Soledad O'Brien Spins Romney's Words on Bain, Suggests He's Dodging the Questions

CNN's Soledad O'Brien spun Mitt Romney's words into a dodging-the-question moment for the candidate on the matter of Bain Capital, on Thursday's Starting Point. O'Brien was emphasizing Romney's "reluctance" to mention his days at Bain, which had been the focus of attack ads from the Obama campaign that O'Brien herself justified the other day.

Specifically, she took Romney's interview with Time magazine where he was asked if he welcomed attention about Bain. Romney had answered "of course" and then explained why the American people were more interested in President Obama's record. CNN, however, left out that explanation.

 Romney did also reference Bain Capital in the interview, but O'Brien didn't report that. When pressed by Time's Mark Halperin to give his presidential qualifications earned from his time at Bain, Romney touched upon his experience in the energy sector.

"I understand that in some industries, the input cost of energy is a major factor in whether an industry is going to locate in the United States or go elsewhere. So, when, at Bain Capital, we started a new steel company called Steel Dynamics in Indiana, the cost of energy was a very important factor to the success of that enterprise," Romney told Halperin.

O'Brien has noted before that Romney's Bain record could be a "big problem" for him, and emphasized on Thursday that he is side-stepping the story. [H]e doesn't really answer the question, and many of his surrogates don't either," she insisted.

When asked by Halperin whether he welcomed questions on Bain Capital, Romney responded "Well, of course. I’d like to also focus on his [Obama's] record.  What is it that he’s done as the President of the United States over the last four years?"

What he said next, CNN left out of the video clip, instead playing his remarks before and after. "And the American people are interested in, not so much in the history of where I was at Bain Capital, or that I have understanding of the private sector, but instead, has the President made things better for the American people?"

A transcript of the segment, which aired on Starting Point on May 24 at 8:03 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: So why so much reluctance to talk about Bain? I wonder if you saw Mark Halperin's interview with Governor Romney, and I'm talking about obviously Bain and his experience with a private equity company. So this is the question that Mark Halperin asked the governor, very straight forward.

(Video Clip)

MARK HALPERIN: So when the President says he wants to focus a lot of the election debate on your career at Bain Capital, do you welcome that?

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: And this is what Governor Romney said.

(Video Clip)

MITT ROMNEY, Republican presidential candidate: Well, of course. I'd like to also focus on his record. What is it that he's done as the President of the United States over the last four years?

Has he established the revitalization he promised he would bring to us? Did he hold unemployment below eight percent? It's been, what, 39 months now. That hasn't happened.

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: So he answers kind of a yes-no question with five other questions to Mark Halperin. So Mark Halperin goes back and he says very clearly is this issue relevant? And here's how the question went.

(Video Clip)

HALPERIN: – welcome scrutiny of your business record, is that right?

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: And Governor Romney says this.

(Video Clip)

ROMNEY: Mark, what I can tell you is this. The fact is that I spent 25 years in the private sector. And that obviously teaches you something that you don't learn if you haven't spent any time in the private sector.

(End Video Clip)

O'BRIEN: So Senator Lee, here's my question for you. Because all of this is a very straight forward yes-or-no question. Do you think Bain should be on the table? Do you think the governor's record at Bain should be something that he's willing to go through and parse through, because he doesn't really answer the question, and many of his surrogates don't either.

-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center