About Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is an attorney for venture capitalists and their portfolio companies by day, husband and father of three teenage boys by night. He's an avid supporter of Mitt Romney for president and, as a graduate of Brigham Young University, a BYU football and basketball fan. Paul also enjoys competing in triathlons. Because he's in the "Clydesdale" (over 200 lb.) class, he has even had podium finishes from time to time. Paul also has the distinction of being a big enough U2 fan to be willing to travel to Dublin to see them in their native environment.

Must See Post-Debate Ad: Smirk

There’s a lot we can say about how well Governor Romney did last night. But it still comes down to a choice, and this ad sums up, in Mitt’s own words, why we need to elect him and reverse course from the last four years. Obama was unable to defend himself after avoiding serious questions about his policies for so long. The press has been accommodating to Obama, but it cost him last night as he was unprepared to respond when confronted with reality:

Mitt did his part. He worked hard and out-prepped the incumbent president (anyone want to hire John Kerry for debate prep?). Now we must do ours. Go to www.mittromney.com and click “In Your Community” and look at the options to get involved. Making calls is incredibly easy. Our leader is leading. Let’s follow him to victory.

More Voices Join: Romney Right on Best Way to Save Auto Industry

I said in my prior post that Mitt often comes to the right answer a couple beats before others do. Today’s Detroit News features an op ed from Hal Sperlich, a former president of Chrysler from 1984-88 and a member of the Automotive Hall of Fame, entitled “Romney was Right on Detroit Bankruptcy.” This article illustrates the point.

The entirety of Mr. Sperlich’s piece is below, but highlighted below are a few critical points we have made here on this site previously:

1. Obama’s assertion he saved the US auto industry while Governor Romney would have let it go under is simply not true.

2. Obama’s plan mirrored Mitt’s plan, with a couple key differences:

* Obama used $80 billion in taxpayer cash, about $25 billion is still at risk.

* Mitt’s “far superior” plan would have only guaranteed automaker obligations, not offered cash.

* Mitt’s plan would have built competitiveness, the key to long term success.

3. Mitt was not proposing abandoning the auto industry, that’s only an Obama soundbite. Mitt’s plan would have been less expensive and more successful.

Here’s the entire piece.

No, Mitt didn’t want to abandon the US auto industry. He wanted to save it, and his plan was better and cheaper:

Romney was right on Detroit bankruptcy
By Hal Sperlich

President Barack Obama alleges that he saved the U.S. auto industry, whereas Gov. Mitt Romney would have let the U.S. automakers go under.

Not true.

In an op-ed piece in the New York Times dated Nov. 18, 2008, Romney proposed a plan to enable GM and Chrysler to survive as strong competitors through a managed bankruptcy.

Four months later, the Obama administration proposed a similar managed bankruptcy, but with two very important differences.

The Obama administration proposed a very costly bailout of the two companies with $80 billion of taxpayer cash, a process started by President George W. Bush with $17 billion of TARP money. Close to $25 billion of those taxpayer funds remain uncollected, still tarnishing the GM brand with the label “Government Motors.”

The Romney plan was far superior.

First, it proposed using government guaranteed private financing, similar to what we did with Chrysler back in 1980, not massive quantities of precious taxpayer cash, as was done by the Obama administration. Second, as a man who has led many business and public sector turnarounds, Romney recognized that the auto companies not only had to survive the crisis, but they had to build the strength to allow them to be stronger competitors in the years to follow.

Let me digress for a moment to make a point. I was privileged to be in a leadership role during the Lee Iacocca led Chrysler turnaround that began in 1980. In fairly short order, we converted the world’s least competitive auto company into one of the most competitive. America’s first fuel-efficient front wheel drive cars, along with innovations like the first mini-vans, replaced the obsolete. Market share increased 50 percent by 1988 and, with dramatically improved costs, great labor management cooperation, major quality improvements and shared sacrifice from everyone, Chrysler became competitive and highly profitable. We baked a bigger pie so that all could share, including customers, shareholders and the folks who built the products.

