The Romney people seem to have given up on even trying to make the race hard for Obama. From National Journal:
Mitt Romney’s top campaign adviser [Ed Gillespie] insisted on Sunday that Romney has no responsibility for any decisions made at Bain Capital during the three years from 1999 to 2001, during which he claimed that he had resigned from the company to go run the Olympics in Utah, explaining that Romney had “retired retroactively to 1999″ from the company.
Then Gillespie accidentally shoots a torpedo in Romney’s claim that he didn’t do any substantive work at Bain during his leave of absence – a leave that left him as CEO, Chairman of the Board, and President – because he was just too gosh-darned busy to do anything else.
“There may have been a thought at the time that he, that it could be part time, but it was not part time,” he said. “The Olympics was in a shambles. There was corruption.”
Gillespie said that, even if Bain Capital had thought Romney could take a part-time leave of absence from the company, the reality of the demands of the job was different.
“If that’s what it said, maybe that’s what they thought at the time was that he could do it part time,” Gillespie said. “It was not a part-time job. It was a 16-hour a day job.”
But there’s a problem with Gillespie’s explanation. If Romney was working 16 hours day at the Olympics, and therefore couldn’t find time to have anything to do with Bain, then how did he find time to travel cross-country to “most” of Staples’ board meetings during the same period? From Politico:
Romney told the Massachusetts election panel in 2002 that he remained active in a number of companies while in Utah, including Marriott and Staples, the office supply giant he helped create through investments from Bain.
During his ballot commission testimony, when asked whether he continued to serve on boards while working on the Olympics, Romney answered: “Yes.”
“I immediately resigned from the board of Sports Authority located in Florida, feeling it could present a conflict of interest with my Olympic responsibilities and of course the travel could be challenging as well. I remained on the board of the Staples Corporation and Marriott International, the Life Like Corporation. And I remained as a corporator of the Belmont Hill School,” he said.
Asked specifically about the Staples board, Romney said there were four to five meetings a year and he returned to Massachusetts “for most of those meetings. Others I attended by telephone if I could not return.”
In other words, his “16-hour-a-day” job at the Olympics did not stop Romney from being involved in the decision-making of other corporations – it even gave him enough time to fly across the country to board meetings – so the excuse doesn’t work for Bain either. If Romney had time to fly home to be at several Staples board meetings, he had time to sit in on at least one Bain board meeting by phone.
And if Romney could attend at least one Staples board meeting by phone, do we know that he didn’t do the same for any of Bain’s board meetings? Have the minutes of Bain’s board meetings at the time been released?
And how strange that Romney found the time to fly home for several Staples board meetings, when busy working 16 hour days at the Olympics, but he chose not to have anything to do with Bain, a company where he was the sole stockholder, CEO, president and chair of the board, AND a company that Romney had a huge amount of money invested in, since he was the sole stockholder. Is it credible to believe that Romney had time to spare for just a few board meetings, and he chose Staples over his own company? Seriously?