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Romney: The calm before the storm?

“For four days (the threat of Tropical Storm Isaac notwithstanding) Romney and the Republicans hope to repair damage from months of negative TV attacks, move on from this week's furor over ‘legitimate rape’ and abortion, find footing in the economic issues that they'd prefer to talk about and leave with a head of steam that helps propel them through the campaign's final nine weeks,” USA Today’s Page writes, adding, “the former Massachusetts governor faces unfinished business in convincing Americans he's a likable guy who cares about their lives, and he needs to mend fences with critical swing groups, among them some women and Latino voters.”

“Creating a potential headache for his campaign, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said big businesses in the U.S. were ‘doing fine’ in part because they get advantages from offshore tax havens,” the Boston Globe writes. “His comments echoed similar assertions about the state of big business by President Barack Obama which Romney has criticized. They’re also a reminder that the GOP candidate has kept some of his personal fortune in low tax foreign accounts.”

Here’s what Romney said at a fundraiser yesterday: “Big business is doing fine in many places. They get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses.”

The Globe: “Romney didn’t mention Thursday that he has kept some of his personal money in offshore tax havens, including accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.”

 Flashback: “During Romney’s tenure as a Marriott director, the company repeatedly utilized complex tax-avoidance maneuvers, prompting at least two tangles with the Internal Revenue Service, records show. In 1994, while he headed the audit committee, Marriott used a tax shelter known to attorneys by its nickname: ‘Son of BOSS,’” Bloomberg reported earlier this year. It added: “Romney’s business experience is the cornerstone of his presidential campaign. Opponents have focused on his leadership of the investment company Bain Capital LLC and his personal income tax rate of 13.9 percent. As a Marriott director, his responsibilities included oversight over the tax planning conducted by management, according to a company statement. Romney’s position as chairman of the board’s audit committee for six years gave him and the other members responsibility to review financial reporting, according to Marriott’s annual proxy filings.”

 The New York Times: “Hundreds of pages of confidential internal documents from the private equity firm Bain Capital published online Thursday provided new details on investments held by the Romney family’s trusts, as well as aggressive strategies that Bain appears to have used to minimize its investors’ and partners’ tax liabilities... The documents, obtained and published by Gawker.com, do not specify the stakes held in the funds by the Romney family trusts or by other investors. But they highlight the range and complexity of Mr. Romney’s investments at a time when those very qualities have been the subject of the Obama campaign’s main attacks against him, including demands that Mr. Romney release his tax returns to clear up any suggestion that he might be benefiting financially from legal loopholes or tax shelters.”

“Mitt Romney says in a new interview that one of the reasons he's distressed about disclosing his tax returns is that everyone sees how much money he and his wife, Ann, have donated to his Mormon church, and that's a number he wants to keep private,” USA Today says. Romney tells Parade magazine: "Our church doesn't publish how much people have given. This is done entirely privately. One of the downsides of releasing one's financial information is that this is now all public, but we had never intended our contributions to be known. It's a very personal thing between ourselves and our commitment to our God and to our church."

“Storm or no storm, Mitt Romney will be nominated for president next week,” the Boston Globe writes. “With Tropical Storm Isaac approaching South Florida and threatening carefully laid plans for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, a party spokesman said Thursday that the convention’s primary goal will be accomplished, no matter what.”

“Mitt Romney’s success in raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the costliest presidential race ever can be traced in part to a secretive data-mining project that sifts through Americans’ personal information — including their purchasing history and church attendance — to identify new and likely, wealthy donors, The Associated Press has learned. For the data-mining project, the Republican candidate has quietly employed since at least June a little-known but successful analytics firm that previously performed marketing work for a colleague tied to Bain & Co., the management-consulting firm that Romney once led. … The effort by Romney appears to be the first example of a political campaign using such extensive data analysis.”

“Knock on doors in this Raleigh suburb and identify residents opposed to President Obama's health care law and his stewardship of the economy — all part of an ambitious voter-outreach campaign by Americans for Prosperity, a non-profit backed by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch that is emerging as one of biggest outside forces of the 2012 election,” USA Today writes. “The Kochs, who own an oil, chemical and textile conglomerate that Forbes magazine pegs as the nation's second-largest private company, have become the country's leading figures of libertarian activism. The Koch duo (pronounced "coke") has injected millions into an array of foundations, think tanks and political groups to spread their small-government, anti-regulation philosophy, which their critics argue matches their economic interests.”