That’s what competiveness does.

Just about every businessman will tell you it begins with competitiveness. If you do it better than the guy down the street, you will generate growth and jobs. If we do it better than the people in the next country, we will have more jobs here in America. It’s that simple. Competitiveness is the foundation for the prosperity we seek.

Romney understands this. He would not have abandoned GM, Chrysler and all their employees. In the end, either the Obama or the Romney approach would have provided the companies the support necessary to move forward.

But the Romney plan would have spared the taxpayer the billions invested by the Obama administration in the bailouts. Further, the more aggressive approach to new levels of efficiency proposed by Romney would have left the companies significantly more competitive.

As a result, the companies would have been better positioned to provide the long-term job security for their employees that only true competitiveness can guarantee, and to grow, adding thousands of new high paying American jobs.

In his November 2008 op-ed, Romney said, “Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.”

In a way, I believe the same can be said of America at this point.

We don’t need to continue borrowing money we may never be able to repay.

America needs a turnaround.

America needs to become more competitive.

Romney understands this at a deep level and his policies are designed to enable a more robust and competitive America.

That’s what experienced leadership is all about.

UPDATE: An astute reader also caught the following post, also in the Detroit News’ op ed section: Delphi debacle spoils Obama bailout boast. One key quote:

When President Barack Obama uses the first of three debates Wednesday to tout his bailout of Detroit’s auto industry, as he surely will, Republican challenger Mitt Romney should be ready with a single number:

22,000.

That’s how many salaried retirees of the old Delphi Corp. saw their pension fund seized by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. at the behest, documents suggest, of an Obama Treasury Department that ensured no such thing happened to the Troy-based auto supplier’s unionized workers and retirees.

Even worse, as the president and his proxies hail the auto bailouts as a cornerstone of an otherwise dismal economic record, they’re slow-walking congressional demands to explain fully why taxpayer dollars were used to favor the pensions of Delphi’s union employees over their salaried counterparts — many of them located in the politically critical battleground state of Ohio.

Obama Administration Caught “Dissembling”

Since September 11, 2021 there’s been confusion in the press and in the public’s mind about whether the attack on an American facility in Benghazi, Libya was the result of a spontaneous protest or an organized terrorist effort. As you know, in that attack four Americans lost their lives, including, for the first time since the Carter administration, an American ambassador.

That confusion is solely the responsibility of the Obama administration. It began when embassy officials in Egypt blamed a video deemed offensive to many Muslims for violence in Cairo. It continued as administration officials made inconsistent comments about the events in Libya, first blaming the same video, then blaming terrorists, then blaming the video again. Different stories came from different parts of the administration, with the president even taking inconsistent positions on subsequent days. No wonder there was confusion.

But in major developments over the past two days, the Obama administration has now officially changed its tune and called the Libyan attacks “terrorism.” The question then is why, as this timeline of events shows, the Obama administration not only blamed the video for events in Libya without much evidence, it then held to that story long after it had become clear what really happened. In the words of Jennifer Rubin, this means the administration “dissembled.” That’s a nice word for lied.

This comprehensive video timeline from Fox is very useful to see who said what when.

As stated in the video, the administration is now admitting Benghazi was a terrorist attack, but the timelines and extraneous evidence (including a collection of different media outlets reporting) show they knew this much earlier than they let on. Only in the last couple days have they finally abandoned the irresponsible blaming of the video (that arguably resulted in the video becoming much wider known than it would have otherwise). So, this is the most transparent presidency ever? But with this hesitant, fits and starts choosing of the explanation for events in Libya, the natural question is who knew what, and when. And did the administration really lie?

