Facts don't support Obama's charges against Romney."
All Obama really did with his misleading and outright lies is distract liberals and a portion of the country for one week, from his economic failures, the mountain of debt, the national deficit and the over 8 percent unemployment.
Alright, that isn't exactly true, many have stayed focused on all that and Obama did accomplish one other thing.
He has managed to get major news organizations, magazines and fact checkers to call him an outright liar.
Has Romney basically lied about when he actually departed Bain? Has he tried to mislead the public or investors? Here we come to the heart of the recent controversy. I may be wrong but based on what we know so far, I would conclude that we do not have persuasive evidence to show that he has.Romney has argued for years that after he was called in to rescue the Salt Lake City Olympics in February 1999, he turned his full attentions there and no longer exercised active management at Bain. The story is a complicated one because Bain was a complex partnership and because the company filed various SEC papers after February 1999 still listing Romney in various key roles, including CEO and chairman. But if one takes time to look behind the SEC filings, what emerges is much more supportive of Romney's statements.When the story first broke Thursday in The Boston Globe suggesting that Romney and Bain had fudged, CNN asked if I would do some reporting. I reached two of the top people whom I know in the company and, on background, they told me the same story that Bain sources told CNN's John King: When the call came from the Olympics that February, Romney met with his partners and said he and wife, Ann, had concluded that they had to do this and as difficult as it would be for the partnership, he had to leave in a matter of several days.That set off consternation within Bain because the company had exploded in size and Romney was not only CEO (or managing partner) but was also deeply tied into a variety of investments and partnerships. The partners had to turn quickly to reorganizing their teams and the way they ran their business. That was their priority.Had they known that one day Romney would be running for president, they might have acted with equal haste on cleaning up the many filings and paperwork that bore Romney's name but at the time, they didn't think that was an urgent task. So, as the company slowly unwound its records, some papers from Bain continued to list Romney even though he had left the partnership.
A sloppy mistake? Yes. An attempt to mislead? The evidence so far doesn't show that. Also of note: At the time, it seemed that he might return from the Olympics to active management, but in any event, he did not. Secondly, I do not know of (nor is there any controversy suggesting) his involvement in other companies during that time.As the New York Times reports Monday, there was an expectation at first that Romney might return to active management of Bain so he did not sever his ownership ties right away -- an additional reason why his name was not struck from documents for a while. The Times account goes on to say there is no evidence that during this interim he was actively engaged in managing the firm.
Both partners with whom I spoke firmly and unequivocally said that after he physically left in February 1999, Romney no longer made decisions for Bain regarding investments, hiring, firing or any other management issues. Subsequent to that February, the firm in 2000 offered another round of financing and, according to Bain, the investors well understood that Romney was no longer actively managing the company.Could these Bain partners now be lying? Possibly. On a rare occasion in the past, when I was wearing a reporter's hat, a friend has lied to me for self-protection. But based on relationships over several years, I trust his or her account. Even so, knowing my bias, you may well ask: Is there any corroborating evidence? As it turns out, there is.FactCheck.org, a respected website that nails candidates for inaccuracies, earlier investigated the whole issue of Romney's departure and reached a conclusion that he was telling the truth. Last week, little noticed by Romney's critics, FactCheck went back, reviewed the evidence again, and based on what we know so far, reaffirmed its earlier conclusion. FactCheck's recent article was co-written by a man who was once a top investigative journalist for CNN. (The piece last week also recalled an Associated Press report on the Olympics that said in his early tenure at the Olympics, Romney was working 112-hour weeks to save the Salt Lake City games. Does this sound like a man who was also managing a private equity firm on the East Coast?)Last week, in another article that critics tend to ignore, Fortune reported that it had obtained confidential documents that Bain gave to prospective investors in advance of that seventh round offering in 2000. The prospectus is the way a company such as Bain informs possible investors who will manage their money. The prospectus listed 18 managers at Bain who would have responsibility. Romney's name was not among them.It remains possible, of course, that new evidence will emerge that could sharply contradict both Romney and Bain. If so, that will be a whole new ball game. Both he and the company would be grievously damaged.But judgments today can only be fairly made on the evidence at hand and the reputations of the people who are coming forward. From my perspective -- yes, with a bias -- the weight comes down on the side that as he has said all along, Romney ended his active management at Bain when he left for the Olympics. Again, there are many other reasons why one might oppose his candidacy, but this does not strike me as a fair one.As long as fairness is the standard, it would be reassuring if some of the harshest critics of Romney and Bain would acknowledge their own biases. And for goodness sake, will the Obama campaign please withdraw its heavy suggestion that Mitt Romney could well have committed a felony? That was an injustice to both Romney and the president.
One has to wonder if Barack Obama has any more crap to throw against the wall while praying something sticks longer than a week or, as Jennifer Rubin so delicately puts it, has Obama shot his whole "wad."
Despite Obama's month long efforts at distraction, the economy is still the most important issue on likely voters minds with 74 percent rating it as "very important" to how they will vote in the next election.