Aborted fetus-gate: This won't help Romney with conservatives
|Anything for a buck. Absolutely anything for millions.|
David Corn reports:
Earlier this year, Mitt Romney nearly landed in a politically perilous controversy when the Huffington Post reported that in 1999 the GOP presidential candidate had been part of an investment group that invested $75 million in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm that has been attacked by anti-abortion groups for disposing aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics. Coming during the heat of the GOP primaries, as Romney tried to sell South Carolina Republicans on his pro-life bona fides, the revelation had the potential to damage the candidate's reputation among values voters already suspicious of his shifting position on abortion.
But Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded, tamped down the controversy. The company said Romney left the firm in February 1999 to run the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and likely had nothing to with the deal. The matter never became a campaign issue. But documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission -- and obtained by Mother Jones -- list Romney as an active participant in the investment. And this deal helped Stericycle, a company with a poor safety record, grow, while yielding tens of millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners. The documents -- one of which was signed by Romney -- also contradict the official account of Romney's exit from Bain.
Make sure to read the whole piece.
I doubt this will become much of a campaign issue now. The mainstream media likely won't pay it all that much attention (it's an ugly and somewhat complicated story) and it's not like Obama really wants to get into a row over abortion (unless he can use it to portray Romney as in line with the anti-choice, anti-woman extremists who run the Republican Party).
To the extent it gets any significant attention at all, it could hurt Romney among conservatives already uncomfortable with him as their party's nominee given his moderate past and questionable right-wing bona fides. If nothing else, it's another straw on the camel's back -- and possibly a heavy one at that.
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign can continue to tie Romney to Bain, portraying him not as a job creator, as he and his defenders would have us believe, but as a vulture capitalist who destroyed jobs (outsourcing them for profit, where possible) and ruined lives, making a fortune in the process -- one he keeps adding to in his post-Bain years.