What Mitt Thinks is Funny

Courtesy of TPM, from an interview by Josh Tyrangiel with Romney in Bloomberg Businessweek, he’s asked about the emblematic photo of him with his Bain colleagues:

“When you look at it now, does that photo of you and your Bain colleagues posing with money in your pinstripe suits make you laugh or make you cringe?”
“Oh, that was a moment of humor as we had just done what we thought was impossible. We had raised $37 million from other people and institutions who entrusted us with their funds, and we thought it was a miracle that our group had been able to be so successful in fundraising. And ultimately we were able to yield for them a very attractive return by such investments as Staples (SPLS), which was in our very first fund.”

Hilarious, right?

Also worth noting from the full interview, is this softball question, which elicits only an utterly unresponsive response:

“On the subject of leadership, why does Mormonism produce such a disproportionate number of political and business leaders?”
“I don’t know that I have an answer for you on that. I believe that people of faith by and large have a great interest in the institution of family and that a family is a great place to learn leadership skills. I’m sure I benefited by having a Mom and Dad, both of whom were actively involved in the community and in various enterprises. And by watching them interact with other people, I learned the kinds of lessons which serve me well. I presume that’s true for people of faith, if their faith, like mine, draws you to your family.”

Clearly, Mitt doesn’t want to say anything substantive about being Mormon or his Mormonism. Reading Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, which I am currently making my way through, I can see why. Like many religions, this is a movement with a blood-soaked history, and a bizarre theology–including so-called posthumous baptisms– that adherents to the faith nowadays would just as soon not discuss in public.

Finally, Mitt also slips the knot when Tyrangiel asks him about his tax returns:

“Let’s frame the issue around your tax returns in a slightly different way. If you’re an investor and you’re looking at a company, and that company says that its great strength is wise management and fiscal know-how, wouldn’t you want to see the previous, say, five years’ worth of its financials?”
“I’m not a business. We have a process in this country, which was established by law, which provides for the transparency which candidates are required to meet. I have met with that requirement with full financial disclosure of all my investments, but in addition have provided and will provide a full two years of tax returns. This happens to be exactly the same as with John McCain when he ran for office four years ago. And the Obama team had no difficulty with that circumstance. The difference between then and now is that President Obama has a failed economic record and is trying to find any issue he can to deflect from the failure of his record. Thanks, guys. Goodbye.”

The thing here that caught my eye is the “I’m not a business” statement. As Aaron Blake put it this afternoon in The Fix,”The man who once said ‘corporations are people’ apparently doesn’t believe the inverse.” Truth, or what Romney says, is all about what’s convenient at the moment, not what he really believes. This photo of Mitt lost in a cornfield accompanied Blake’s Washington Post story. Now that’s funny!

Mitt Romney talks with Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey, right, and farm owner Lemar Koethe in a cornfield in Des Moines. Charles Dharapak / AP

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