Three Days, Three Scandals, One Bottom Line: Romney Not Ready for Prime Time
WASHINGTON, March 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Democratic National Committee: It's been a revealing week for smooth talking Mitt Romney. Every day, his campaign has walked right into the sort of scandal that penetrates his smooth talk and shows that he's just not ready for prime time. On Monday, Cuban American activists blasted Romney for quoting Fidel Castro's traditional sign- off line "patria o muerte, venceremos" -- a "Communist rallying cry" that means "Fatherland or death, we shall overcome." The incident prompted one local activist to call him an "empty suit," while others blasted his lack of preparation on Cuban issues. [Miami Herald, 3/20/07; Boston Herald, 3/21/07] On Tuesday, reports linked Romney's national finance co-chair and the co- chair of Romney's Commonwealth PAC, John Rakolta, to a Michigan group that funded hate-filled campaign ads featuring images of Adolph Hitler and a swastika alongside leading Democrats like Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Presidents Clinton, Carter, Johnson, and Roosevelt. [AP, 3/20/07] Today, The Politico revealed that three leaders of his "Lawyers for Romney" fundraising arm worked for scandal-plagued Attorney General Alberto Gonzales when he was White House counsel, including one who has been directly linked to emails concerning Karl Rove's involvement in the politically- motivated firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. [Politico.com, 3/21/07] The news comes barely a week after Romney backed Gonzales on Larry King Live, saying it was too soon to determine whether he should be fired, which raises the question of whether this explains Romney's support for Gonzales, and whether these three former White House lawyers were vetted to see if they played any role in the Attorneys' firings. [Larry King Live, 3/15/07 "This week, Mitt Romney has given the voters a revealing look at the real candidate behind all the smooth talk," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "Simply put, smooth talking Mitt Romney's blunders this week suggest that he just isn't ready for prime time. If Romney can't even vet his fundraisers to make sure they aren't funding hate-mongering attack ads, make sure they are aren't linked to the Bush Administration's scandals, or accurately prepare for a speech in Miami, how can the voters possibly trust him to run our country?" The following is a fact sheet on Romney's rough week: ROMNEY'S ROUGH WEEK: Wednesday -- Romney Fundraisers Linked to U.S. Attorneys Scandal Emails Link Romney Event Co-Host To Controversy Surrounding U.S. Attorney Firings. Emails released by the Justice Department shows direct involvement by "Lawyers for Romney" event host David Leitch in the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys. The email says, "David - Karl Rove stopped by to ask you (roughly quoting) 'how we planned to proceed regarding US Attorneys, whether we were going to allow all to stay, request resignations from all and accept only some of them, or selectively replace them, etc.' I told him that you would be on the hill all day for the Judge's hearing, and he said the matter was not urgent." [Email from Colin Newman, Office of White House Counsel, to David Leitch, Deputy White House Counsel, 1/9/05] Three Co-Hosts of "Lawyers for Romney" Event were Gonzalez Deputies During Run-up to Firings. Brad Berenson, Timothy Flanigan, and David Leitch--all former deputies to then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales- are co-hosts of an upcoming "Lawyers for Romney" kick-off event. Leitch, who remained at the White House after Gonzales went over to DOJ, was the official whose name has popped up in the January 2005 email titled "'Questions from Karl Rove' regarding how to deal with U.S. Attorneys in Bush's second term. Leitch forwarded the message, sent from another White House aide, over to Kyle Sampson, Gonzales's recently departed Chief of Staff." Brad Berenson now represents Sampson. [Jonathan Martin's Blog, Politico, 3/20/07] Romney: We Should Not Rush to Judge Gonzalez. Romney told Larry King, "We collect facts and interview witnesses before we convict. And we don't have that information yet." [Larry King Live, CNN, 3/15/07] Tuesday -- Romney Finance Co-Chair Funded Group Linked to Hitler Ad Voice the Vote PAC Produced Ad Comparing Democrats to Adolf Hitler. In 2006, the Detroit-based political action committee Voice the Vote ran an ad in the Michigan Chronicle newspaper that featured photographs of Hitler, Jennifer Granholm and former Democratic presidents. The ad claimed Granholm was the latest of a growing list of Democratic politicians to take the black vote for granted. [Detroit Free Press, 3/15/07] -- Voice the Vote Bankrolled by Rakolta and Cummings Families. Detroit political consultant Adolph Mongo solicited contributions from the families of John Rakolta and Peter Cummings to fund Voice the Vote political action committee. John Rakolta and his wife each donated $5,000 to Voice the Vote. The Cummings each contributed $5,000 to the group. [Detroit Free Press, 3/15/07] -- John Rakolta Named as National Finance Co-Chair for the Romney Campaign. Romney named John Rakolta, Jr., as National Finance Co-Chair. Rakolta serves on Romney's Florida statewide Finance Steering Committee. John Rakolta is also Scott Romney's former brother-in-law. [Romney Press Release, 2/22/07; Associated Press, 1/5/07; Boston Globe, 9/24/05] Monday -- Romney Blasted For Botched Cuban Outreach "Empty Suit" Romney Embraces Castro Rhetoric. Romney triggered outrage in Miami by quoting Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's traditional sign-off line "patria o muerte, venceremos" -- a "Communist rallying cry" which means "Fatherland or death, we shall overcome." The incident and Romney's woeful explanation of it prompted one local activist to call him an "empty suit," while others criticized his lack of preparation on Cuban issues. [Miami Herald, 3/20/07; Boston Herald, 3/21/07] Romney Response Worsens Scandal, Claimed Castro Phrase Belongs to "Free Cuba." Scholars and prominent Cubans said "Patria o muerte, venceremos" has always been a Communist rallying cry and that it represents the oppressive regime of Fidel Castro. Florida state Representative Rene Garcia said, "It means communism. It means Fidel Castro. It's a Communist catch phrase." However, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said, "The phrase belongs to liberators, not oppressors. It doesn't belong to Fidel Castro. It doesn't belong to Hugo Chavez. It belongs to a free Cuba." Garcia said Romney was "ill-advised" to mention the saying, especially at the epicenter of the Cuban- American struggle. Garcia said, "When you come into our community, you should be a little better-prepared." He added that Romney's comments "left a negative taste with local officials." [Boston Herald, 3/20/07] Romney Offended Cuban Americans with Stereotypical Comments. Romney delivered a speech to the Miami-Dade Republican Party that was heavy on anti- communist rhetoric but full of errors. First, he condemned the Venezuelan president who has embraced Castro. Romney said, "Hugo Chavez has tried to steal an inspiring phrase -- Patria o muerte, venceremos. It does not belong to him. It belongs to a free Cuba." Actually, the quote belongs to Castro who is abhorred in the Cuban American community. The quote, for many Cuban Americans, represents the oppressive regime of Fidel Castro. Then, "he punctuated his speech with 'Libertad, libertad, libertad!' to show his support for freedom in Cuba. But to some, he was echoing a line from Scarface, a movie notorious for its stereotyped portrayal of Cuban immigrants." [Miami Herald, 3/19/07] Paid for and authorized by the Democratic National Committee, http://www.democrats.org. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
SOURCE Democratic National Committee
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