Photo: CBS / Screengrab
Mitt Romney’s dissembling explanation of when he left Bain Capital bears a striking resemblance to President Clinton’s disastrous “is” moment during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which many regard as the lowest point of the Clinton Administration.
In the current Romney flap, the candidate has repeatedly said that he left Bain Capital in 1999. His SEC filings, however, indicate that he was the president and CEO of Bain for three more years. Those were years during which Bain outsourced American jobs overseas.
Here’s Romney’s explanation of how he left Bain in 1999 and had no role through 2002, despite filing as the CEO:… I was the owner of an entity which was a management entity. That entity was one which I had ownership of until the time of the retirement program was put in place.
“An entity which was a management entity.” It’s a statement whose meaning depends entirely on how you define “entity.”
Which was pretty much Clinton’s argument in 1998 when he asked his aides to lie about whether there was a relationship between himself and Lewinsky, the White House intern he had an affair with. He said at the time, “there’s nothing going on between us.” Under grand jury interrogation, he was asked about that lie, and he replied:
“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”
The saying virtually gave birth to the concept of Clintonian, meaning the kind of lawyerly nitpicking in which one says one thing even though the other is true.
By that measure, Romney now looks like true White House material.
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