Apologists for the administration try and blame the “fog of war,” the confusion that results when things are moving quickly, as Geraldo Rivera did on Fox:

But in the absence of other information, it’s just as easy to conclude the White House avoided or hid the truth because the events in Libya laid bare a number of administration mistakes. Mistakes in foreign policy, mistakes in philosophy, mistakes in failing to provide protection, and others. Most critical, the Libyan attack proved false Obama’s naive claim, trumpeted in Charlotte, that due to his administration Al Qaeda is in retreat. Whatever the reason for the “dissembling,” that myth has been shattered, and coming to grips with the reality that the United States suffered another terrorist attack, from Al Qaeda, on September 11 raises doubts about other previously unquestioned Obama assertions the world is safer and better off under his presidency. Now the evidence in front of us is clearly to the contrary. The world is not better off because he “reset” relations with the Muslim world. Is the world safer after the reset with Russia, or will we suffer an abuse of “trust” at their hands like we have with the Middle East? Are we really “going to a better place” despite the toughness of the way, as he promised in Charlotte, or will we find, at the end of a long hard road, solely the end of a long hard road? Signs point to the latter. The only reason, we’re seeing, to trust the president, is that he sounds good. But even with that, at some point we have to admit that what he’s doing, from foreign policy to the economy, JUST ISN’T WORKING. Like the employee who’s a nice guy and sounds great, out of fairness to everyone else you just can’t afford to keep him around. Click here to continue reading

A Campaign About…Nothing (and other thoughts)

Is Obama intentionally, in the words of Reince Priebus, or John Ransom, running a Seinfeld campaign “about nothing,” hoping to win solely on likeability? In listening to XM Sirius’ “POTUS” channel Wednesday in my car I was struck by Julie Mason’s comment that this presidential campaign has lacked serious substance. We did get a brief glimmer of hope when Mitt chose Paul Ryan, as folks seemed encouraged by the boldness of the pick and Mitt’s staking ground in the debate about the size of the Federal budget. Ms. Mason lamented that the campaigns, however, have seemed to retreat from that attempt, and that if she craves something like a debate about the proper size and role of government it must mean there’s a real deficiency in her diet, like when she craves spinach. I agree, and quickly responded with a tweet reminding her that Mitt has a proposal, just one of many not responded to in any way to my knowledge by the Obama campaign (while they focus on attacks on Mitt’s personality), to limit government spending to 20% of GDP. Meanwhile Obama ducks the traditional bi-lateral meetings surrounding the UN General Assembly in New York to be filmed on The View. The administration’s quietly stated reason? Too much room for error. So not having meetings to build international relationships and help avoid little things like war over Iran was a a political calculation. The president is likely to make a gaffe or make a promise he can’t deliver on. So he decided to just keep away from problematic stuff like doing his job so he could cultivate his celebrity image. According to Time:

Of course, meeting with world leaders when you don’t know if you’ll still have your job in the next few weeks, can be potentially awkward. It can lead to unfortunate hot-mic gaffes, of which Obama has not been immune (for example, in Seoul earlier this year he asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to be flexible on missile defense until after the election, when Obama would have more space to maneuver–too much diplomatic candor for the sensitive electoral season). Still, ignoring the opportunity to meet one-on-one with world leaders underlined where Obama’s attention is fixed: the campaign. And it was the election that dominated the taping of The View. That, and the inside skinny of the Obama family’s schedule.

So he seems to want to float above the fray and not engage in the discussion, just repeating the same old lines about Bain Capital and exporting jobs. On that point, if you haven’t seen it yet, read this article in the New York Post pointing out just whose money is at Bain. Hint: unions, retirement funds and academic institutions are who trusted Mitt to make money for them. Turns out corporations he helped succeed are made up of people (their investors) and the left has known it all along! Click here to continue reading

White House Losing All Credibility on Foreign Policy

Yesterday’s headlines were all over the map on this, and yet I get the impression this is viewed as a minor story by the main stream media.

Despite claims to the contrary early on, and President Obama’s reticence to use the actual words, Hillary Clinton and Jay Carney both admitted yesterday that what happened in Libya was a terrorist attack, not just a protest gone wrong. Meanwhile questions are arising about what the White House knew and when, and whether this was about a hack job of a movie at all.

CNBC asks “Did White House Lie About Libya Attacks?” The answer appears to be yes.

