You know you are living in unusual times – or at least a weird political cycle – when the Democratic National Committee, MoveOn.org, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka nod in solemn agreement with Republican presidential candidates like Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. In this season of hyper-partisanship and polarizing debate, what could possibly unify these disparate characters and institutions (for now)?

It is the record amassed in the private sector by GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, who served nearly 15 years as CEO of Boston-based Bain Capital before he won the Massachusetts governorship and later launched his two bids for the presidency.

Yet while Romney’s tenure at Bain has been subjected to some inaccurate and, some argue, downright dishonest attacks – Gingrich himself has asked the political action group that supports him, Winning Our Future, to stop running a film that uses numerous distortions to assail Romney’s business record – it is also true that the former Massachusetts governor has shifted his own claims about that record and thereby contributed to the confusion surrounding it.

When Romney first ran for political office, challenging Sen. Edward Kennedy in 1994, Romney’s ads claimed he had helped to build “more than 20 businesses” and helped to create “more than 10,000 jobs.” At the time, both major newspapers in the state, the Boston Globe and Boston Herald, essentially verified those claims, even though the Globe endorsed Kennedy.

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