Romney and Obama

With campaign season in full swing and several recent challenging days, on Monday Mitt Romney’s campaign put the gloves on and accused President Obama of “Chicago-style politics.” In other words, cronyism has led to a slow exit from the recession.

In a Los Angeles Times story, Ed Gillespie, a senior Romney strategist said to a group of reporters via a conference call, “President Obama has said the economy is ‘doing fine.’ Well that may be true if you are one of his contributors, but if you are a middle-class worker you are not doing fine.”

Gillespie added that with the Obama administration, decisions are “often made based on political calculations, as opposed to what’s best for the economy and we are seeing the results of that.”

Gillespie also said on the call there is “a very close, tight-knit correlation between political activity and government benefit.” While not citing any examples, the strategist said the Romney campaign would note several  examples of “Chicago-style politics” in upcoming days.

While Romney kicked off the new week with some fire, it has stemmed from recent questions by Democrats on when the candidate left his previous position at the private equity firm Bain Capital. In a July 12 Boston Globe story, it referred to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents that showed that Romney was still Bain’s chief executive, president and sole owner through 2002, not 1999 as Romney has maintained.

So why does the departure date matter? The Boston Globe noted that with Romney resigning in February 1999, he wouldn’t be held responsible for the Bain companies that either went bankrupt or got rid of employees after that time.

For the Obama campaign, it has said Romney should be liable for these activities by Bain from 1999 to 2002. On a broader note, it has proposed that discrepancies of Romney’s departure from Bain is an indication of his truthfulness and integrity.

Romney immediately responded by doing damage control on Friday; he allowed interviews to five TV networks to discuss the inaccuracies surrounding his Bain exit. He has said after 1999, he did not have a management role with the company.

But this action may not have helped him. According to the Los Angeles Times, when he discussed Bain’s ownership structure, such as general partners and investors, he may have not appealed to average votes.

Regardless of the date, President Obama is clearly showing signs that he is focusing on a smear campaign, and not a positive one (as he has little to show).

Show us the Tax Returns

In addition to the “Chicago-style politics” accusation, Gillespie also said on Monday that the Obama campaign was centering on “little things” to take attention away from the consistently high unemployment rate and the stop and go economic recovery.

But all of the attention on Monday wasn’t focused on Obama. Romney’s campaign also came under rising pressure, including from some of his fellow Republicans, to release additional tax returns. To date, he has only made his 2010 tax return and estimated 2011 tax liability public.

Gillespie addressed this on the media conference call and said that the 2011 returns would be released by Romney prior to the November election. In regards to the other missing years, the candidate has said his personal finances will be more transparent by  November when voters hit the polls.

Donald Trump recommends that Mitt Romney not release his tax returns until President Obama releases his college transcripts. Obama has refused to ever release the data,  giving rise to some conspiracy theories.