On Fox News Sunday today, host Chris Wallace may have thought he was playing the tough but fair host by repeatedly interrupting DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz as she attempted to answer his question about why Democrats are attacking Mitt Romney. But a closer look at his behavior strongly suggests his real purpose was to discredit attacks on Romney’s history as a venture capitalist - via the ridiculous comparison to President Obama’s role in the Solyndra bankruptcy.
Shortly before the 10-minute mark, Wallace asked Wasserman Schultz why the Democrats were focusing their attacks so much more on Romney than on other GOP candidates.
Wasserman Schultz said he deserves the scrutiny and added, “The fact is that this president has a remarkable record of beginning to get the economy turned around, of fighting for the middle class and working families and… Mitt Romney has no conviction, he’s someone who has flip-flopped on every major issue and voters need to know…”
Wallace, who had already been trying to interrupt her, tried again. “Let me ask you, you go after Romney for laying off people at Bain Capital… Is the president responsible for laying off the people at Solyndra?”
Wasserman Schultz said no, because President Obama was not the CEO of Solyndra.
“Well, Romney wasn’t the CEO of these companies either,” Wallace said. “The President was a venture capitalist. He put taxpayer money into Solyndra and a thousand people lost their jobs. So is the president responsible for the thousand people who lost their jobs at Solyndra?”
It’s a ridiculous apples to oranges comparison. The Obama administration provided loan guarantees to Solyndra that didn’t pan out. Waste of money? Cronyism at taxpayer expense? Possibly. But President Obama did not step in to take over the company and then decide that the way to save it was to lay people off. On the other hand, Bain Capital, the venture capital company Romney co-founded, actually acquired companies. Its “acquisitions often led to downsizing and layoffs,” as the Los Angeles Times noted.
“Not even close,” Wasserman Schultz correctly responded. “But Mitt Romney is responsible for being CEO of companies that he took over, that he dismantled.”
Wallace interrupted again. “He wasn’t the CEO.”
Wasserman Schultz explained that Romney had been the CEO of Bain which bought the companies. Before she could finish, Wallace interrupted her again to say, “The President’s the CEO of the country… So you’re saying the President has no responsibility for what happened at Solyndra?”
The conversation went on that way, with Wallace refusing to allow Wasserman Schultz to delve into the number of jobs Romney was responsible for eliminating by insisting on giving the false impression that there was nothing to be concerned about in Romney’s jobs record because Obama had done the same thing.
Here’s the bottom line: Solyndra laid off 1,100 workers, despite receiving a $535 million loan guarantee as part of Obama’s economic stimulus program. You could call it a questionable investment on the Obama administration’s part but it was in no way an attempt to enrich himself at workers’ expense.
On the other hand, here’s how USA Today fact checked Romney’s claim to have created 100,000 jobs through his work in the private sector:
Los Angeles Times, Dec. 3: "I never thought of what I do for a living as job creation," said Marc B. Walpow, a former managing partner at Bain who worked closely with Romney for nine years before forming his own firm. "The primary goal of private equity is to create wealth for your investors."
And then there are the job losses. Bain took over other companies where layoffs, and even bankruptcies, followed. Romney said that 100,000 figure was "net-net." So, whatever job creation figure one could use, we'd have to subtract jobs lost, such as 385 jobs cut at American Pad & Paper; 1,900 positions cut or relocated at Dade International; 2,100 workers laid off from DDI Corp.; 2,500 jobs lost at Clear Channel Communications; and 3,400 layoffs at KB Toys. Those examples come from Politico and the New York Times.
So no matter how you look at it, Romney's clearly responsible for way more job losses than the 1,100 lost at Solyndra.
Furthermore, Paul Krugman wrote:
The real complaint about Mr. Romney and his colleagues isn’t that they destroyed jobs, but that they destroyed good jobs.
When the dust settled after the companies that Bain restructured were downsized — or, as happened all too often, went bankrupt — total U.S. employment was probably about the same as it would have been in any case. But the jobs that were lost paid more and had better benefits than the jobs that replaced them. Mr. Romney and those like him didn’t destroy jobs, but they did enrich themselves while helping to destroy the American middle class.
Wallace never allowed Wasserman Schultz to finish her comments before offering RNC head Reince Priebus an opportunity to speak –and get the last word.
Eyewitless New. Long live Ron Powers. (And you know who he is, Chris, and why his article was in the Columbia Journalism Review so many years ago, you hack.)
Chris Wallace is not a journalist. He is a sold-out whore to Fox News. His lack of critical thinking, in action, is part of the evidence.
Fox News knows their only chance is to play association games to make Obama appear to be down at his level. Otherwise their normal fare “President while Black” falls flat. We’ll see how it takes.