Romney's Bain problem & Barbour's Pardons: Brad Bannon

Political consultant Brad Bannon discusses Bain Capital's effect on the Romney campaign and the Haley Barbour pardons.

Mitt Romney has spent days defending himself against accusations that he was a job-killing vulture capitalist.

But in the particular world of a South Carolina Republican primary, this criticism may turn out to be something of a gift for Mr. Romney. In a state that poses a crucial test of his ability to persuade religious, cultural and economic conservatives that he is truly one of them, he has so far been spared a piercing inquisition about his shifting positions over the years on abortion, gay rights and health care mandates  — somewhat to the frustration of his opponents. Read more

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Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Friday he's "very comfortable" with his final-days decisions to grant pardons or other clemency to more than 200 people, including convicted killers — decisions that outraged victims' families and dismayed even some of his most devoted supporters.

Barbour, a Republican who had considered but decided against running for president this year, said that 189 of the people who got pardons or other reprieves had already been released from prison before his actions. Only 10, he said, have been or will be fully released from prison, while several with expensive, chronic conditions are receiving medical leave. Read more