Bain is back as Obama camp probes Romney's record
May 14th, 2012
08:47 AM ET
6 years ago

Bain is back as Obama camp probes Romney's record

(CNN) – It's back.

After lying dormant for months, Mitt Romney's record as a private equity executive returned to the forefront in the race for the White House Monday as President Barack Obama's re-election team launched an assault on the Republican's record in the 1980s and 90s.

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The attack focuses on Bain's history at one company, Kansas City-based GST Steel. The Obama team portrays the firm as a victim of Romney's brand of capitalism gone wrong. A two-minute television ad running in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado – all battleground states – features former GST Steel workers lamenting the fact that they lost their jobs following Bain's takeover. A campaign official said the spot would run on evening newscasts in "targeted markets" on Wednesday, but wouldn't elaborate on how much the campaign spent to air the ad.

"They made as much money off it they could," says Dale Soptic, who the Obama campaign says worked as a steelworker for 30 years. "They closed it down, they filed for bankruptcy without any concern for the families or communities."

The workers featured in the ad say Romney's record as Bain's chief executive is a good indicator of how'd he's approach the presidency.

"He's running for president, and if he's going to run the country like he ran our business I don't want him there," Soptic says in the television spot. "He would be so out of touch with average people in this country. How could you care, how could you care for the average working person if you feel that way?"

Another steelworker, Jack Cobb, slams Bain in the ad as being like a "vampire."

"They came in and sucked the life out of us," Wiseman said. "It was like watching an old friend bleed to death."

GS Industries was acquired by Bain Capital in 1993, when Romney was acting as the firm's chief executive. The firm declared bankruptcy in 2001, after Romney had ceased day-to-day oversight of Bain.

On a conference call Monday, Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said the Obama campaign's criticism was still relevent, despite the timing.

"He set this in motion. It was his stucture that was put in place," Cutter said, noting Romney was still profiting from Bain at the time the company went bankrupt.

Romney's campaign spokesman Andrea Saul responded to the ad Monday, saying the campaign would "welcome the Obama campaign's attempt to pivot back to jobs and a discussion of their failed record. Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as Governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation."

Saul continued, "President Obama has many questions to answer as to why his administration used the stimulus to reward wealthy campaign donors with taxpayer money for bad ideas like Solyndra, but 23 million Americans are still struggling to find jobs. If the Obama administration was less concerned about pleasing their wealthy donors and more concerned about creating jobs, America would be much better off."

Monday's attack on Romney's record at Bain comes months after the issue first surfaced during the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney's opponents, principally former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, used the Bain record to slam Romney as out-of-touch with the struggles of working-class Americans.

The super PAC supporting Gingrich released a half-hour ad called "King of Bain" using workers from closed plants to paint Romney a heartless corporate raider.

Former candidate Perry, then reaching the end of his presidential bid, called Romney's Bain record "indefensible" ahead of the South Carolina primary in January.

"There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business," Perry. "And I happen to think that is indefensible."

In defending himself against attacks on his record at Bain in the past, Romney has pointed to the several successful companies his firm helped turn around, including Staples and Sports Authority.

He has also slammed rivals for criticizing Bain's record, saying they amounted to an attack on free enterprise.

Cutter said Monday the focus on Romney's record at Bain remained an effective campaign tactic, even though Republicans used a similar strategy.

"If you take a look at how Bain Captial was discussed through the Republican primaries, putting aside whether it was done well, it really was damaging to Mitt Romney. He consistently lost the middle class vote in every primary until he was the de facto nominee."

CNN's Gloria Borger contributed to this report.

Also see:

Ron Paul to end active campaigning

RNC, Team Romney roll out debt attack on Obama

Leading progressive group attacks Romney over women's issues

Obama headlines two high dollar fundraisers in NYC

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. macrasta

    good..take the gloves off Mr President!

    May 14, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  2. The Greedy Old Pigs declared class war on US!

    What's even more nuts is that the GOBP cult's low-information, mentally defective followers somehow believe that Rmoney's experience as a parasitic vulture capitalist makes him specially qualified to be president.

    May 14, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  3. rla

    What ever!!!! This president has done the same thing and worse on a national level... Romney learned and is the man for the job!

    May 14, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  4. Yonni

    What a sadly moving story the irony is the person who is responsible for so many disparities, destitute and misfortune is running to become a president of the USA

    May 14, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  5. stew

    In one corner we have a blood sucker in the other someone who bends over backwards... not for my vote they'll not get it.

    May 14, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  6. Enough is Enough

    Nothing kills companies and jobs quicker than a union and the unions biggest supporter is Obama.

    May 14, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |

    They closed it down, they filed for bankruptcy without any concern for the families or communities."
    Now if Willard were President, that's exactly what he would have let happened to the auto industry. He's a vulture capitalist only concerned with making money. Nothing wrong with money. However, there is something wrong on preying on the vulnerable and liquidating their pensions.

