Be wary of the rich, slick politician from Massachusetts, he might seem eerily familiar.
He flip-flops. He's super-rich. And he has nice hair.
Only this time it's not Sen. John Kerry, D-MA. It's Republican candidate Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts.
The comparisons are so similar Election 2012 pundits now compare it to the 2004 election which pitted Kerry against the incumbent George W. Bush.
Here's another similarity: Neither one comes off as likable-- not even to their supporters.
Even still, like Kerry, Romney has been heralded as the candidate most likely to defeat the incumbent even though he hasn't inspired or energized voters.
That may be why Republicans went through candidates earlier this year like they were Baskin-Robbins flavors of the month.
In the end, voters finally chose Romney over Rick Santorum, favoring the uncharismatic yet stable candidate over the exciting but controversial one.
But will Romney and Kerry also share an election loss?
Is Romney About to be "Swiftboated" with Bain Capital?
Eight years later, Democrats seem just as eager to "swiftboat" candidate Romney over his role at Bain Capital as opponents were to oust John Kerry in 2004.
The swiftboat campaign was led by veterans of the Vietnam War. They claimed that Kerry was unfit to serve as president based on his "willful distortion of the conduct displayed by American serviceman" and that Kerry lied about his own conduct in the war.
The ad was a major controversy and helped defeat Kerry.
Now in Election 2012 Romney faces a similar task in defending his tenure at Bain Capital.
Romney has tried to promote Bain as evidence that he could be the "job creator in chief." He claims to have created 100,000 jobs during his time there, but the purpose of Bain was to provide return on investment, not create jobs.
President Obama's Election 2012 campaign has focused on the fact Romney's claim includes many jobs added at Bain-held companies long after Romney left the company in 1999. They also claim that he has outsourced jobs and bought and sold companies with little care for workers.
Staples Inc. (Nasdaq: SPLS), which Bain had a rather small $2.5 million stake in, had 42,000 workers when Romney left, but he takes credit for the 89,000 employed by the end of 2010.
At Domino's Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) Romney claims to have created 8,000 jobs but Bain acquired the pizza franchise just two months before Romney left.
Romney eagerly counts the jobs added after he left but will not acknowledge the jobs that were lost while at Bain or after he departed.
"The steel factory closed down two years after I left Bain Capital," he said in May about GST Steel, the Kansas City, MO company that went bankrupt in 2001. "I was no longer there, so that's hardly something which is on my watch."
In 1994 when Romney campaigned for Senator of Massachusetts against Sen. Edward Kennedy he boasted that he created 10,000 jobs at Bain Capital. Were the other 90,000 jobs created over the next five years? The Boston Globe certainly doesn't think so.
"These days,Romneycan say he hasn't inked a deal in many years. Even during the end of his tenure at Bain, from 1994 to 1999, he played the role of CEO and rainmaker rather than delving into the details of buyouts," the Globe reported.
Furthermore when Romney ran for president in 2008 he never mentioned job creation, some have said because he was successfully attacked by Kennedy in the "94 election over jobs lost during his time at Bain.
Romney has been harshly criticized for his 2008 New York Times op-ed piece titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." Many have argued if that happened millions of jobs would have been lost.
Then there's President Obama's campaign ad which states, "As a corporate CEO, Romney shipped American jobs to places like Mexico and China. As governor, he outsourced state jobs to a call center in India. He's still pushing tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas."
Will these allegations stick? No one knows for sure.
But former Bush speechwriter Troy Senik warned in January the similarities between Romney and Kerry "are ominous for Republicans who think that the abject failure of the Obama administration makes retaking the White House a fait accompli."
Election 2012 will decide in just a few months.
Related Articles and News:
- Money Morning:
Mitt Romney's Running Mate: Meet the Candidates
- Money Morning:
Election 2012: Battling for the Youth Vote
- Money Morning:
Election 2012: President Obama at the Mercy of U.S. Economy
Is Mitt Romney the Second Coming of John Kerry?
- New York Times:
Tall Tales About Private Equity
- Washington Post:
Mitt Romney and 100,000 jobs: an untenable figure