The PJ Tatler

Obama Campaign's 'Mitt Just Might be a Felon' Schtick Earns Three Pinocchios

Glenn Kessler must be feeling kind. Speculating that Mitt Romney might be a felon, from a campaign headed by an admitted past hard drugs user connected to Tony Rezko and a pair of unrepentant terrorists, has spawned an entirely new species of chutzpah. That the Obama campaign is piling on top of that by calling Romney “secretive” when so much of Barry Obama’s past remains cloaked in “composite” characters and outright fiction, is head-spinning. The Obama campaign is jumping the shark, nuking the fridge and, well, we need a third metaphor for going so far that one becomes irredeemably unbelievable.

Anyway, here’s Kessler’s concluding riff on this week’s Obama campaign attempt to bury choirboy and church elder Mitt Romney in the political equivalent of cement shoes.

The Obama campaign is blowing smoke here.We realize that Bauer gets to the word “criminal” by mentioning “investigation,” but that distinction might be lost on most listeners.

Meanwhile, the weight of evidence suggests that Romney did in fact end active management of Bain in 1999. He stated that in a federal disclosure form he signed, under threat of criminal penalties. He said he was a “former employee” in a state disclosure form. A state commission concluded 10 years ago that he did, indeed, leave Bain in 1999.  Investors in Bain funds were told he was not part of the management team.

The SEC documents, especially the ones Romney signed, do raise some questions. One can certainly argue that because Romney did not fully extricate himself from Bain till after his Olympic sojourn ended, he should bear some responsibility for what happened in that period. But that is an entirely different matter than suggesting that he is a potential criminal. It is more of a PR problem, which the Obama campaign is trying to exploit to build a larger case that Romney is secretive.

We were tempted to award this claim Four Pinocchios, but the documents with his signature leave some room for inquiry. But, overall, they shrink in importance to the other evidence cited above. (Our colleagues at FactCheck.Org also reaffirmed their similar conclusion.)

Still, if the Obama campaign wants to put its money where its mouth is, it should immediately lodge a complaint about Romney’s financial disclosure form, filed just last year, rather than try to mislead people about potential violations in relatively unimportant SEC documents.

If you listen to Obama functionaries like Ben Labolt, as I did this morning when he appeared on MSNBC, it’s easy to tell that they know the Bain attack is fundamentally untrue. They know the facts aren’t on their side. But they don’t really care. Most voters don’t spend time following up on every single charge levied in political campaigns, especially in the middle of July. It’s all so much noise that creates mental images and impressions when it has any impact at all. The Obama campaign that rode in on post-partisanship and transparency is carrying out its “kill Romney” strategy to render him disqualified in enough minds, and to give their street shock troops talk and blog fodder when talking with their neighbors or social networks about the election in the coming weeks.

It’s also about desperation: Obama does not know how to be president, even after nearly a full term in the office. He does not know how to grow the economy or unite Americans or run a serious campaign, because he is not a serious person. He is a rigidly ideological man facing a hostile issue environment, for which has not one single solution or even the shred of a real, useful idea. If he had them, he would have implemented them by now. Barack Obama has literally never won an election purely on the issues, or his solutions, or anything of real meaning. He got Alice Palmer disqualified when he ran against her for the Illinois senate, he smeared Jack Ryan and was able to out-talk Alan Keyes to win his US senate seat, and he outspent and ran rhetorical rings around John McCain while also benefiting from the 2008 financial meltdown and McCain’s response to that. Obama’s history is of outspending and destroying rivals when he can, and that’s what he is doing now. With one catch: He can no longer outspend Mitt Romney, who is outraising him.

So he must destroy Mitt Romney while taking advantage of the divided Congress to push his agenda by regulation and fiat.