Martin Bashir | June 22, 2012
>>> we have breaking news of a sort. mitt romney has just landed in utah and, boy, is he glad to be back in the friendly confines of deer valley especially after waking up today and finding this front page story in "the washington post ." it appears that in addition to taking away the jobs of american workers, mr. romney 's private equity firm bain also played a pioneering role in shipping them overseas. of course the romney campaign is now disputing the story arguing the semantics of outsourcing versus offshoring. however, it is still downright awkward in part of big party mr. romney is throwing for big donors this weekend at deer valley . that's where romney supporters who have given at least $50,000 are now gathering for a couple of days of sheer luxury. it boasts a list of accommodations that's long enough to impress even the most pampered aristocrat, including individual hot tubs and signature bath robes. while all of this sounds really nice it probably isn't doing much to help mr. romney 's image as a job creating champion of the middle class so let's welcome back our panel karen finney, ken vogel, and chris hayes . the romney family 's connection to deer valley as you know runs deep because the private firm was established with a huge amount of money from his mother and father but i wanted to show you what he says about how he achieved success in this life. i think it is quite the revelation. take a listen.
>> you know, i've been lucky in things that worked out for me. i feel like a lot of it has been luck.
>> isn't that the central thesis of your book which i happen to have read, which is that the idea of ameritocracy and this young man setting up an investment of $10 million, it all came from his parents.
>> i admire that he is honest about the fact. that is in direct contradiction to his father who is running for president. in an environment in which we all praise ameritocracy so much everyone has to construct a story of it even when it is preposterous. mitt romney actually got up at and said i could have been the haefd the car company but i walked away from it and i went to harvard and earned every dollar i got. this looks ridiculous but it is a deep part of the psychology of the american elite that you write a story for yourself in which you have overcome and you are a success story even when the facts are like tag romney a lot of it was luck and privilege.
>> karen , i hear you laughing. isn't the singular truth here that compared with the president's actual -- he actually embodies the truth of meritocracy when you look at his history and the romneys as chris has explained it's just a fabrication.
>> barack obama is so out of touch being raised by a single mom and having to work his way through college, whatever. he doesn't understand, right, about out sourcing jobs. come on. i mean, to chris's point, so i would be so curious to understand in mitt romney 's, though i think my brain would hurt, you know, rationale of the world, how it is that part of being better in touch is having a better understanding as we learned in "the washington post " today about how to make a full business practice, frankly, out of out sourcing jobs. you know, one of the refrains we hear from mitt romney over and over again is i'm going to take these values and practices i learned when i was in the business world and apply it to being president. well guess what? he did that when he was governor of massachusetts and he did out source jobs when he was governor of massachusetts . so, you know, they want to have a discussion about the economy watch out. that's the kind of value system he is going to bring to america's economy.
>> right. to that point, the biggest excuse the romney campaign likes to make about bain is that he wasn't there when workers were laid off. he wasn't there when jobs were shipped overseas. doesn't this article prove that that is an outright lie? doesn't it show that mr. romney has no leg to stand on when it comes to his record at bain which "the washington post " has so brilliantly explained, shipped jobs overseas for fun?
>> well, certainly this is a weakness for him.
>> a weakness.
>> we saw a weakness in the republicans.
>> can you use an adjective that might be a little more accurate?
>> actually it's a strength in one way. he does actually have a significant record of private sector achievement and this company was successful.
>> he has a record of sending jobs overseas.
>> clearly that is the way in which it could be a weakness. and democrats are seeking to use it that way. frankly, it was actually surprisingly a weakness in the republican primary when newt gingrich really seized on it and the super pac supporting newt gingrich airing millions of dollars in ads hitting mitt romney , sort of framing him as a vulture capitalist who put profits over the needs of regular people in the south carolina primary before that and mitt romney lost that by a wide margin. i think that was a cautionary tale for the romney campaign and it was also sort of a blueprint for the obama campaign to follow. they're following it now. the super pac supporting president obama is really going hard after mitt romney on this and i think we can expect to see it more fueled by stories like this.
>> ken is right about the effectiveness of that attack in a republican primary in south carolina .
>> he is also right to a certain degree which is that mitt romney doesn't think there is anything wrong with out sourcing jobs.
>> that is the whole point. it's not something that he would be embarrassed about or opposed to. the point was he was supposed to go in there and with bain they were supposed to find ways of creating efficiency. if the efficiency was paying workers in china a tenth of what you're paying workers in muncie, indiana.
>> or, you know, outside pittsburgh, then that's what they were supposed to do. there is nothing from his world view to defend about that. he understands the politics of it looked terrible but what he should do is be honest. he should be honest and defend the world view that says that's a totally proper thing to do.
>> karen , this president has actually made it clear that he wants to introduce legislation that would penalize companies that ship jobs overseas.
>> well that's exactly right. think about this. here's the piece that mitt romney can't get away from. this is why they tried to marginalize bill clinton and why they are trying to fight back with everything they can on this bain attack. the most potent argument is the voices and faces of the people, the ordinary americans who look like -- most people will look at these ads or faces and say that could be my neighbor. that could be me. the people who lost their jobs that when mitt romney 's company walked away and he had money in his pocket or he, you know, shipped jobs overseas, people lost everything. they lost their pensions, their jobs, and those people looked like every day, ordinary americans. then what do you see? you see mitt romney hob nobbing with the 1% and an elite resort in utah . wouldn't we all love to spend a part of our summer in a place like that?
>> actually no.
>> playing by those rules of the 1%.
>> where karl rove is in the same room as republican party , you know, committee members and donors?
>> let me just say this as a final note. the other thing that complicates the strategy about bain is that there's a lot of democratic eleets, right, in the democratic party .
>> we've seen them come forward who think there is nothing wrong either. this isn't just a republican way of viewing the economy and that's a problem for the president. as they try to push this message --
>> but the democrats are saying --
>> these folks are big donors.
>> right. exactly.
>> that is what mitt romney , we see mitt romney in utah , what he is doing is what we euphemistically call donor maintenance. this is something that the obama team has really abhorde as sort of a relic of the clinton age and bush age, this sum educatipplication of donors. now they're waking up and realizing hey they need that money too and some of the attacks they continue to level are making it harder to raise that.
>> very quickly, karen .
>> the biggest difference is not a single democrat is trying to suggest that what they do at bain is job creation . that's the big difference here.
>> and that is the big difference. our thanks to chris hayes , karen finney, with the big difference, and ken vogel.