Say what you will, Mitt Romney knows how to goose the news cycle. Julie Pace of the AP writes: “Creating a potential headache for his campaign, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said big businesses in the U.S. were ‘doing fine’ in part because they get advantages from offshore tax havens. His comments echoed similar assertions about the state of big business by President Barack Obama which Romney has criticized. They’re also a reminder that the GOP candidate has kept some of his personal fortune in low tax foreign accounts. ‘Big business is doing fine in many places,’ Romney said during a campaign fundraiser Thursday [in Minnesota]. ‘They get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses.’ ”
At the lefty site Think Progress, Travis Waldron writes: “Romney’s comments aren’t incorrect — if anything, they are understated. America’s corporations are raking in record profits and their chief executives are making more money than ever (American workers, unfortunately, haven’t shared in the prosperity). But if Romney knows that big businesses are doing fine, it’s worth wondering why he feels the need to shower them with massive tax cuts and make it easier for them to utilize the offshore tax havens he mentioned. … And while Romney insists that “we’ve got to make it easier for small businesses,” he ignores the fact that the very offshore tax havens he says are helping big businesses — the same ones he has used and would make it easier for them to use too — are hurting the smaller companies. America loses more than $60 billion to corporate tax dodging each year, and in 2010, making up that revenue cost the average small business $2,116, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.” Well, the solution there is pretty simple, small businesses just need to get bigger.
Jennifer Brooks’ story for the Strib concentrates on Romney’s fight for “the soul of America” comments. She writes: ” ‘This is a campaign about the soul of America,’ Romney told hundreds of supporters in the ballroom of the Lafayette Club in Minnetonka Beach.’ ‘I want to keep this country the shining city on a hill, the strong and vibrant nation that has inspired the nation and people all over the globe.’ … In his speech, Romney repeated a claim he made earlier in the day while campaigning in New Mexico — that he could make the U.S. energy-independent by expanding oil drilling and the use of domestic coal, gas and nuclear resources. Besides expanded drilling, which Romney pledged would lower energy costs and bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas, he promised to balance the budget. He said he wanted to get ‘education right, and that means putting teachers and kids and parents first, and the teachers union behind.’ He also pledged to block tax increases.”
As you might expect, Power Line’s John Hinderaker was in attendance for the Lafayette Club appearance by Mr. Romney, and to say he was enthusiastic about what he saw would be like saying a 12-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert is merely “having a good time.” Says Hinderaker: “It was great fun. The event was a big success, raising a considerable amount for Romney’s campaign. And how was Romney? Sensational. … how did Mitt do? The answer is, he was great. He spoke for 20 minutes or so, no notes, no teleprompter, totally comfortable with his material. He tossed in facts and figures here and there, but his themes were generally broader: the power of the individual, the Constitution, entrepreneurship and rewarding success, the importance of American power, and so on. His themes were deeply conservative, yet unifying. … He did, really, a beautiful job of weaving together the various strands of conservative thought. … As I listened to Romney, I asked myself: what better spokesman for conservative ideas have we had in recent years? … You can go back to Reagan, of course. Reagan’s style was more cerebral, less passionate. He was a great articulator of conservatism, but no better, in my opinion, than Romney.” I had to re-read that part. “Reagan” and “cerebral” … in the same sentence.
The latest from the AP on who the DFL is looking at to replace Rep. Kerry Gauthier: “Two write-in candidates — Democrat Erik Simonson, a Duluth fire official, and City Councilor Jay Fosle, who said he has been told he wouldn’t have the party’s support — have come forward, and others are considering campaigns. Local elected and party officials were moving forward on the assumption that the Democrats’ chosen replacement candidate for Gauthier would have to run a write-in campaign, with Gauthier and Republican Travis Silvers remaining on the ballot. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie’s spokesman, John Kavanagh, said there is no way for a legislative candidate to withdraw after the primary, which was held Aug. 14. But Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Chairman Ken Martin said the party is looking into legal options for replacing Gauthier on the ballot. It’s unclear whether that would succeed in court.”
Maya Rao at the Strib says Hennepin County is suing Fannie and Freddie: “Hennepin County has filed a federal lawsuit against Fannie and Freddie Mac, saying the mortgage lenders shortchanged Minnesota counties millions of dollars by failing to pay the state’s deed transfer tax. The suit seeks more than $10 million. The lenders acquired an unusually large number of properties through foreclosure in recent years and later resold them, the county said. But Fannie and Freddie Mac argued that they did not have to pay the fees to transfer ownership of the homes because Minnesota law exempts the U.S. or any of its agencies from paying those taxes, and the federal charter for the corporations says they are exempt from state and county taxation. Hennepin County is following the lead of Oakland County, Michigan, which filed a similar lawsuit and won. In March, a U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled that the federal law exempting those lenders from ‘all taxation’ does not refer to real estate transfer taxes.”
Apologies for not including this yesterday. A Bloomberg team reports: “Supervalu Inc.’s advisers are asking potential buyers to bid for the entire business, even as several suitors have inquired about individual parts of the Eden Prairie-based grocery company, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Cerberus Capital Management is examining a possible deal involving the Albertsons unit, said another person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. … One possible outcome is that a private-equity buyer will acquire the entire company, keep some of the chains and sell other pieces, one of the people said. There are interested bidders who would be willing to do the breakup work, this person said. Such bids would take longer to put together because the company would have to find interested parties for pieces of the retailer before approaching the company about a bid while respecting Supervalu’s confidentiality requirements.”
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will get microphone time at the Democratic convention. Eric Roper of the Strib says: “Rybak will be the second sitting Minneapolis mayor to speak at the event since Hubert Humphrey delivered a historic civil rights address in 1948. Rybak’s predecessor, Sharon Sayles Belton, delivered the party’s platform at the 2000 convention in Los Angeles. … In 2004, Barack Obama’s convention speech was a launching pad for his political career. So does Rybak have similar plans? ‘This would be a great thing for a politician who wanted to go somewhere, but I happen to be one who loves what he does,’ Rybak said.” But, you know, if something should come up …
Another Bloomberg story, comparing WalMart prices to our guys, Target, shows the locals winning: “Target Corp. … is living up to the second half of its “Expect more. Pay less.” slogan by winning the latest round in its pricing battle with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. … Target this month had lower prices than Wal-Mart for the first time since October, according to research conducted by Bloomberg Industries. The Minneapolis-based chain also led by its widest margin since the monthly study began two years ago. The study examined the gap in average price across a basket of 150 like items at stores within five miles of each other. … The second-largest U.S. discounter won this month by cutting into Wal-Mart’s lead in food prices. … Target’s improvement in food may have come because of more promotions tied to back-to-school shopping, Bartashus said.”