• Reading Between The Lines.

    Look, Mitt Romney made a mistake ever talking about the fact that he created 100,000 jobs. Bain Capital’s responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number. It was to make profits for his investors, most of whom were pension funds, endowments, and foundations. and it did it superbly, acting within the rules and very responsibly and was a leading firm.

    Sometimes you have to stand back and carefully read between the lines. If Think Progress hadn't brought up the following, I never would have noticed:

    Technically, of course, Ratter is right — companies’ only legal obligation is to create value for their owners. But as Rattner notes, Romney has built his campaign on claiming that Bain was actually some kind of altruistic job creation machine. Just this morning, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said, “Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as Governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation.”

    By acknowledging that “Bain Capital’s responsibility was never to create…jobs,” Ratter is unwittingly endorsing the entire message of the Obama campaign ads, which is that Bain prioritized profits for it wealthy owners over jobs and pensions for its middle-class employees.

    Unwittingly? I don't think guys like Rattner got where they are by making gaffes. Then again, how does that explain guys like Romney, Santorum and the junior Shrub? If it was intentional, the message may have been a bit too subtle for the low information set. Think about it: if the venture capital firm's goal was only to make investors money, then how can Mitt Romney stand on his claim of creating 100,000 jobs? At least that's what's being subtly hinted.

    Conservatives will counter that by stating how CEOs are just as responsible for job gains as they are for returns on the investment. Romney has as much claim to those 100,000 jobs as he does to his $100 million gain from loading a $5 million investment with $400 million in debt. I wonder if that means he's just as culpable for those job losses...

    Apparently not, as conservatives already found a patsy they could use to redirect the heat from Romney:

    Here’s what the Obama Web video doesn’t mention: A top Obama donor and fundraiser had a much more direct tie to the controversy and actually served on the board of directors at Richardson, Texas-based Ampad, which makes office paper products.

    Jonathan Lavine is a long-time Bain Capital executive and co-owner of the Boston Celtics. He is also one of President Obama’s most prolific fundraisers. He has already raised more than $200,000 for the Obama campaign this election, according to Federal Election Commission records.

    Lavine started working for Bain in 1993. He was one of three Bain executives who served on the board of directors of Ampad for several years, a post he held until 1999. Here’s a news release announcing his departure from the company in April 1999.

    Lavine’s placement on the board of Ampad suggests he had a more direct role than Romney in the series of events surrounding the layoffs, labor disputes and eventual bankruptcy of the Marion, Ind., factory featured in the Obama campaign video.

    Asked about Mr. Lavine’s role, Obama campaign spokesman Ben Labolt put the focus back on Romney.

    “No one aside from Mitt Romney is running for president highlighting their tenure as a corporate buyout specialist as one of job creation,” Labolt said. “The president has support from business leaders across industries who have seen him pull the economy back from the brink of another depression”.

    And, Labolt argued, Romney, as the CEO of Bain, would have been the one ultimately responsible for what happened with Ampad.

    “He made profit at any cost for himself and his partners by outsourcing jobs and bankrupting companies,” Labolt said. “From buyout to bankruptcy, Mitt Romney was CEO and sole owner of Bain. The managing director working on Ampad reported directly to him and has said Romney could have ordered him to settle with the union but didn’t.

    The CEO is ultimately responsible for the operations of the entire company. In other words, the buck stops with him. Except if said CEO wants to pass the buck to an unwitting subordinate. Mitt can't fire Lavine at this point, but he can try to have him stand in for the tarring and feathering. Quite a few people have already taken the bait.