Here’s a link to the video of an interview the House Chair of the Homeland Security Committee, and the text of the related article:

Larry Kudlow is hearing from his beltway sources that the President may have put politics ahead of national security in the wake of the Libya attacks that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Kudlow, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and other skeptics charge the administration deceived the nation when it said the attacks had not been planned in advance.

Those same skeptics say the administration via UN Ambassador Susan Rice deliberately downplayed events in Libya to preserve Obama’s image as the President who had won the war on terror by killing Osama Bin Laden.

“They sent (Susan Rice) out for political reasons,” said King on The Kudlow Report. “The Obama administration wants people to believe that the war against terror is over.”

In other words, if the White House admitted Libya was a terror attack – it would have called the campaign message into question – something Democratic strategists didn’t want to do.

Instead, the GOP says the administration shifted attention to a movie that depicted Islam’s prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light – a movie that sparked protests in Egypt – knowing that was not the catalyst.

“They wanted people to believe the violence was caused by a few malcontents,” King explained, but it was actually something much more sinister.

“They don’t want the appearance that Al Qaeda has come back but the truth is Al Qaeda has never gone away,” said King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“I see this as nothing short of a cover up,” added Larry Kudlow.

Former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton shares the sentiment.

“The administration could have said from the beginning, ‘We don’t know all the facts, and therefore, we’re not ruling out any potential explanation,'” said Bolton in a published interview.

“But that’s not what they did. They came down in the midst of great uncertainty and said it was spontaneous. It was not terrorism.”

Now, however, as reported in the Examiner, the White House is quietly admitting that yes, it’s “self-evident” this was a terrorist attack. And they expect this change in tone to go unnoticed. As reported in the Examiner:

“You know what else is self-evident? That the Obama administration is full of liars,” Twitchy said Thursday.

“For a week, they lied to the American people and blamed a movie, condemning free speech time and time again, for the murder of four Americans in Libya and for embassy attacks across the globe,” Twitchy added.

CBS reported Thursday morning that witnesses said “there was never an anti-American protest outside of the consulate [in Benghazi, Libya]. Instead, they say, it came under planned attack. That is in direct contradiction to the administration’s account of the incident.”

The CBS report also said “that the public won’t get a detailed account of what happened until after the election.”

[emphasis added]

Here’s that CBS report:

A major question is whether the film had anything whatsoever to do with the attack, or if it was a White House distraction from the beginning.

In a Boston Herald op ed entitled “How the Truth Hurts Hence White House Avoids it,” Michael Graham says Jay Carney’s explanation of events doesn’t pass his “teenage son” test. Click here to continue reading

Opinion: No, Mr. President, YOU Can’t Change Washington

As we’ve all heard by now President Obama has finally admitted that while hope died out quite a while ago, change has now died along with it.

The clip of Obama’s actual statement is the first video clip at this link below.

Now I try to give people a little slack when they make comments that I feel are being misconstrued. For example, do I think Mitt really believes 47% of the country are freeloaders? No, I really don’t. My Mitt translator tells me Mitt was describing the size of the 47% Democratic base, the fact that lowering taxes is less likely to appeal to many of the 47% of the people who are non-taxpayers, and that some voters are honestly not convincible because they’re unlikely to vote against their pocketbooks. Are those people all Democrats? No. Does that group make up 47% of the populace? I don’t think Mitt really thinks that. In the setting of a fundraiser, where the comments are less precise (remember Obama’s “god and guns”?) Mitt just ran those concepts together. I can cut him some slack on that, knowing I could easily do the same, and I know President Obama and Joe Biden have said much worse. And Mitt made clear he thinks there’s a legitimate debate to be had about creating dependency rather than jobs, and that true success will be in growing the entire economy so that all succeed rather than focusing on redistribution of wealth (which has never worked). But do I think he believes half of the country are freeloaders? Absolutely not. Is there a large percent of Dems who won’t vote for a Republican no matter what? Yes. Those are the people he was saying he can’t worry about trying to please in an election. Of course once you’re president, it’s different: Mitt’s said as much before. If elected he’d be the president of everyone, not a subgroup.

