The President's Weekly Address:
... The transcript is here.
Debtors Prisons. New York Times Editors: in violation of their Constitutional right to equal protection, "judges routinely jail people to make them pay fines even when they have no money to pay.... This devastating problem has gotten far worse the past five years, the result of budget-strapped state courts looking for sources of revenue.... This revenue-oriented approach is made worse by the increasing use of for-profit companies to collect fees owed to the courts.... State judicial leaders need to ... monitor and discipline judges who continue to allow the poor to be imprisoned, flouting the Constitution, Supreme Court holdings and basic fairness."
New York Times Editors: "The House Agriculture Committee's farm bill makes unconscionable cuts to food stamps and free school meals while protecting powerful farm interests."
Callum Borchers & Brian MacQuarrie of the Boston Globe: Romney's account of when he left Bain has "evolved." "In a November 2000 interview with the Globe, Romney's wife, Ann, said he had been forced to lessen, but not end entirely, his involvement with Bain Capital."
Dave Weigel: "What confounds me about the Bain Capital/Romney story's current iteration is that there's such a long, uncontested record describing Romney's ties to the company through 2002." For example:
Romney said he will stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key personnel decisions. But he will leave running day-to-day operations to Bain's executive committee.(Greg Gatlin, "Romney Looks To Restore Olympic Pride," The Boston Herald, 2/12/99) ...
... Lisa Lerer & Julie Davis of Bloomberg News: "Romney is named as one of two managing members [emphasis added] of Bain Capital Investors LLC in annual reports filed in Massachusetts as late as 2002, adding a new corporate entity to a growing number of Bain-related investments and funds that list the Republican presidential candidate as controlling the company three years after he said he left it." ...
... Jed Lewison of Daily Kos: "A July 19, 1999 press release distributed on behalf of Regan Communications and Bain Capital described Mitt Romney as the 'Bain Capital CEO' and said he was 'on a part-time leave of absence to head the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee.' The press release, which announced the creation of a new private equity firm by two of Bain's managing directors, included a quote from Romney giving his blessing to the new venture. 'While we will miss them,' Romney said, 'we wish them well and look forward to working with them as they build their firm.'" ...
... David Bernstein of the Boston Phoenix: "In a controversial investment deal that led to a federal inquiry, Mitt Romney personally signed SEC documents reporting the sale of Bain Capital shares in 2000 and 2001 -- during the time when he was on leave of absence to run the Salt Lake Olympic Games. The Boston Globe reported in 2003, during the SEC investigation, that "Romney ... signed the SEC's necessary documents for Bain when his company -- and he as an individual shareholder -- sold their stakes in DDi in the fall of 2000 and in the winter and spring of 2001. SEC records indicate that Romney remained well into 2001 as a general partner in three of the four Bain funds that are involved in the DDi transactions.'" ...
... Steve Benen: "In 2002, a Boston Globe article quoted a former Bain Capital executive named Marc B. Wolpow who said Mr. Romney remained in a very active role at Bain Capital while he was supposedly on a leave of absence for his  Senate race. Wolpow specifically said of Romney's role, "I reported directly to Mitt Romney.... You can't be CEO of Bain Capital and say, 'I really don't know what my guys were doing.'"
... Jason Cherkis & Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post: "Mitt Romney's repeated claim that he played no part in executive decision-making related to Bain Capital after 1999 is false, according to Romney's own testimony in June 2002, in which he admitted to sitting on the board of the LifeLike Co., a dollmaker that was a Bain investment during the period.... In the testimony..., Romney noted that he regularly traveled back to Massachusetts. '[T]here were a number of social trips and business trips that brought me back to Massachusetts, board meetings, Thanksgiving and so forth,' he said. Romney's sworn testimony was given as part of a hearing to determine whether he had sufficient residency status in Massachusetts to run for governor." ...
... Alexander Burns of Politico: "Romney didn't mention Bain Capital in his testimony as one of the companies with which he continued to work while leading the Olympic committee. Asked whether Romney attended any meetings or participated in any phone calls for Bain -- as he did for other firms -- a Romney spokeswoman reiterated that the candidate didn't have an 'active role' in the company during that time." CW: sounds like a yes.
... Steve Kornacki of Salon: "Romney didn't start pushing the idea that he’d severed all ties with Bain in '99 until late in the '02 campaign, when Democrats played up Bain's closure of a Kansas City steel plant, a move that cost 700 workers their jobs."
For Romney, the Buck Stops Elsewhere. President Obama speaks with Scott Thuman of Washington D.C.'s ABC-7 News on Romney's failure to take responsibility for the actions of the company he headed. (Via Greg Sargent.) The text is here:
Charles Blow: "Mitt Romney's stories just don't jibe."
Gail Collins: "While he was in Utah getting the luge runs in shape, Romney was also still getting a six-figure salary for being a Bain 'executive.' Perhaps for Mitt, that was just the going-away equivalent of a monogrammed briefcase."
On Friday Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post "fact-checker," is standing behind his earlier determination that Mitt Romney left Bain Capital in 1999, and keeps giving Pinocchios to the Obama campaign. He tried to justify the earlier assessment Thursday, too. Here's the original assessment, dated January 18, 2012. ...
... Brad DeLong has 137 Pinocchios for Glenn Kessler: "In 2002 Mitt Romney decided that he had retired from Bain in 1999. Yes, you read that correctly. When Mitt Romney took over the Salt Lake City Olympics in February 1999, he intended to come back and run Bain Capital full-time afterwards -- and he wanted to make sure that everybody at Bain Capital knew that he was still the boss... and that everybody should be careful to make sure that their actions were things Romney approved of. Come 2002, Mitt Romney decided that he was going to run for Governor of Massachusetts. So come 2002 Romney decides that he had retired from Bain Capital back in 1999. Yes. As Glenn Kessler says: 'when Romney decided to run for governor in 2002, he received a retirement package that was dated Feb., 1999'." ...
