First results from New Hampshire

As expected, Mitt Romney has won the New Hampshire primary.  The question that remains at 9 pm is what his margin will be.  Right now he has about 37% of the vote with 34% of the vote counted.  Interestingly it is Ron Paul, who will not be the Republican nominee, who is second.  Jon Huntsman is third.

Two interesting facts I ran across today.

First, Glenn Kessler the Washington Post fact checker on Mitt Romney’s job creation record gave his claim of 100,000 jobs three out of four Pinocchio’s.

By all accounts, Romney was a highly successful venture capitalist. While running Bain Capital, he helped pick some real winners, earning his investors substantial returns. High finance is a difficult subject to convey in a sound bite, so Romney evidently has chosen to focus on job creation. 

This is a mistake, because it overstates the purposes of Bain’s investments and has now led Romney into a factually challenging cul-de-sac.

Romney never could have raised money from investors if the prospectus seeking $1-million investments from the super wealthy had said it would focus on creating jobs. Instead, it said: “The objective of the fund is to achieve an annual rate of return on invested capital in excess of the returns generated by conventional investments in the public equity market and the private equity market.”

 Indeed, the prospectus never mentions “jobs,” “job,” or “employees.”

When Romney made a run for the governorship, the Boston Globe reported in 2002 that he had not been involved in the details of many deals toward the end of his Bain experience: “These days, Romney can say he hasn’t inked a deal in many years. Even during the end of his tenure at Bain, from 1994 to 1999, he played the role of CEO and rainmaker rather than delving into the details of buyouts.”

 Interestingly, when Romney ran for the Senate in 1994, his campaign only claimed he had created 10,000 jobs. In one ad, a narrator said: “Mitt Romney has spent his life building more than 20 businesses and helping to create more than 10,000 jobs. So when it comes to creating jobs, he’s not just talk. He’s done it.”

Now, apparently, those 10,000 jobs have increased tenfold, apparently in part because of Bain investments in which Romney had at best a tangential role.

The Pinocchio Test

 Romney certainly has a good story to tell about knowing how to manage a business, spotting opportunities and understanding high finance. But if he is to continue to make claims about job creation, the Romney campaign needs to provide a real accounting of how many jobs were gained or lost through Bain Capital investments while the firm managed these companies — and while Romney was chief executive. Any jobs counted after either of those data points simply do not pass the laugh test.

Three Pinocchios

 

 

With Gingrich and Perry ready to pounce on Romney in South Carolina, I don’t think it is over.   I think the vetting of Willard is just beginning.

The seond item comes from Nate Silver who is live blogging for the New York Times at 8:57

Turnout in G.O.P. Primary Tracking Well Below 2008 Pace

Although the polls made pretty good predictions of the election outcome tonight, forecasting turnout is harder. So far it looks like rumors of a record Republican turnout in New Hampshire were greatly exaggerated.

With 85 of 301 precincts reporting, 52,191 voters have cast a ballot in the Republican primary so far. That projects to about 185,000 votes statewide, as compared with about 240,000 votes in the Republican primary in 2008.

The drop-off in turnout looks worse for Republicans since a higher fraction of voters – about half this year, compared to 37 percent in 2008 – are independents. That means that turnout among registered Republicans could alone be off by nearly 40 percent from 2008.

More on the campaign tomorrow.

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