There are some pretty intense factchecking fights over what is true and not true about the Obama campaign's claims about Romney's record at Bain Capital. Media outlets are struggling with how to render a verdict; most seem to think Obama has exaggerated.
But one outlet has found a voice willing to deliver a judgment. CNN has published a column (7/16/12) by veteran pundit David Gergen headlined:
Facts don't support Obama's charges against Romney
This is, for Gergen, pretty strong stuff; he's a talking head whose head mostly talks about campaign strategy and the like. He's not one usually to call balls and strikes on political claims.
But you don't have to read too far into Gergen's piece to realize that you can stop reading it:
Let me acknowledge upfront what I have said several times on CNN: I have a past relationship with the top partners at Bain that is both personal and financial. I have worked with them in support of nonprofit organizations such as City Year. I have given a couple of paid speeches for Bain dinners, as I have for many other groups. I was on the board of a for-profit child care company, Bright Horizons, that was purchased by Bain Capital. It was a transaction with financial benefits for all board members and shareholders, including me.
So, yes, I have a bias. But let me also add how that bias plays out: I have come to admire and like the leaders of Bain Capital because I have learned firsthand that in a private equity industry, where there are obviously some predatory companies, Bain stands out for the respect in which it is generally held and for the generous philanthropy of some of its partners. Nothing I have seen so far has shaken that view.
So CNN wanted someone who's financially benefited from his ties to Bain Capital to fact check Obama's claims about Bain Capital. Wow, I can't wait to see what he finds!
And check out Gergen's style of factchecking:
When the story first broke Thursday in the Boston Globe suggesting that Romney and Bain had fudged, CNN asked if I would do some reporting. I reached two of the top people whom I know in the company and, on background, they told me the same story that Bain sources told CNN's John King….
So he called his friends at the company. On background. What a concept.