Electoral politics did not exactly suit Mitt Romney’s talents. The winner of exactly one general election in three tries, Romney has now joined the likes of Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and Al Gore in obscurity of the forcibly-retired section of the political hinterland. Read more »
If You Ignore Many Of The Issues That Contributed To Mitt Romney Losing The Election, You Get To The Stuff People Really Care About, Explains Wise Beyond His Years Investment Banker/Baby Romney SupporterBy Bess Levin
The young Wall Street Republicans filling an East 60th Street tavern were sipping grapefruit-vodka cocktails under flag-colored balloons when Fox News delivered election results that quieted them. “Look,” Matthew Swift said to A. Beaumont Allen, pointing up at a screen as Fox called Ohio for President Barack Obama. The two 26-year-olds paused as the TV flashed Obama’s re- election around 11:20 p.m. on Nov. 6. “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” the Smiths ballad with lyrics about a car crash, came on the stereo. A woman implored the crowd to drink. Concord 51, a political-action committee of young professionals, threw the party for guests who work in private equity, consulting, law, hedge funds and corporate strategy…Blake Saunders, a 26-year-old investment banker at Methuselah Advisors LP, stood near the bar. “When you push off all these different things that are always brought to the forefront in a primary election,” he said, “like social issues like gay marriage and abortion, if you get to the core of most young people, from 20 to 40 years old, their ultimate thing is they want to wake up the next morning and smile at their children and say, ‘I’m providing for my family.’” [Bloomberg]
Donald Trump Won’t Be Stepping Out With Mitt Romney Anytime Soon Because He “Doesn’t Like To Be Associated With Failure”By Bess Levin
When the campaign decided to go for it, they went all out. Staffers and surrogates lobbied their contacts in Trump’s office, and senior campaign strategist Stuart Stevens called a person close to the Celebrity Apprentice star and asked what they could do to win him over. The friend’s advice: “Flattery goes a long way with Mr. Trump.” And so, in September 2011, the candidate himself paid a visit to Trump Towers in New York City. Other GOP contenders had already made the journey to kiss The Donald’s ring — including Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry — but Romney was considered the most serious candidate at that point. Rather than hold a big press conference outside the building like others did, Romney slipped in and out of a back door, dodging the photographers lurking nearby. No one knows what was said behind those closed doors — only Romney and Trump were present — but whatever it was, the candidate had “charmed” him, according to a source who spoke to Trump afterward. The source added that Trump had seriously considered backing Perry, but Romney’s meeting put him over the edge. “I think it’s a rich-guy thing,” Trump’s friend told BuzzFeed…Would they stay in touch now that the election’s over? “Trump doesn’t like to be associated with failure,” the source responded. “Trump’s a winner. My guess is today he’s pretty disappointed.” [BuzzFeed via Heidi Moore, related]
Dennis Gartman, publisher of the widely-read Gartman Letter, is predicting that Mitt Romney will win the presidential election, according his latest newsletter. Not only does Gartman think that Romney has a chance of winning the election, but he believes he can win “quite handily.” [...] Still, Gartman points out that he could be “terribly wrong” with his prediction. [Clusterstock, related]
Julian Robertson Likes Mitt Romney So Much He’s Considering Letting The Governor Take Over The Number 1 Spot On Speed DialBy Bess Levin
A slot previously held by a certain Home Depot founder who’d better step his shit up next time he’s on CNBC. Read more »
Hedge Fund Manager Paul Singer Thinks
By Bess Levin
Paul Ryan Chris Christie Mitt Romney, His First Second Last Choice For The Ticket, Would Make A Great President
Let’s talk about two tenuously related stories about government filings, why not. I don’t have much to say about this Mitt Romney Bain thing today but go read it, it is fascinating. Basically Mitt Romney certified under penalty of perjury in some federal electoral forms* that he was not involved with Bain Capital after 1999, and he also certified under penalty of perjury in some SEC forms that he was CEO of Bain Capital from 1999 to 2002, so by the fallacy of the excluded middle (?) he is definitely guilty of a federal felony,** which sounds terrible until you realize that so is everyone else, really, because breathing air is a federal felony, but this is a different obsession of mine.