... Andrew Sullivan in the Daily Beast: "Kessler bizarrely asserts that telling the SEC that someone is the CEO and sole owner of a company, when he isn't, is no big deal. He says that all Romney did was list 'a misleading title.' Misleading? Really? Either you are CEO or you aren't.... How does Romney attend board meetings of Bain acquisitions, sign six filings on Bain acquisitions, get a six figure salary as an executive, list himself as sole owner and CEO with the SEC in these years, and insist he was not 'involved in the operations of any Bain Capital entity in any way'? Bain went further and stated that in the period involved Romney had 'absolutely no involvement with the management or investment activities of the firm or with any of its portfolio companies.' All of this is a spectacular contradiction -- and yet Kessler, defending, one suspects, his own reputation, refuses to give an inch." ...
... Alec MacGillis of The New Republic: the reporting "of Kessler's own colleague [Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post] on pre-1999 outsourcing suggests that the Obama attack was more accurate than Chicago itself realized when it first launched the charge."
Dave Weigel: "Explaining why Romney himself wasn't really CEO during his leave of absence (when he was trying to save the American Olympics, for Pete's sake!) involves explaining some complicated corporation-fu. In the meantime, the Obama campaign can use 'outsource' in every other graf of its press releases, and ignore the Fact-Check squads."
Steve Benen has Volume 25 of "Mitt's Mendacity," & Vol. 25 has 25 examples of Mitt's lies of the week.
"The Sideshow Bob Defense" Jonathan Chait of New York: "Conn Carroll of the conservative Washington Examiner has what he considers a knock-out response -- if Romney is a felon, why hasn't Obama prosecuted him?"
The Incredible Shrinking Résumé. Ed Kilgore of Washington Monthly: "In a bizarre if somewhat predictable development, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a very prominent supporter of Mitt Romney's candidacy and a possible running-mate, had this to say today: 'Asked during a press conference here whether he thought Romney's experience at Bain should be part of his 'record,' McDonnell shook his head and said 'No. No.' ... I thought Romney's experience at Bain was precisely what Mitt's been citing all along as his principal qualification to be president. He hardly ever mentions his tenure as governor of Massachusetts...."
Randy Lobasso in Salon identifies another group who won't be able to vote under Pennsylvania's new voter suppression law: women who have changed their names, usually because of marriage or divorce. Lobasso cites an expert: "Only 66 percent of women have an issued photo ID with their current name." So it's women in transition, students, minorities, poor people -- I believe that's called the Democratic demographic. President Obama cannot win the general election if he doesn't win Pennsylvania. And that is the point of the law.
Amanda Marcotte in Slate: "Late last week, Gov. Nikki Haley [R] of South Carolina vetoed a whole slate of budget items, including half a million dollars for domestic violence and sexual assault prevention." Haley's justification for the veto: domestic violence & rape are a "distraction" from other public health issues.
Washington Post: "President Obama barnstormed five cities across Virginia this weekend, stepping up his attacks on Republican Mitt Romney as the two candidates demonstrated the hard fight ahead in a state crucial to the battle for the White House."
AP: "President Barack Obama is keeping up a drumbeat of skepticism over Mitt Romney's insistence -- displayed in a blitz of TV interviews -- that he stepped down from his private equity firm years earlier than federal records indicate. Obama planned another day of campaigning in Virginia on Saturday.... Advisers said he would remind voters of the discrepancies between Securities and Exchange Commission filings and Romney's recollection of his role at the Boston-based firm."
New York Times: As the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State came to light, football coach Joe Paterno & his family negotiated a new retirement package that was even sweeter than his previous contract provided.
Savvy! New York Times: "JPMorgan Chase disclosed on Friday that losses on its botched credit bet could climb to more than $7 billion and that the bank's traders may have intentionally tried to obscure the full extent of the red ink on the disastrous trades. Mounting concerns about valuing the trades led the company to announce that its earnings for the first quarter were no longer reliable and would be restated. Federal regulators ... are now looking at whether employees of the nation's biggest bank by assets intended to defraud investors...."
Houston Chronicle: "The state's argument for a voter ID law met with skepticism Friday from federal judges who questioned Texas attorneys about the lack of witnesses and the need to prove the law is fair to minority voters."
New York Times: "Richard D. Zanuck, the once-spurned son of the legendary Hollywood producer Darryl F. Zanuck who carved out his own career as a frequently honored producer, running up more than $2 billion in grosses and, by producing 'Driving Miss Daisy' in 1989, becoming the only son to duplicate a father's best-picture Oscar, died on Friday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 77."
Reuters: "Visa Inc, MasterCard Inc and banks that issue their credit cards have agreed to a $7.25 billion settlement with U.S. retailers in a lawsuit over the fixing of credit and debit card fees in what could be the largest antitrust settlement in U.S. history."
New York Times: "Syria has started moving some parts of its huge stockpile of chemical weapons out of storage, American officials said Friday, but it was uncertain whether the transfer was a precaution as security conditions across the country rapidly deteriorated, or something more sinister."
Washington Post: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet with Egypt's new president Mohamed Morsi today. ...
... Update: "Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton weighed in Friday on Egypt's efforts to define its post-revolutionary course, saying that the United States supports the country's 'full transition to civilian rule' and the return of its politically powerful military to a 'purely national security role.'"
Washington Post: Members of the public and Congress are furious over the Made in China labels on the U.S. Olympic team's uniforms. Designer Ralph Lauren doesn't have a U.S. manufacturer.