Political watchers spent much of Wednesday holding their breath for two potential political bombshells.
Most are still holding their breath.
Though rumors swirled that real estate mogul turned conservative pot stirrer Donald Trump was going to release some allegations possibly related to the Obamas’ marriage, he ended up doing what Trump normally does: drumming up lots of publicity for himself with little payoff for the rest of us. The Trump “bombshell” landed with a great big thud, turning out to be no bombshell at all but simply yet another Trump contrived media circus. This one revolves around Trump’s offer to pay 5 million dollars to a charity of the President’s choice should the president release various records such as his college transcripts.
No one is holding his breath for this to happen. But some are still holding their breath to see if the other potential political bombshell could actually be taken more seriously than Trump’s, and as such have an impact on the election.
Gloria Allred, an attorney best known for her involvement in high profile cases, among them representing women involved in the Tiger Woods scandal, is representing Maureen Stemberg Sullivan the ex-wife of Tom Stemberg, the Staples mogul and Romney campaign supporter. Sullivan appeared in court in support of the Boston Globe’s efforts to “lift an impoundment order on Romney's testimony” in the Stemberg’s acrimonious and lengthy divorce dispute. According to reports Romney, a close friend of Mr. Stemberg and whose company Bain Capital was an early investor in Staples, provided testimony about Mr. Stemberg’s finances. A judge will be holding a hearing Thursday to decide whether or not to unseal Romney’s testimony, while Romney’s legal team requested additional time to wade through pertinent documents.
A number of unsubstantiated rumors are flying around cyberspace regarding the nature of Gov. Romney’s testimony and how it ultimately affected the outcome of the Stemberg’s divorce settlement details. There is a potential real danger for the Romney campaign, particularly in the timing of the allegations. The Romney campaign has been in crisis mode since Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said during a Tuesday debate: “The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother. I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen. Gov. Romney had not only recently endorsed Mourdock, but had filmed an ad in support of the candidate, a Tea Partier who has struggled to reach moderate voters. While the Romney campaign has said the governor disagrees with Mourdock’s comments, they have declined to pull the ad, something DNC Chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schulz said during a Wednesday conference call is indicative of the national GOP’s embrace of extremist positions on women’s health issues.
After the first presidential debate, Gov. Romney had finally begun to close the gap with women voters, whom President Obama has enjoyed a significant lead with. But after the “binders full of women” gaffe of the second presidential debate and now the Mourdock controversy, should the governor be perceived as somehow impacting a vulnerable woman during a divorce (Mrs. Stemberg is alleged to have been battling cancer at the time) such revelations could prove a permanent setback for the Romney campaign with female voters—permanent because there isn’t much time left between now and Election Day.
Keli Goff is The Root’s special correspondent. Follow her on Twitter.