Romney and Bain claim that he was not involved with Bain, but Bain and its portfolio companies in their required filings under the Securities Exchange Act continuously certified to the Securities and Exchange Commission say precisely the opposite--asserting without qualification that he was a controlling person, fully in charge of Bain, under the Federal securities law. Under normal circumstances, the question of the truth of this representation would result in an investigation by the SEC into possible criminal, as well as civil, violations of the law.Lying to the SEC is a serious crime, but of course the high probability is that any investigation will discover that he didn't lie to the SEC. What we know of his background suggests a businessman who would have been careful to know the rules, and whose character does not lead him to take reckless risks of this sort. It's far more likely that his recent remarks, which carry no legal penalty and which are the remarks of a politician in an election campaign, will be the location of any truth-stretching. That is also consistent with the charge -- opinions differ, even here, over how accurate the charge might be -- that his statements in election campaigns are aimed at what he thinks voters want to hear rather than the whole truth of the matter.
(Though from my perspective, the Obama administration's remarks are more damning than the probability that Romney stretched the truth for political advantage. What is meant by 'under normal circumstances,' here? Is the suggestion that the SEC will not investigate the claim? Are we to believe that the Obama administration will not do what it claims to be its duty, and if so, why not? Out of a sense of fair play? Do the Marquess of Queensberry rules apply to criminal investigations as long as the offender is a member of the political class, or just during elections? This is a serious matter, enforcing the law, especially when the rich and powerful are the ones who merit investigation. If Romney's remarks call into question the honesty of his SEC filings, as they do, then the investigation ought to occur.)
Tonight there is a rumor floating that Romney might choose Dr. Rice as his Vice President. I certainly hope that Allahpundit is correct in his guess that this is just a wild hare to distract from the Bain story. My impression of her from my time in DC was entirely negative, and I don't find her competent for succession to the Presidency nor the power it entails. I recall Cassandra saying that her husband had the opposite impression, though; but Dr. Rice has likewise come under sharp criticism from most of the people she worked with in the Bush administration, including Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and John Bolton -- none of whom are perfect (well, Bolton is close), but all of whom seem to have a common impression of her as not terribly competent, helpful, or principled. That aligns with my experience as well, so I tend to believe it is probably the case.
It's also true that the selection of a pro-choice VP would undermine any confidence pro-lifers might have that Romney's conversion on the issue of abortion is genuine. I would think a candidate who knows he is on thin ice with such a large and important part of his base would take some care to choose a running mate who was at least not opposed to them.