A lot of Republicans offered Mitt Romney advice this weekend on how to get past the stories about Bain capital and his tax returns, but Romney is not going to follow any of it. Conservative columnist George Will, Bush adviser Matthew Dowd, and Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol all urged Romney to release more tax returns, with Kristol laying out a three-step plan: release the returns, tak a couple days of bad press, and then give a "serious speech" about capitalism. But that is not how Romney wants to change the subject. Instead, he will reveal his vice-presidential nominee as soon as this week, The New York Times reports. And he's attacking President Obama for crony capitalism, saying 200 major donors for Obama's campaign were rewarded with appointments, federal loans and special deals, The Washington Post's Philip Rucker reports. The attack even has a catchy rhyme: "Obama’s Political Payoffs and Middle Class Layoffs." Romney will give a speech about it in Pennsylvania Tuesday.
But the attack has a snag, as Slate's Dave Weigel points out. The Romney campaign can only make this case because Obama discloses the names of his bundlers, the people who package together many donations into huge sums. Romney doesn't. He only reveals the names of people who gave $200 or more. That's why we know that Vogue editor Anna Wintour has raised a ton of cash for Obama, but we don't have a corresponding famous bundler person for Romney. Romney adviser Ed Gillespie had a conference call with reporters to talk about the new attack Monday, and Weigel notes he didn't have much to say when asked if Romney would reveal his donors. "The issue here is the, uh, not so much the appointments and that kind of thing," Gillespie said. "It's the contracts, the subsidies, the loan guarantees... Gov. Romney's contributors are made public, they're disclosed, and we're gonna continue to do that... we make public our donors." So as Obama is attacking Romney for a lack of transparency, Romney's counter-attack on Obama's transparency opens Romney up to a counter-counter-attack on transparency.
Why does the Romney campaign need to change the subject? There's growing interest in the Bain story among regular people. As Politico's Alexander Burns reports, Google searches for Bain are increasing, and the top 10 sub-regions for that search include swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina.