Republican Mitt Romney is arguing America needs new foreign policy leadership, using President Obama's handling of the Middle East as an opening to criticize the incumbent before Wednesday's first presidential debate. In an opinion piece published Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Romney tried to show how he could be a better commander in chief as he accused the administration of minimizing the seriousness of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and other threats in the region. However, none of his ads running in the few swing states that will determine who will win the race mentions world affairs and instead are focused heavily on the economy. Romney plans to deliver a major foreign policy speech in the coming weeks and argued in the Journal that the United States appears to be at the mercy of disturbing developments overseas, instead of shaping them. "We're not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies," Romney wrote. "And that's dangerous." The first debate, on Wednesday, is focused on domestic policy.
Buried deep in the tax returns released by Romney's presidential campaign are references to dozens of offshore holdings based in the Cayman Islands. Romney, responding to opponents' barbs about his use of overseas tax havens, has offered a narrow defense, saying only that the investments, many made through the private equity firm he founded, Bain Capital, have yielded him "not one dollar of reduction in taxes." A review of thousands of pages of documents and interviews with tax lawyers found that in some cases, the offshore arrangements enabled his individual retirement account to avoid taxes and may well have reduced Romney's personal income tax bills. But perhaps a more significant effect of his offshore investments has been on the profit side of the ledger. Some offshore entities enabled Bain-owned companies to sidestep certain taxes, increasing returns for Romney and other investors. Others helped Bain attract money from foreign investors and nonprofits by insulating them from taxes, again augmenting Romney's bottom line.
NEW YORK TIMES
Republican Party leaders in four more states have fired a consulting firm hired to register new voters after suspect forms linked to the company were discovered in Florida. State party officials in Florida fired the company, Strategic Allied Consulting, last week. Party leaders in Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia also will no longer use the company, said Kirsten Kukowski, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. Ten Florida counties have discovered more than 100 suspicious voter registration forms related to get-out-the-vote efforts by the company. No questionable forms tied to the company's work have been found in any other states, Kukowski said. The company, which was paid $3 million by the Republican Party and hired 4,000 contract employees to register voters in the five states, denied wrongdoing and called the accusations libelous. The company is owned by Nathan Sproul, who has been involved in voter registration efforts since at least the 2004 presidential election. Sproul was once the executive director of the Arizona Republican Party.
NEW YORK TIMES