The Boston Globe journalist who helped set off a huge controversy over discrepancies surrounding Mitt Romney's involvement with Bain Capital defended his reporting to Rachel Maddow on Thursday.

Romney has long said that he left the private equity firm in 1999. Yet, following up on reporting by Mother Jones and Talking Points Memo, the Globe reported that Securities and Exchange Commission filings showed Romney listed as "sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president" of Bain in 2001, and as "Executive" in 2002.

The Romney campaign called the story inaccurate and demanded a correction. The Globe refused.

Speaking to Maddow, Christopher Rowland, the Globe's Washington bureau chief and one of the reporters on the story, said that the discrepancy was important because Romney has used his supposed departure date to bat away criticism about Bain's dealings after 1999.

"This has been his main talking point when confronted with things like bankruptcies and layoffs," he said.

Rowland said that the Romney campaign's narrative "really paints a totally different picture of Mitt Romney's involvement with the firm" than the filings show. "If you look at the paperwork alone, it shows that he was the man in charge," he said, adding that this was a "big, startling change" from what Romney has publicly stated.

The Romney campaign has said that the charges are meaningless, because he had no real involvement in the firm after 1999. Reporting from The Huffington Post on Thursday night contradicted this claim, and Rowland also disputed it.

"I don't think that the Globe and other reporting is not saying that he was in the boardroom on a daily basis at Bain calling the shots," he said. "But certainly these records show that he was ... the man with oversight responsibility for the company."

Maddow asked Rowland about the Romney camp's call for a correction.

"The Romney people did ask for a correction," he said. "They're not getting one. They haven't been able to show that any of our reporting was inaccurate. They didn't like the take of the story. They didn't like the way it looks."

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