Who Lost the Bain Issue? Romney.

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 9 2012 1:30 PM

Who Lost the Bain Issue? Romney.

Dan Primack spent the 2012 campaign collecting flattering Bain-related leaks, stories that made Mitt Romney look blameless. I can understand why he's now searching for a reason that Bain hurt the candidate. The culprit: Newt Gingrich, whose Super PAC ran anti-Bain ads.

If even stalwart Republicans like Newt Gingrich had a problem with what Romney did at Bain Capital, then it would be much harder to dismiss the subsequent Obama campaign attacks as partisan, anti-business rhetoric. Instead, Messina's "grand bet" was really just sweetening an existing pot -- reinforcing a caricature first drawn by Gingrich. And the Romney campaign had lost complete control of its own candidate's image.
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That dastardly Gingrich. How could the GOP have predicted attacks like this?

My mistake. That ad was run by Ted Kennedy's campaign 18 years ago, when Romney ran for U.S. Senate. A child born that year could have voted in this election. And the candidate never figured out an effective, proud response to the charges, not even when he had a decade of distance between himself and Bain. He has no one else to blame for this.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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