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Docs for Mitt-Linked Funds Exposed

Stakes accounted for millions in assets.

Gawker has published hundreds of pages of internal documents from companies linked to Mitt Romney, saying that the companies represented accounted for more than $10 million of Romney’s assets in 2011. While the site has not yet reported the information divulged in the documents, it says that many of the more than 20 companies have ties to Bain Capital, and are investments “made pursuant to an agreement with Bain Capital regarding Romney’s retirement,” according to his financial disclosures. The holdings Romney had in the companies whose documents were published brought in $913,000 in income for him in 2011.

Read it at The Daily Beast

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Separated at Birth?

How Romney Resembles Chick-fil-A

Both are second-generation franchises with a Southern clientele. Both oppose same-sex marriage. But the list goes on. Let Daniel Gross explain.

In the modern era, presidential campaigns are very much like large corporations. And in some instances, they take on the characteristics of well-known companies. The 2008 Obama campaign, for example, was very much made in the vein of Facebook circa 2008—networked, young, tech-savvy, idealistic.

romney-campaign-and-chickfila-gross

AP Photo (2)

So what’s the corporate analog for the Romney campaign? How about Chick-fil-A?

At first blush, the highly upscale Ivy League-pedigreed Mormon candidate may not seem to have much in common with the downscale southern-fried fundamentalist restaurant chain. But consider the following similarities.

Chick-fil-A is a well-known American brand that was founded by a charismatic, rustic entrepreneur with a hardscrabble upbringing who didn’t graduate from college. See Truett Cathy’s inspiring life-story here. While the founding figure looms large, the franchise is firmly in the hands of second-generation leadership. Dan Cathy, Truett’s son, is president of the company. Just so, the Romney name is a well-known American political brand that was founded by a charismatic, rustic entrepreneur with a hardscrabble upbringing who didn’t graduate from college. George Romney rose from a humble birth to become an auto executive, governor of Michigan, and Housing secretary in the Nixon administration. The Romney political brand is now firmly in the hands of the second generation leadership.

Jake Heller asks New Yorkers about Chik-Fil-A's political statements.

Chick-fil-A is huge in the South but doesn’t have any presence to speak of in New England, save a vestigial presence in Massachusetts and a token outpost in New Hampshire. Check out the store locator: its biggest states are Texas (264 outlets), Georgia (197), Florida (155), and North Carolina (143). Chick-fil-A has no outlets in Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, just two in Massachusetts, and a single lonely store in New Hampshire. The Romney campaign is similarly huge in the South. Polls generally show that he is generally crushing it in the former Confederacy and is making a strong play for Florida. Romney, like Chick-fil-A, doesn’t seem interested in competing seriously in the large market east of the Hudson River. Of course, he does have a vestigial presence in Massachusetts (where the campaign is nominally headquartered) and a token presence in New Hampshire, where he owns a large lakefront house.

Chick-fil-A’s expansion plans seem to rest largely on appealing to its existing base in rural areas and ignoring the vast new customer base that lies in more diverse areas. As this list of upcoming openings shows, it’s not particularly interested in densely populated urban areas or college towns. Of the upcoming 19 openings slated for later this year, two are in Idaho, three in Texas, and two are in North Carolina (although there are a bunch slated to open in California). Just so, the Romney campaign is largely focused on appealing to the Republican party’s existing base–the wealthy, the old, the white–and doesn’t  seem particularly interested in the vast new customer base that lies in more diverse areas. The latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Romney getting precisely 0 percent of the African-American vote, and a smaller share of the Hispanic vote than John McCain did in 2008.

Weak on Abortion?

Grassroots Fury at Mitt

Anti-abortion activists are incensed at the candidate’s claim that he wouldn’t ban abortion for victims of rape—and at his rejection of Todd Akin, who’s trying to capitalize on that anger with a fundraising push.