So now, since I’m in a generous mood, I think it’s appropriate to analyze President Obama’s latest misstatement.

Now admittedly as a Mitt fan I’m happy to zing President Obama a bit on the face value of his words, just as Obama fans like to do to Mitt. And lest anyone misunderstand, let no one say Mitt’s any more prone to misstatement than President “you didn’t build that” Obama or Joe “put y’all back in chains” Biden.

Part of Obama’s statement is honestly shocking: the candidate who entered office on a wave of “hope and change” and “change you can believe in” has now come to the conclusion, even calling it the “most important lesson” he learned in the last four years (seriously?), that he can’t change Washington from the inside. Ouch. Click here to continue reading

See Mitt Live in Del Mar! AND: Your Top 3 Reasons to Elect Mitt!

READ ON, BUT BE SURE TO POST BELOW YOUR TOP 3 REASONS WHY WE NEED TO ELECT MITT (Facebook comment if you can to get this to spread virally)! Duplicate reasons okay!

SPREAD THE WORD: Mitt will be holding a fundraiser next Saturday, September 22 in Del Mar, California and he needs you there! Details at the end of this post. If you live in or around San Diego (Orange County to the border), given campaign scheduling this may be your last chance to see the man in person. Come and hear him speak at least once this cycle. There’s a required contribution since this is a fundraiser after all, but it’s always a great experience as the soundbites never do him justice. Those who enter wavering leave firmly comMitted! The following photo is from the last event in San Diego, back in July where both Mitt and Ann were able to come.

If you can’t come, contact friends and relatives in Southern California and get them to come! Make sure to re-tweet this article and post it to your Facebook page so the word gets out! While Governor Romney currently has a money advantage in funds on hand, President Obama has already spent a lot of money on his ground game that the governor needs to catch up with, and time is short-we have less than 60 days to the election!!! You may also have seen that President Obama raised slightly more money last month than Governor Romney (by about 2%, not much, but the wrong result). This is a moment when you can have a big impact in this election: come and hear Mitt yourself.

If you’d like to come, please send an email to me at mittindelmar@gmail.com. If you can’t come but would like to donate, go to the official website at www.mittromney.com.

Who knows who else may be there? At July’s event I had the chance to introduce my son Nicolas to Darrel Issa, Congressman of the 49th District in California, who also happens to be Chair of the Oversight Committee currently investigating the Obama administration’s involvement in the “Fast and Furious” debacle.

Whether you can come or not, post your “Top 3 Reasons to Elect Governor Romney” as a Facebook comment to this post and let’s see how viral we can get this! Duplicate reasons are perfectly okay!

Details:

Private meetings begin at 12:30. VIP Reception at 1:00 and luncheon at 1:30.

Email me at mittindelmar@gmail.com to find out how to sign up.

Dress is business casual. The event locale is in inland Del Mar, about 5 minutes East of the 5 freeway. If you plan on coming I will put you in touch with the campaign fundraiser to get you the exact address and to provide you the required disclosures. For example, the fundraiser is for “Romney Victory,” a joint effort of Romney For President, Inc., the Republican National Committee, the Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the committees of certain states; contributions are not tax deductible. More disclosures to come if you want to investigate attending.

MY TOP THREE REASONS WE’D BETTER ELECT MITT (maybe not in order):

1. Repeal Obamacare. Our government was never intended by the founders to be that big.

2. Have someone with Mitt’s character appointing the next three justices to the Supreme Court.

3. It’s the economy!

BONUS:

4. He was successful in working across the aisle in Massachusetts, something we’ll need to do and that President Obama has failed at miserably during his tenure.

And I haven’t even mentioned foreign policy, the deficit, the fiscal cliff, or replacing Joe Biden with Paul Ryan as VP! There’s lots more great reasons! Please add yours and let’s get this list LONG! As I said above, duplicates are perfectly fine. Let’s see why people love Mitt!!!

