Poor Mitt. He just doesn’t know how to let go, and it’s coming back to haunt him.

I had a friend in college with a pronoun problem. When speaking of a project that needed to happen next weekend, he would use the plural. “Peterr, we need to . . .” he’d say to me, perhaps talking about fixing up the apartment in some way. That’s fine, and we’d do it — he had the money, and I could build and fix stuff, so it worked out well. But then after the project was done, on Monday he’d be talking to someone and his pronoun problem would emerge: “Look what I did . . .” Future tense things are in the plural, but past tense things are in the singular.

There came a day when he bragged on one of “his” projects to his girlfriend, and she chuckled. “What?” he said to her. She looked at the project, then at me, then at him, and replied “Dude, I’ve seen your carpentry skills. You can hold a board for someone else to cut, but there’s no way in hell you did this project by yourself. Someone did a nice job here, but I don’t think it was you all by yourself.”

Yeah, they’re not together any more.

I thought of my old friend when I read this piece by Beth Healy and Michael Kranish of the Boston Globe yesterday afternoon:

Interviews with a half-dozen of Romney’s former partners and associates, as well as public records, show that he was not merely an absentee owner during this period. He signed dozens of company documents, including filings with regulators on a vast array of Bain’s investment entities. And he drove the complex negotiations over his own large severance package, a deal that was critical to the firm’s future without him, according to his former associates.

Indeed, by remaining CEO and sole shareholder, Romney held on to his leverage in the talks that resulted in his generous 10-year retirement package, according to former associates.

“The elephant in the room was not whether Mitt was involved in investment decisions but Mitt’s retention of control of the firm and therefore his ability to extract a huge economic benefit by delaying his giving up of that control,” said one former associate, who, like some other Romney associates, spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the company.

That’s a mighty big elephant, all right. Clearly, Mitt did well in negotiating with himself over his severance package, and walked away whistling. His old business associates, on the other hand, seem less pleased — and now some of them are willing to talk.

Spoiler alert: they’re not saying nice things.

Another little episode probably didn’t endear Mitt to his now-former Bain colleagues who ran the show while Mitt was off doing his Olympic thing: “He initially kept his corner office at the firm’s Copley Square headquarters, which was eventually turned into a conference room. . . .” Even when he figured out he wasn’t coming back, he wouldn’t let the de facto CEO have the corner office? Mitt sounds like a teenager who goes away to college and DEMANDS that his/her room at home be left absolutely untouched. “No turning my room into a guest room or a craft room or inviting grandma to live in it. It’s mine, mine, mine forever!”

But that’s not the worst part of this story for Romney.

The worst part is from hits like this: “At least one partner worried that, in losing the founder — one who excelled at bringing in investors, not at finding the companies to invest in and overhaul — Bain might have trouble attracting money to its funds.”

Think about that for a minute. Bain’s biggest worry wasn’t that they’d lose their expertise in investing and overhauling companies; it was that they’d lose their supply of investors. Mitt could bring in the money; could they do the same? When you think about Mitt’s work for the Olympics, that’s clearly what they wanted him to do: raise money for us. And, to his credit, he did. He got private money and government money and got both in boatloads.

But that was then. Fast forward to the campaign trail now, and you get a very different picture of Mitt at work. If you listen to Mitt on the stump, he tells you that he is a guy who knows where to invest and how to spend money wisely, and his Bain record proves it.

Except, of course, to the Bain folks who know Mitt’s principal skill to be fundraising, not actually investing and overhauling companies. The more Mitt talks about his mad investing skilz and his record at turning around failing companies, the more irritated the lesser Bain MOTUs might become.

Did I say “might become”? Make that “are becoming.” No need for the subjunctive here . . .

Mitt may have gotten a fat final pay check as he left Bain (whenever that officially happened), but his work there is still paying him dividends. Or, as his old pals may be calling it, a bit of payback.

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photo h/t to _Tar0_.  It is unknown as to whether this sign is on Romney’s desk at Bain, his desk in his bedroom as a teen, or someone else’s desk entirely.