Was Romney's blighted spell at Bain three years longer than he admits?

 

Washington

Mitt Romney wants the election to be about the under-performing US economy. Alas however, the main topic on the campaign trail this week has been his business affairs, and yesterday brought more trouble: charges that he stayed on as head of Bain Capital, the private equity group where he made his fortune, for three years beyond his claimed departure date.

The allegations came in yesterday's Boston Globe, which cited documents, including regulatory filings, suggesting that the Republican presidential challenger did not leave the company in 1999 has he has maintained, but remained as chairman and chief executive until 2002, the year he was elected governor of Massachusetts.

The Romney campaign hit back immediately, labelling the Globe report "inaccurate," and insisting that the candidate had "no input on investments or management of [Bain] companies" after 1999. That had been confirmed "multiple times by independent fact-checkers," a Romney spokeswoman said.

True or false however, the claim is bad news for Mr Romney. Not only does it turn attention once more to his times at Bain, which the Obama campaign has turned into an emblem of ruthless vulture capitalism, buying and selling struggling companies for its own gain. It also compounds the murkiness surrounding the candidate's financial affairs, and the lack of detail about his wealth, that includes substantial offshore assets.

Polls show that despite the fuss, Mr Romney is still running more or less level with Barack Obama, less than four months before election day. Even so, the episode feeds into what many Republicans – and not just conservatives still unconvinced by Mr Romney – see as a broader problem for his campaign: that he is allowing himself to be defined by his opponent, rather than aggressively hitting back at President Obama.

For the last week, the headlines have been not about dismal new US unemployment data, but Obama campaign accusations that during his years at Bain Romney was complicit in outsourcing American jobs, that he pays too little in tax, and that he hides his money in places such as the Cayman Islands.

"There is still more about this period and beyond that he doesn't want people to know," said Stephanie Cutter, deputy campaign manager for Mr Obama, after the Globe story was published. "It's time for Mitt Romney to come clean, so that the American people can make their own judgements about his record and his motivations."

After his rough ride on Wednesday at the NAACP meeting in Houston, when he was lustily booed on occasion by members of the venerable civil rights organisation, Mr Romney was on friendlier terrain yesterday as he attended an exclusive fundraiser hosted by Dick Cheney at the former Vice-President's home in Wyoming.

On the campaign trail, Mr Romney tends to avoid reference to the last Republican White House, fully aware that neither Mr Cheney, nor his boss, George W Bush, are well favoured among the independent and swing voters he seeks to win over. But for the Republican faithful (and many rich donors) Mr Cheney remains extremely popular.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all