To Bain or Not to Bain?
Just curious on everyone's take on whether:
A) Bain Capital is fair game against Romney
B) The Anti-Bain Ads are wise/will be effective
From ABC News:
The Obama campaign has launched a new round of negative TV attack ads against Mitt Romney, casting him as a heartless “job destroyer” during his days at Bain Capital.
A two-minute spot, set to begin airing today in five battleground states, tells the story of a Kansas City steel company — GST Steel — which was purchased by Bain in 1993 and went bankrupt in 2001. More than 750 workers lost their jobs when the mill where they worked was closed.
“They made as much money off of it as they could. And they closed it down,” says Joe Soptic, a steelworker for 30 years.
Jack Cobb, who also worked in the industry for three decades, says, “It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.”
Team Obama accuses Romney of loading the company with debt and reaping “quick profits for himself and his investors” at the expense of middle class workers.
“Romney’s business strategy wasn’t about strengthening companies and creating jobs for long-term economic growth. It wasn’t about investors and workers playing by the same set of rules, and it certainly wasn’t about creating an economy built to last by rewarding hard work and responsibility and strengthening the security of middle-class families,” the campaign said in a statement.
Romney left Bain in 1999 to manage the Salt Lake City Olympic Games, and his campaign says he bears no responsibility for layoffs that occurred after his tenure.
“The Obama campaign is going to do everything they can to distract voters from the fact that their policies are not working,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “President Obama can’t come close to matching the many years of experience that Mitt Romney has as a private businessman so he has chosen to attack it.”
Team Romney has taken credit for jobs created after he left Bain, however. They claimed during the primary fight that Bain was responsible for creating a net 100,000 jobs, citing current employment numbers at three big companies Bain invested in: Staples, Sports Authority, Domino’s Pizza.
I do feel the Bain record is fair game since Romney is running more on his business credentials than on his record as Governor (has he even mentioned his experience as Governor of Massachusetts?) And I think it's horrific what Bain-and investment companies like it-do to make a profit often through destroying unions, cutting worker benefits and destroying jobs. If Bain is a sucess story for capitalism, I'm not sure I want to be a cheerleader for capitalism. If Romney was advertising Bain honestly as a company which is designed to make profits for shareholders (which it is) and not as a job creator (I think records would show more jobs destroyed than created but tough to "prove") perhaps he could be left alone. But if he claims Bain created tons of jobs (which he does) he needs to back that up (why won't he release business records?) and answer to the lives he turned upside down. Could he have made a little less profit but saved jobs? I actually think the Obama ad is terrific in that it highlights actual working class folks we can all identify with and stirs alot of emotion. But maybe I have been listening to too many right-wing responses to the Anti-Bain ads so I am not sure this populist message will necessarily be a winner for a few reasons:
1) Romney knew it was coming and was prepared
Mitt Romney fires back at the Obama campaign’s Bain fusillade.
2) Republicans could try to turn it into "Obama is against capitalism" and it could backfire.
3) It is a bit hard for some to understand the whole concept of investment companies and some may be confused or give Romney the benefit of the doubt.
4) It sure doesn't help that someone like Steve Ratner is calling the ad "unfair."
(continued from above ABC article)
...Still, even Steven Rattner, a former Obama administration adviser on the auto bailout, criticized the ad, saying in a TV interview today that he thinks it’s “unfair.”
“I do think to pick out an example of somebody who lost their job, unfortunately, this is part of capitalism, this is part of life,” said Rattner. “And I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.”
I would personally advise Team Obama to keep it an issue (amongst many others including his horrible jobs record in MA) but utitlize the words of Gingrich and Perry (who described it graphically as a vulture) so people see both sides going after him on it. Also, they should tie Bain to his "let Detroit go bankrupt" philosophy in which his plan would have killed so many jobs while President Obama saved jobs and helped the industry rebound. Another angle they could take is that the "success stories" Romney is trumpeting also involved alot of government help to save those companies. I thought Republicans were against that?