Over the weekend, Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign, told CNN that Mitt Romney “retired retroactively” from Bain Capital in February 1999. Since then, Gillespie’s remark has caught flak from lefty bloggers for being overly legalistic.
In an interview this afternoon, Gillespie reiterated that his point was simple. “In February 1999, Governor Romney took a leave of absence from managing Bain to save the Olympics,” Gillespie said. “He had intended to come back, but ultimately, he did not, and his retirement was effective as of the date when he left for Salt Lake.”
“The bottom line is that he left Bain in 1999,” Gillespie said. “He stopped any management or day-to-day activity. Eventually, after those years away, the leave of absence became a permanent retirement. After he made that decision, he took the necessary legal steps to retire and since he left in 1999, that was his retirement date.”
The use of the phrase “retroactive,” Gillespie adds, is another way of explaining how after the winter games, the “leave of absence” became Romney’s official retirement. He may not have planned to retire in 1999, but a few years later, it marked his exit.