PLEASE “LIKE” AND “RECOMMEND” on Facebook and re-tweet to get this message out as far as possible!

Obama Should Adopt Mitt’s Motto: “No Apology”

Reuters reported Thursday that the challenges in the Middle East over the past week represent a “perfect storm” of problems for President Obama.

An eruption of violent unrest across the Middle East is confronting President Barack Obama with the most serious challenge yet to his efforts to keep the Arab Spring from morphing into a new wave of anti-Americanism - and he has few good options to prevent it.

Less than two months before the U.S. presidential election, a spate of attacks on embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen poses a huge dilemma for a U.S. leader who took office promising a “new beginning” with the Muslim world but has struggled to manage the transformation that has swept away many of the region’s long-ruling dictators.

Perhaps a “new beginning” wasn’t what was needed in the region after all. Perhaps instead an unequivocal message of America’s willingness to protect itself is what’s needed. We’ll talk, sure, but we’ll also stand up for ourselves. Warning: naked cartoon Obama below the fold. Click here to continue reading

BREAKING: Moody’s Threatens to Lower US Credit Rating

The main headline in the hardcopy of today’s Financial Times? “Moody’s in threat to strip US of top rating.”

Rating agency Moody’s has threatened to downgrade the US’ prized triple A credit rating if Congress fails to reach a deficit reduction deal, raising the stakes in the fiscal debate that lies at the heart of the November election.

Moody’s said yesterday it was considering joining its rival Standard & Poor’s — which stripped the US of its top rating last year — if a deal was not reached by the end of 2013.

Moody’s statement can be found here.

Reuters points out the problem is the current stalemate between the President and Congress, which could be helped by a Mitt victory:

[Moody’s] warning comes two months before national elections that may fail to loosen the current gridlock in budget policy.

Recent polls suggest that if the election were held tomorrow, President Barack Obama would win a second term while Republicans would strengthen their hold on Congress.

Moody’s, which gives the United States the top Aaa credit rating but with a negative outlook, said Congress needs to put the debt level on a downward trajectory to maintain that rating.

Of course if Mitt wins there’s reason to believe the picture will improve. Reuters continues:

Click here to continue reading

Mitt, Not Barack, Was Right About the Auto Bailout

You may have noted that a big part of President Obama’s bid for re-election hinges on Joe Biden’s gleeful statement that “Bin Laden is dead and GM is alive.” That’s a convenient sound bite. Bin Laden is in fact dead, and while President Obama deserves some credit for giving the order to proceed (not without some controversy regarding taking more credit than is his due), as for GM, Mitt Romney’s prediction in his New York Times op ed piece, often vilified by the Obama administration, seems strangely prescient today:

If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout that their chief executives asked for yesterday, you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye. It won’t go overnight, but its demise will be virtually guaranteed. Without that bailout, Detroit will need to drastically restructure itself. With it, the automakers will stay the course — the suicidal course of declining market shares, insurmountable labor and retiree burdens, technology atrophy, product inferiority and never-ending job losses. Detroit needs a turnaround, not a check.

While Mitt may have been falsely attributed the headline “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” as a result of this op ed (the title was actually written by the New York Times staff), under Obama two of the big three did in fact go bankrupt, and GM may in fact go bankrupt twice. And Mitt’s predictions of GM’s lack of competitiveness are unfortunately being proven out by the market. GM’s stock price is falling, its products uncompetitive and its costs still too high. Who was right? It’s becoming obvious that Mitt was all along.

Even the Washington Post admits that the bailout is not an “unmitigated success.”

At the Democratic National Convention, the Obama campaign has celebrated the rebirth of the American auto industry — pointing out, as Vice President Joe Biden has done, that “Bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.”

What Democrats don’t mention is that bailing out the car industry initially cost $80 billion, or roughly $30,000 per automotive worker. Despite the sector’s resurgence, taxpayers are still owed $25 billion from GM and its former financing firm.

For those of you who keep track of your spare change and actually have to balance a budget to make ends meet, that’s $105 billion taxpayer dollars and counting. Click here to continue reading