Jennifer Mason, the communications director of Personhood USA and wife of the group’s cofounder Keith Mason, is very disappointed with the way Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have responded to the Todd Akin flap. She’s particularly incensed by the campaign’s insistence that a Romney-Ryan administration wouldn’t try to ban abortion for rape victims. “Romney and Ryan have turned their backs on the Republican Party platform in cases of rape,” she says. “That’s a huge problem.”

abortion-rights-timeline-tease

AP Photos

Even since Akin introduced the phrase “legitimate rape” into the political lexicon, Republican leaders have been scrambling to distance themselves from him. Romney called on him to drop out of the race, and both the National Republican Senatorial Committee and American Crossroads, Karl Rove’s super PAC, have said they won’t support him financially. But the rush to reject Akin is infuriating the anti-abortion movement, which sees it as a further sign of Romney’s weak commitment to social conservatism. “For goodness’s sake, the guy won’t defend a chicken sandwich, let alone his own Senate candidate,” says conservative radio host Steve Deace, who recently co-wrote a book, We Won’t Get Fooled Again: Where the Christian Right Went Wrong and How to Make America Right Again, arguing that social conservatives have been shafted by the GOP.

Akin is hoping he can capitalize on grassroots anger with Republican leadership. On Wednesday an appeal on his fundraising page for his Missouri Senate bid said: “Join us as we fight back against the party bosses. Help us raise $24,000 in 24 hours!” By late afternoon he’d exceeded that by several thousand dollars. A few minutes later the site set a new goal—$100,000 by midnight. On Thursday morning Akin announced that they beat it, with thousands of people donating.

Akin tells ABC News he's not dropping his bid for Missouri State Senate.

To outsiders, the anti-abortion movement’s disaffection with the Republican Party might seem odd. After all, in Ryan, Romney has chosen a running mate with a 100 percent lifetime voting record from the National Right to Life Committee—slightly better, as it happens, than Akin, who only scored 90 percent during one of his terms in Congress. As Mason mentioned, the 2012 GOP platform once again calls for prohibiting abortion without exception. Besides, aside from the American Family Association’s ever-inflammatory Bryan Fischer, few in the anti-abortion movement are interested in defending Akin’s ridiculous assertions about female reproductive biology.

Yet if there’s one thing that pro-choice and anti-abortion activists agree on, it’s that the Akin uproar isn’t just about his suggestion that trauma prevents pregnancy. It’s also about his desire to ban abortion even for rape victims. Many Republicans, including Ryan, share that position. But the Romney campaign, knowing how unpopular it is, badly wants to deflect attention from that fact, which is why there’s such a concerted effort to shove Akin aside. Anti-abortion activists note, correctly, that while Republican leaders pander to them, they would prefer to do so without publicity. If Romney is embarrassed by Akin, it’s partly because he’s embarrassed by his own party’s far-right base.

“We expect liberals to lie, spin, and twist, but why should conservatives wage a propaganda attack against a man holding the very position of the National Right to Life on rape-related abortion?” writes Joel McDurmon, the director of research at American Vision, a group devoted to creating “an America that recognizes the sovereignty of God over all of life.” His answer: “Politicians like Akin, who represent the clear contrast and strong conservatism desired by the tea party, are a real threat to the old Northeastern establishment Republicans like Romney. And thus that establishment savages him—violently and in unison. Call it a political gang rape—a legitimate one.”

Party Time

Republicans Head to Tampa

Grassroots Fury at Mitt

Grassroots Fury at Mitt

Michelle Goldberg on the anger at Romney’s pledge to allow abortions for rape victims—and his Akin rebuff.

Hurricane Watch

Republicans Brace for a Storm

Marrriage Equality

More Evolution Needed on GOP Marriage Platform

The Mortgage-Interest Deduction

A Very Significant Tea Leaf in the GOP Platform

Michael Tomasky

The GOP Had Akin Coming

The GOP Had Akin Coming

It was only a matter of time before voters learned how extreme the party has become, says Michael Tomasky.

Extreme Convention Makeover

Extreme Convention Makeover

The political parties’ quadrennial gatherings are dull and corrupt. David Frum on how to fix them.

Is Ryan a Ticking Time Bomb?

Is Ryan a Ticking Time Bomb?

He’s getting glowing press, but journalists are just starting to examine his record. By Howard Kurtz.