Friday, October 05, 2012

Mitt's Huge Whopper!

Romney's huge gaffe last night
By Frank Quaratiello
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney waves following the first presidential debate with President Barack Obama at the University of Denver last night. (Photo by AP)

Republican nominee and former Bay State governor Mitt Romney made a little-noticed, but major gaffe in last night’s first presidential debate.

About 35 minutes into the Denver face-off, President Obama launched into a discussion of corporate taxes.

“Right now, you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas,” the president said. “I think most Americans would say that doesn’t make sense.”


Romney, who otherwise delivered an energetic performance that has led most pundits to declare him the winner, went a little too far when he responded and tried to trumpet his decades of business experience.

The GOP nominee, who co-founded Boston-based private-equity firm Bain Capital and has been blasted for outsourcing jobs and laying off workers at some of the companies he took over, tried to take the president to task.

“You said you get a deduction for taking a plant overseas,” Romney said. “Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

If he had stopped there, Romney might have been fine, but his next line was: “I maybe need to get a new accountant.”

The implication was stunning and crystal clear: Romney, who has been trying to dodge his image as a ruthless corporate raider, or his accountant would have known about any tax break for outsourcing — and would have taken advantage of it.

“The idea that you can get a break for shipping jobs overseas is not the case,” Romney added.

Again, the Republican’s implication was clear: I ought to know.

Experts tell the Herald that many corporate relocation expenses are tax-deductible and companies can take the deductions whether they move a plant overseas or just to a neighboring state. Maybe that is what the president is talking about.

One thing is clear from the Romney tax returns that have been made public.

The former Bay State governor’s accountant is very familiar with legal ways to aggressively minimize his taxes, so despite the president’s skepticism last night, maybe Romney can find trillions in tax loopholes — even if he says he couldn’t find this one.

frankq@bostonherald.com

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