The latest web video from the Mitt Romney campaign attacks President Barack Obama's comments about Romney's time at Bain Capital. The video asks if viewers are tired of Obama's attacks on 'free enterprise' and says that his 'key supporters' are, then trots out Corey Booker, Harold Ford Jr. and Steven Rattner as Obama's 'key supporters'. While these obviously aren't Obama's key supporters, the ad is also an attempt to change the topic from Romney's time at Bain, which was more about hurting working families than it was about 'free enterprise'. Ford is notorious for his right-wing positions and Booker took numerous contributions to his 2002 campaign from Bain executives.
Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman responded to the video:
Mitt Romney’s partners, employees, and top supporters have all been clear: his tenure at Bain Capital was about creating wealth for himself and his investors, not creating jobs. Mitt Romney’s focus has always been getting a high return on his investments, no matter the cost to workers, companies or communities. That’s what Romney did at Ampad when he and his partners drove the company into bankruptcy after loading it with debt, firing 250 Indiana workers, and extracting $100 million for themselves. And those are the very same economic values he’d bring to the presidency – America can’t afford Romney Economics.
Despite Romney's claims to the contrary, his time at Bain was about making money, not about creating jobs. From Bloomberg:
A top surrogate to Mitt Romney said making money—rather than creating jobs—was the primary goal of the presumed Republican Party presidential nominee when he was running Bain Capital LLC, saying he ‘acted responsibly’ as chief executive officer of the private-equity firm. ‘The role of private equity as fiduciaries is certainly to make money,’ said Tom Stemberg, the founder of Staples Inc. (SPLS), in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s ‘Political Capital,’ airing this weekend.
A Bloomberg review of several Bain deals during Romney’s tenure showed that workers in some firms had indications their jobs might be in jeopardy soon after Bain moved into management. In other cases, pink slips arrived after Bain and its investors had collected their profits and left debts behind.
Interviews with former employees and executives at Bain and companies it controlled, along with a review of Bain’s activities described in public documents and news accounts, paint a picture of an operation that wasn’t focused on expanding employment. Instead, Bain’s mission, like most private equity firms, was to generate gains for its investors.
From the Boston Globe:
In assessing deals, Romney and partners didn’t consider whether they saved or created jobs, according to a former Bain employee who requested anonymity, citing confidentiality guidelines. When Bain partners discussed shutting down failing businesses in which they invested, Romney never suggested they had to do something to save workers’ jobs. ‘It was very clinical,’ the former employee said. ‘Like a doctor. When the patient is dead, you just move on to the next patient.’
The Los Angeles Times:
Some of Romney’s colleagues recall him as vain, however, and focused only on the bottom line. They saw him as impatient and unconcerned about those affected by his decisions. ‘They’re whitewashing his career now,’ said Marc B. Wolpow, a former managing director at Bain Capital who opposes Romney’s White House bid. ‘We had a scheme where the rich got richer. I did it, and I feel good about it. But I’m not planning to run for office.’
From the Boston Globe:
Throughout his 15-year career at Bain Capital, which bought, sold, and merged dozens of companies, Romney had other chances to fight to save jobs, but didn’t. His ultimate responsibility was to make money for Bain’s investors, former partners said.
From the New York Post:
However, the former private equity firm chief’s fortune -- which has funded his political ambitions from the Massachusetts statehouse to his unsuccessful run for the White House in 2008 -- was made on the backs of companies that ultimately collapsed, putting thousands of ordinary Americans out on the street.
Take Romney's own words for it (KMOV (St. Louis, MO), 3/13/12):
And when you ask the question, how many jobs did you create at Bain Capital, the truth is we invested in businesses that created the jobs. We didn’t create them ourselves. They did but I’m proud of the fact that businesses we invested in collectively created amongst themselves well-over a hundred thousand jobs.