LEAKING GUN Mitt's into censorship and the Olympics, but confusing when it comes to biotech jobs.
Mitt Romney's recent trip overseas left the impression that the putative Republican presidential nominee was even more clueless abroad than at home. And this reporter's search of the WikiLeaks archives for information about Romney's previous international travel only bolsters this picture.
One cable shows that Romney appeared to be open to the idea of censoring a school book at the behest of the South Korean government in 2006. According to the State Department account, Romney expressed no reservations about the request.
The book in question was Massachusetts author Yoko Kawashima Watkins's semi-autobiographical So Far From the Bamboo Grove, about the general persecution of a Japanese family by Koreans during World War II.
On December 7, 2006, Romney met with South Korea's acting foreign minister, Cho Jung-pyo, who said he disapproved of the book's inclusion as required reading in Massachusetts public schools, condemning the book as "negative" toward Koreans. Romney responded by saying that, as governor, he could advise the school districts about the book.
At the time of Romney's meeting with Cho Jung-pyo, the book was the subject of controversy in Massachusetts. Its banning was being debated by the Dover-Sherborn Regional School Committee.
In the same cable from that visit, the then-governor of Massachusetts claimed that the biotech industry in his state was "not a job-creating industry," though Romney now cites biotech job growth as one of his accomplishments. Puzzlingly, Romney's disparaging remarks came after the Korean official had praised the growth of biotech in the Bay State and expressed a desire for a partnership on that front.
This raises questions about Romney's statements on the 2012 campaign trail that he created employment growth, in part, by giving incentives to biotech firms in the state. According to a recent analysis by Reuters, Romney did offer tax breaks to some biotech firms — but with very mixed results.
WikiLeaks contains another cable — dated February 9, 2006 — noting that Romney was about to make a personal visit to Turin, Italy, to see the Winter Olympics, and would use Massachusetts State Troopers as part of his security detail.
The Romney campaign did not respond to a request for comment.