Because nothing says "uniter" like running a vulture fund like Bain Capital. Mitt Romney was asked if he might be vulnerable to being painted as the Gordon Gekko character from the movie Wall Street who famously uttered the words "greed is good" during that movie and Romney's response was to go after President Obama as a "great divider" who wants to just attack anyone who's been successful in life.
That's pretty rich coming from a member of the party that's used wedge issues and dividing the working class on matters like religion and abortion to get the electorate to vote against their own economic interests. It's also rather bizarre given the fact that President Obama, to a fault if you ask most progressives, has attempted to bend over backwards to accommodate and work with Republicans, only to find those attempts met with the back of a hand, or continued and unprecedented obstruction by Republicans in the Senate, not to mention having to deal with the Blue Dog conserva-Dems within his own caucus to try to get anything done.
Romney also attacked President Obama for his "one experience overseeing an enterprise", that being the structured bailout of GM, and tried to compare that to what he did during his time at Bain Capital and the fact that factories had to be closed and jobs were lost. Excuse me, but I don't recall President Obama enriching himself personally from the decisions that were made in order to keep the American auto industry from going under. One can argue about the details of the bailout and what conditions should have been put on the auto companies and whether there should have been more done to protect jobs in America, but making the decision as president to keep that industry alive to what Romney did at Bain is utterly ridiculous.
And if Mitt Romney had his way, as Jon Perr noted in his post You Know Mitt Romney Is Out of Touch When... Romney authored an op-ed titled Let Detroit Go Bankrupt -- That was his solution to the crisis with keeping GM and all of the other businesses that would have been affected by their bankruptcy, including the other auto makers and the harm that would have done to our already teetering economy, at that time.
And of course we all know why Republicans like Romney really hated that GM bailout. Because it didn't end up busting the United Auto Workers Union, and god knows we can't have anyone protecting those dirty f-ing hippie evil union members over the interests of Wall Street.
Transcript via Fox below the fold.
WALLACE: What if President Obama goes after you as Gordon Gekko, greed is good?
ROMNEY: Of course he will, in part because he's been the great divider. This is a president who goes after anybody who is successful -- and by the way, he's pretty successful, too. He's done very, very well over the last several years. And we'll get into it in some depth.
And I'll point out that in my experience in the private sector, and in the investments that I made, in the businesses I helped to build, our intent in every case was to either help people realize their dreams by starting a business or taking a business that was failing or underperforming and making it more successful.
My business was not buying things, taking them apart, closing them down. My business was associated with trying to make enterprises more successful. Not always was I able to succeed. But in each case, we tried to grow an enterprise, and in doing so, hopefully provide a better future for those associated with that enterprise.
WALLACE: Let's pick up on Bain where you worked for 25 years, and you said that's what sets you apart. You have worked in the real private sector and you have created jobs.
There have been some big successes, Staples, now you helped start it. They now employ 90,000 people.
On the other hand, we saw that four of the 10 top dollar investments you made went bankrupt.
Is that just the cost of doing business?
ROMNEY: Well, it's not just a cost. It's the downside. It's the reality of what life is like in the private sector, which is that businesses that you invest in -- and those are not enterprises that I ran, of course.
ROMNEY: But in businesses that you invest in --
WALLACE: GS Industries, Dade International.
ROMNEY: Right. And a company like GS Industries was a group of steel mills and I think we were an investor in that business for, I don't know, eight years or so. It finally went bankrupt after I left the firm. It was an investment that was made. Again, I wasn't running it.
But the steel industry got in trouble in this country. I think 40 mills went bankrupt the same time it did, in part because of -- well, in this case, dumping from places like China into this country.
I understand the impact of what happens globally in trade. And businesses, you know, lose and go out of business, and in some cases, lose jobs. It breaks your heart when that happens. It also loses investment.
And by the way, you probably know this -- the dollars in Bain Capital weren't my dollars. They came from endowments and even a church, a pension fund was -- not my church, was invested in Bain Capital and that money goes to them. When we suffer the losses, they're the ones that suffer the losses as well.
WALLACE: You talk about the money. Back when you were in Bain Capital, you and your partners took a picture with money literally coming out of your pockets, coming out of your jacket, and you know -- just as you talk about Gordon Gekko -- you know the Democrats are dying to use that picture against you.
What's the story of that picture?
ROMNEY: Already have and will. That was at the closing of our very first fund. We went out as a group of folks and said, you know, I wonder if we can raise money from other people to organize a company. We can get capital from others that will allow us to begin a business that will be successful.
And we went out and raised money. We were successful in raising our first fund. It was about $37 million, an extraordinarily large amount of money that we raised from other people and we posed for a picture just celebrating the fact that we had raised a lot of money and then we hoped to be able to return it with a good return.
And in the interim, of course, we had to be successful, build enterprises. That first fund got invested in a number of businesses that turned out to create a lot of jobs and yielded very positive return to the people who entrusted with their funds.
But I know that will be used. I know that. It will be fun.
I recognize the president is going to go after me. I'll go after him.
WALLACE: And if he says or somebody says, maybe as an independent group -- fat cat, hard-hearted. You know, let businesses rise, he makes money. Businesses fall, sometimes he still made money.
ROMNEY: You know, I know that there's going to be every effort to put free enterprise on trial. And to attack free enterprise, to attack people who work in free enterprise and attack those who believe profit is good.
A profit in an enterprise is better than loss. Loss means jobs are going to be lost. You hope -- I hope to see General Motors as a profitable and successful enterprise again so that jobs can be spared.
You know, I mentioned the other night, the president has had one experience overseeing an enterprise -- a couple of enterprises, General Motors and Chrysler.
What did he do? He closed factories. He laid off people. He didn't do it personally but his people did. Why did he do that? Because he wanted to save the enterprise, and he wants to make it profitable so it can survive.
Profit in enterprise is essential to keep it alive and to keep people employed.