Winter Olympics in 1999, but there have been reports to the contrary — including a comment by David D’Allesandro, CEO of John Hancock, in the Boston Globe’s recent seven-part profile, saying that Romney appealed for Hancock’s Olympic sponsorship by saying that his own political career depended on a financially successful Winter Games.

    But as we all know, Willard was gonna sit this one out, till The Lady Anne persuaded him just a few months ago that the country “needed” him.

    Read more: http://thephoenix.com/boston/n.....z211PqBDuB

  24. 24
    Violet says:

    @burnspbesq: I agree the smart play is to release them, but Mittens isn’t smart. Plus, if they’re superfund level of toxicity, as you say, there’s no way he’ll benefit from releasing them. It could even show he’s broken the law and put him in actual jeopardy of a lawsuit or worse. There’s no upside there.

  25. 25
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    HEre’s the stuff on Staples. I misunderemembered it from the interview, but apparently our Willard is an ineffectual crony capitalist:

    One story told by Romney himself suggests his methods. In Turnaround, his 2004 book about his Olympics experience, Romney tells of the deal he offered to his friend Thomas Stemberg, founder and then-CEO of Staples, for that company’s sponsorship: his Olympics staff “would get to work lobbying SLOC board members and other corporate contacts to switch their office-supply contracts to Staples.”
    Romney was on the Staples board at the time, and holding a financial stake in the company, as he was offering to use his SLOC leverage and staff to drum up business for the company, an apparent conflict of interest.
    But before Stemberg accepted, SLOC’s outside-sales firm landed Office Depot for the sponsorship. Romney wanted it to go to Staples. As he writes in Turnaround, he arranged for Stemberg to offer a million dollars more than Office Depot had — and then had his SLOC staff offer Office Depot a million dollars to back out of the sponsorship deal. Office Depot declined, and kept the sponsorship.

  26. 26
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    and Papa Huntsman and a few others

    In other cases, generosity to the Winter Olympics was followed closely by lucrative deals from Bain Capital, which do not prove a quid pro quo but do raise questions.
    Utah billionaire Jon M. Huntsman ponied up a cool million dollars to the Olympics — and in July 2001, Bain Capital invested roughly a quarter-billion dollars in Huntsman’s international-holdings company. Huntsman is now a national finance co-chair for Romney’s presidential campaign.
    Gateway, too, signed on as a sponsor; in September 2001, it made an agreement for unpaid consulting services from Bain Capital, in exchange for certain underwriting opportunities.
    Others of the final tally of 53 corporate sponsors were already under Romney and Bain Capital’s influence. Marriott is led by close family friends — now campaign finance co-chairs; plus, Romney was sitting on the company’s board at the time. Sealy, which Bain Capital owned, became a sponsor. So did Monster.com, where one of Romney’s sons worked as a consultant. The vice-chair of General Motors was on Marriott’s board of directors with Romney, as were the directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Sears; all became sponsors. Many other sponsors had extensive business dealings with Bain Capital companies, or had top-ranking executives with past connections to Bain Capital companies. And most of them have come through for Romney again, by donating to his campaign.

    I wonder when and why the Huntsmans turned on Our Willard

  27. 27


    Willard just needs the White House TARDIS. Obama’s been photographed with one.

    And Nixon actually got to ride in one.

  28. 28
    NotMax says:


    My take is that Romney will play “double dog dare you” on this one.

    He’ll dither and stall and obfuscate for as long as possible, then announce that he’ll release them if the Obama campaign agrees to release something outrageous and/or impossible to comply with in the time frame left before the election (I know not what, and dare not speculate).

    Then he’ll come out with the “They breached the bargain and wouldn’t release so, true to my word, neither will I.” nonsense.

    And the base and FOX will gluttonously eat it up.

  29. 29
    Violet says:

    @NotMax: He can try to go that route, but I have confidence that the Obama campaign can handle it. “We don’t play games. President Obama’s tax returns have been public for four years.” Something like that. It will just make Romney look childish and petulant. Of course Fox will eat it up, but the rest of the public will think he’s acting like a child.

  30. 30
    JPL says:

    @Violet: The President’s tax returns have been out there for a decade.. Romney can only compete if the economy tanks and Bernanke helps him.

  31. 31
    jefft452 says:

    @Calouste: “…but he will also have a non-negligible to spend them in the Big House.”

    Yep, right now, no matter how damaging, the far right pundits on tv can say “he paid everything he was legally required to, and no more”
    The centrist pundits can say “I’m sure there is nothing illegal, just bad political optics”

    But what can they say when it comes out that he moved income taxable in 2006 to an offshore tax haven retroactively in 2005, or claims clear income as carried interest, or “forgot” to report large chunks of his income for decades

  32. 32


    My take is that Romney will play “double dog dare you” on this one.

    My feeling is that Romney should avoid anything that involves dogs.

  33. 33
    trollhattan says:


    A variation in case there are some embarrassing items but nothing fatal there, would he him dithering until the public dialogue spins up to “11” and then releasing them hoping for a “Jeepers, is that all?” response. Not placing a bet on this, but it’s occurred to me as a possibility.

  34. 34
    LesGS says:

    @Violet: I doubt he’s actually broken the law. The IRS *has* seen those returns. I won’t say I’m 100% positive, but I think that if he’d clearly violated tax law, they would have done *something* about that, and that something would be out in the open and not some kind of secret. I think…

    I believe that there’s something not illegal – though it may be pushing the boundaries of legality – but rather something the 1% easily gets away with, but that the rest of us would find offensive. Like managing to pay zero in taxes whilst raking in millions. And those millions coming from crushing companies that would have done okay if Bain hadn’t destroyed them by putting them in overwhelming debt.

    That type of destruction of the many for the profit of the few infuriates me, and I bet lots of US voters feel the same way.

  35. 35
    LesGS says:

    @Roger Moore: He did. And he only looked askance at his secret agent officer who wanted to marry another fellah. Even though that fellah was black.

    Setting the Doctor – temporarily – aside, it’s weird how Republican presidents following him have raised his reputation in my eyes.

  36. 36


    I won’t say I’m 100% positive, but I think that if he’d clearly violated tax law, they would have done something about that, and that something would be out in the open and not some kind of secret.

    The key phrase here is “tax law”. It’s possible that he was breaking some other law in a way that would be revealed when he released his taxes. He was involved in all kinds of complex business deals that obscured exactly what he owned. If he reported those in his taxes, it might reveal he had previously undisclosed interests in companies he had official dealings with. That wouldn’t violate tax laws, but it would violate ethics laws.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Mittens isn’t smart.

    I hadn’t thought of this in decades, but it suddenly popped into my head that my grandfather had a line he used to use to describe people like Mittens: “Educated ignoramus.”

    Totes works for me.

  38. 38
    jefft452 says:

    @LesGS: “The IRS has seen those returns”

    yes, but that dont mean they audited them
    very few returns get audited, and under Bush the IRS shifted priority to auditing low income taxpayers

  39. 39
    SBJules says:

    I have relatives in Salt Lake & was there before & after the Olimpics and was impressed by the new light rail system and road improvements, but I also remember the bribery scandal & wondered when someone would bring it up. He is such a slime.

  40. 40
    Fred Ceely says:

    This “retroactive retirement” thing reminds me of good old Nelson Rockefeller, who rewarded his close aids not with bonuses or gifts, on which taxes would have to be paid, but with “loans not intended to be repaid.” They are the masters of time and space, these rich people, and of rhetoric.

  41. 41
    gocart mozart says:

    Well Obama also has a time machine that he used to plant his fake birth announcement in the Honolulu paper so it all evens out in the end.

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