Anyway Dan Primack is defending Romney and basically saying “being the CEO of some old fund for SEC filing purposes is not the same thing as actually running a private equity firm, and you can tell from the fund marketing documents that he wasn’t actually running it,” which I suspect is roughly correct as a matter of his working life, and as a matter of acquitting him of felonies, though also not entirely politically palatable – “when I said I wasn’t involved with Bain Capital after 1999, I meant except for being CEO,” etc. etc.
Moving on quickly to the other piece of federal filing arcana: Bill Ackman is buying some P&G stock so he can sell shampoo at Burger King or something. Buy! Or sell! Or something. But the weird thing to me was: how often do you see a story that is like “activist investor is granted early termination on HSR filing”? Is “never” the right answer? Maybe? Read more »
You could have lots of complaints about the SEC but a fun niche one is that they trample on our fundamental American liberties like the freedom of speech. So, for instance, if you’re an investment manager you can’t really go around telling people how awesome you are at investment managing, even if you are in fact awesome at investment managing. The JOBS Act is changing that, at the margins, and I suggest that you show your support for freedom and American values by advertising on Dealbreaker.
But not by giving money to Mitt Romney! Because of this story in the Journal about how it’s hard for people employed on Wall Street to give money to him, at least in large quantities. The problem is that if you want to give him lots of money you run afoul of contribution limits so you have to instead give money to state Republican committees which, in a clever move, are in uncompetitive states so they can just shuffle money around to his national campaign, and his people will even handle the paperwork for you: Read more »
If you’re into this sort of thing you can go read Mitt Romney’s tax returns and learn (on page 5 of the 2011 return) that he is in the “independent artists, writers, performers” business, which seems about right. (But which one?) You can also learn that he’s doing okay, financially-wise, and some more specific stuff; tantalizingly, you can’t get a good picture of his returns on assets because his financial disclosure forms are so meaninglessly bucketed. Most crucially, you can learn that he paid about a 15% tax rate on his take last year. There is a lot you can think about this. Some of it revolves around the badness of taxing capital gains at a lower rate than labor income, which, whatever, not my beat. Some of it revolves around the badness of taxing private equity labor income as capital gains, which, I mean, I’m sympathetic to, but also not my beat, but in any case this income is actually capital gains. Like, Mitt wasn’t working at Bain Capital last year. He was just sitting around, doing his “independent artist/writer/performer” thing, collecting money from the other money that he got 20 years ago. That’s what capital gains is. Anyway.
If you’re really into this sort of thing you can also go read Newt Gingrich’s tax return, but you won’t, because the numbers on it are smaller and where’s the fun in that? But USA Today of all people actually went and read it and they found … maybe tax fraud? That was unexpected:
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At many, many points in your Wall Street career, you will encounter a basic quandary, which is, “should I behave like a douchebag here, or should I not behave like a douchebag at this one particular moment in time?” This question is hard because, on the one hand, behaving like a douchebag often brings immediate cash rewards, and can be fun; but on the other hand, there are longer-term reputational consequences to frequent douchebag behavior. Goldman Sachs has a name for its position on this trade-off, which is “long-term greedy,” and you can go think your thoughts about whether and in what circumstances “long-term douchebag” is a relevant substitution.
Speaking of long-term douchebags, William Cohan can NURSE A GRUDGE, man:
Yet, there is another version of the Bain way that I experienced personally during my 17 years as a deal-adviser on Wall Street: Seemingly alone among private-equity firms, Romney’s Bain Capital was a master at bait-and-switching Wall Street bankers to get its hands on the companies that provided the raw material for its financial alchemy. … I never negotiated directly with Romney; he was too high-level for any interaction with me. Rather, I dealt often with other Bain senior partners, who were very much in his mold. In my experience, Bain Capital did all that it could to game the system by consistently offering the highest prices during the early rounds of bidding — only to try to low-ball the price after it had weeded out competitors.
The complaint here is that Bain would put in high bids in early rounds of an auction for a company, and then when other bidders have been eliminated and Bain’s negotiating position was stronger, it would find ways to re-trade on price. And if you’ve ever worked in M&A, or, um, anywhere else, you are laughing hysterically right now at the notion that Bain partners are the only people who re-trade on price.*
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