At first blush, this seems like a genuinely great campaign ad — the story of how Mitt Romney basically closed down his business, Bain Capital, in 1996 when the daughter of one of his partners went missing in New York City and Romney sent dozens and finally hundreds of employees to New York to engage in a massive search through the streets for her. It was indeed a selfless and noble thing to do. However, the ad implies Melissa Gay had been kidnapped or something equally sinister, and that is not what happened. As a quick search of the New York Times and Boston Globe archives reveals, she went missing after she traveled to New York from Ridgefield, Conn., on her own, took Ecstasy at a concert on Randalls Island, ended up at a party under the Whitestone Bridge in The Bronx, met a boy there who took her to his house in New Jersey, and stayed with him for a few days, too embarrassed (I would wager) to call her parents and have them come get her. No charges were filed against the boy, which suggests her presence in his house was consensual. I’m sure it was a nightmarish time for her parents, and it was unquestionably was a noble thing Romney did to step in and direct the resources of his firm, including its employees, to search for her. But a) she wasn’t in need of “saving” in the way the ad’s narrative implies and b) there’s no evidence in the open record that the Bain Capital search, wonderfully well-intentioned, was responsible for Melissa’s safe return to her family. UPDATE: There is some contention in the comments below that indeed Melissa Gay was in danger from an Ecstasy overdose. That does not comport with the contemporaneous record. According to the Boston Herald on the day after she was found, “The hunt went on until a family in Montville, N.J., heard of it and called police later to say Missy was with them and fine.” An overdosing teenager is not “fine,” but Melissa evidently was, and probably knew her parents’ home phone number. And, for the record, I am not, nor have I ever been, an adviser to the Giuliani campaign, paid or unpaid.
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