    May 14, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  8. Al-NY,NY

    Flippy......."stammer stammer. Obama this. Obama that. We'll get back to you..." Again other republicans' words will be used to skewer this fake's businessmans experience and show everyone but the stupid, that he is not the genious he touts himself to be

    May 14, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney is what you'd call "The Hatchet Man" that businesses send out get rid of people for profit and consider workers no more than "Collateral Damage". That's exactly what Romney and the GOP will do to the working and Middle Class.

    May 14, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  10. Jules

    Romney keeps saying that he has no control over where his money is because it is in a blind trust. What I wanty probed is when wasthe blind trust set up? Was it before or after the accounts were set up outside of this country? I'm waiting for someone to answer that question.

    May 14, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  11. Ol' Yeller

    Romney's plan for America will probably go along these lines... take over as Head of State. Suck all the money out of America. Then sell to the highest bidder.
    Brush up your Mandarin.

    May 14, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  12. Ol' Yeller

    Enough is Enough
    Really?!? It was the mean old Unions who drove the country into bancruptcy.
    Change the channel, man.

    May 14, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. Blindersoff

    Middle class to poor republicans, take off your blinders, Romney and the republican leadership is not for you . . . . they do not have your best interest in mind. If you are not a part of the 1%, you got nothing coming from the conservative right. You will be left on your own to fend for yourself and in these time, we all need each other to overcome the establishment. Vote common sense, cross party lines and vote in your better interest and not the interest of the 1%

    May 14, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. GonzoinHouston

    The thing with 'Romney is that he has never made any statement indicating any sympathy or compassion for the workers who lost their jobs. Layoffs are sometimes necessary to save the rest of the company, but that doesn't change the fact that it does major damage to the laid-off workers. His lack of empathy, his lifetime of privilege, his idea of a joke as a kid; all these things add up to someone who won't be concerned with large groups of Americans.

    May 14, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  15. Gurgyl

    Mitt is mith, ships jobs overseas, brings illegals, Bain capital shipped jobs to china, ban SS and Medicare, Iran war drains nation even further....

    May 14, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. Mark from Louisiana

    How many jobs were lost when the obama administration forced GM and Chrysler to close down almost a thousand auto dealerships?

    May 14, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. Marian

    As Governor, Romney was 47th in the nation in terms of job creation, folks. Remember that.

    May 14, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Ol' Yeller

    I'm just wondering... to all you righties out there who scream and cry and whine about CNN being left wing and parrot palin with her oh so clever 'lame stream media' comment.
    Where is the story on Governor Scott Walker's video where he is talking to the billionaire and lays out his plan to divide and conquor the unions in Wisconsin in direct conflict with his statements to the populace? A Governor of a state who is recalling their Governor and he is caught red handed lying to the people on vieo tape and this is not a story?
    Really?!? Left wing media?

    May 14, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    "They came in and sucked the life out of us," Wiseman said. "It was like watching an old friend bleed to death."

    Been there, done that. Learned that lesson the hard way, Mr. Wiseman. As have the millions of wage earners throughout America, who for the past decade are now living that lesson the hard way as well. There is nothing more pathetic than eliminating a person's 20, 25, 28, 32 year job, AND pension, AND heath insurance simply because some greedy "vulture" wants to re-line their already golden pockets by sweeping their fellow American's very livelihood out from underneath them as has happened to so many of us - without regard for common decency, let alone human compassion.

    Sorry Romney folks, there just aren't enough Walmart jobs to keep families fed and clothed, yet this is EXACTLY the road a Mitt Romney presidency would take us. Indeed. We as a nation are already traveling it, fast and furious.

    May 14, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Drew

    Romney would be a great President for 1%, not so much for the rest of us. His claIms to be a "job creator" is laughable. This man would push your grandma in front of a bus for a buck if no one was looking..

    May 14, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  21. Kenny K

    What Romney did as a businessman was good for the businesses because he did not have to worry about whatever happened to those that were laid off. In govt, laid-off people increase your unemployment records.

    May 14, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  22. RenDoc

    Is anyone really surprised here? This is essentially what Republicans do to our middle class every time they possess the majority.

    May 14, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  23. Obama Cares

    Mitt is concerned only about himself and his rich friends. The less fortunate will suffer dearly under his admin, that's why he won't be elected. Stay with Obama/Biden in 2012. It's too bad and sad that the truth hurts some folk.

    May 14, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  24. The REAL Truth...

    And so the hate fest continues.. reading the response from Mittens spokesperson (Andrea Saul) – that the campaign would "welcome the Obama campaign's attempt to pivot back to jobs and a discussion of their failed record. Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as Governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation." one realizes that the amount of spin on Mittens record of being 47th in the nation in job creation (during his tenure in MA) is consistent with the Grand Obstructionist Party's dumbing it down for the masses... it's so juvenile. Check the FACTS people... educate yourself! Then decide...

    May 14, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  25. PO'ed middle class

    Look at the companies Bain "saved" Staples and Sports Authority? More than 90% of the items the companies sell are made in China. Good job saving the store clerk's job.

    May 14, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
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