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Unsurprising October "Surprise"
Twenty-four years ago, in a divorce case involving the founder of Staples (one of the companies initially funded by Bain Capital), Mitt Romney was called
to testify about the valuation of the company. He did so; the court sealed the testimony from nearly a quarter-century ago, and gagged the parties from
flaming each other in public because of the nastiness of the divorce.
Now, Gloria Allred, a Democrat Operative with a law license, sought to unseal the records and to ungag her client, Maureen Stemberg, so that she could say
horrible things about her ex-husband – and Mitt Romney – to the press. The court unsealed the testimony but refused to ungag Maureen Stemberg. It
must be noted that the Romney campaign and Mitt’s personal attorneys did not object
to releasing the transcripts.
Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane. Gloria Allred was the person who unearthed the women who claimed that Herman Cain was trying to philander
with them, and the woman who alleged a long-term affair with Mr. Cain. She is an outspoken Obama supporter, who promised an “October Surprise”
to attempt to derail Mr. Romney’s bid to become President. She was a delegate to the DNC this year.
She also met with the President before undertaking to unseal the testimony
Ms. Allred claims that Mr. Romney committed perjury in 1988 – yes, 1988 – in order to protect his friend and business partner from a
divorce settlement. The nature of the perjury: Mitt is accused of under-representing the value of Staples to the court to prevent Well, Maureen Stemberg
received 500,000 shares of Staples in the settlement. She sold half of those shares before Staples hit it off big.
Maureen lives in a $5000+ per month apartment/condo, and
it’s lavishly furnished. Yet, she claims that she is destitute. As far back as 2006, she has been on the war path. From a six-year-old Boston Herald article:
“And now she wants her ex-husband, Tom Stemberg, whose worth has been estimated at upwards of $150 million, to dramatically increase his support,
guarantee health insurance forever and buy her another home in a concierge building. ‘I’m sicker and thinner every day,’ she says. ‘I’m
not asking for anything more than he did for his other wife and girlfriend.’ ”
Hell hath no fury like a scorned woman produced by Obama operatives to smear a political opponent.
The Obama modus operandi has been startlingly uniform over his entire political career: Take out better opponents with smear campaigns. It
happened when he ran for the Illinois legislature and Alice Palmer was swept off the ballot after she tried to win Mel Reynolds’ seat (that went to
Jesse Jackson, Jr.).
When Mr. Obama ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004, his primary challenger, Blair Hull, was leading. Then, divorce papers surfaced that accused Mr. Hull of
physical assault of his ex wife while they were still married. Sound familiar, Ms. Allred? Mind you that there was no actual proof, but then Mr. Hull
On to the Senate general election: Jack Ryan was winning. Then – wait for it – Divorce Papers surfaced from Mr. Ryan’s divorce
from Star Trek: Voyager star Jeri “Seven of Nine” Ryan. These papers alleged, again without proof, that Mr. Ryan had attempted to
force his wife to attend “swinger” clubs and engage in public group sex. Mr. Ryan left the race, and Mr. Obama handily defeated carpetbagger
Now, as Mr. Obama falls like a rock in the polls, and Mr. Romney is riding above the critical 50% mark in the two most reliable polls, Gloria Allred tried
to drop a bombshell designed to portray Governor Romney as a misogynist, who is willing to use perjury to screw over a poor little divorced woman and keep
his – ugh – male buddy rich.
Of course, Staples had not hit it big in 1988 – twenty-four years ago – when Mitt Romney testified as to its value. So did Mitt lie by
stating its actual value at the time? It is not perjury to fail to make a rosy prediction. What if Mitt had inadvertently overestimated
Staples’ future value, and the court gave Maureen much more stock in lieu of other assets, only to have the stock be worth less or even worthless?
Then, Ms. Allred would be out there accusing Governor Romney of exactly the same thing. Simply put, this kind of testimony can be twisted by an
unscrupulous attorney to always make the witness look bad. This is an estimate, not a perjury.
I point to the Romney camp’s lack of any kind of objection to the release of the testimony. This is good strategy; it bespeaks honesty and candor.
Moreover, the press is not covering this story. Drudge is covering the “October Surprise” angle, but surprisingly the “Democrat
Operatives with Bylines” are staying away.
This surprises me. There must be something to this entire line of attack that the press does not like. Perhaps the press has fact-checked the story and
does not think that it will withstand analysis by the blogosphere or Fox News. Perhaps the press has found out that Maureen Stemberg is not credible for
other reasons. Whatever the case, this October “surprise” is neither new news nor something that the mainstream press is covering at all.
If this were truly bombshell material, the press would have run with it immediately after the first debate. That is when to act to blunt Governor
Romney’s momentum. Now, it’s too late. Too few undecided voters remain to make an effective bombshell unless it is completely true and
absolutely solid. Therefore, it is likely that this story is a non-starter.
To summarize, a rabid Obama partisan comes up with a story that is a quarter-century old, and has been covered at least in part since 2006. The story is
not of Mitt Romney’s immoral conduct (none has ever been uncovered), it is in essence an accusation that he underestimated the value an infant
company in testimony given in a nasty 1988 divorce. Ronald Reagan was President when this testimony was given.
This is a cannon filled with wadded paper and wet powder and nothing else. It’s no different than Stephanie Cutter suggesting that Mitt Romney
committed a felony in a SEC filing with respect to Bain Capital: no truth to the accusation. I can see why Governor Romney is so calm about this.
There’s nothing to it.