May 22nd, 2012
04:39 PM ET
3 years ago

Biden: To profit is legitimate, but Bain is poor argument for Romney

(CNN) – Though by and large a legitimate business venture, Mitt Romney's private equity experience does not qualify him for the White House, Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, echoing criticism President Barack Obama leveled the day prior.

"Your job as president is, promote the common good," Biden said at a campaign event in Keene, New Hampshire. "That doesn't mean that private equity guys are bad guys. They are not. But that no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber."

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"And, by the way, there are an awful lot of smart plumbers," he added.

The vice president's remarks followed those of the president, as well as their Democratic allies, who acknowledge Romney's skill at turning a profit for his investors, but say it comes at a cost to communities.

"When you're president, your job is to see to it that companies can make a profit but not maximize profit at everyone's expense," Biden said Tuesday.

During a Monday press conference, Obama injected his voice into the fiery feud over campaign rhetoric and Romney's history as the head of Bain Capital, a private equity firm.

The president said it was fair to analyze Romney's leadership and record at Bain, a record that includes company successes and failures.

"If your main argument for how to grow the economy is, 'I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,' then you're missing what this job is about," Obama said.

Democrats have accused Romney and his colleagues of profiting from deals that resulted in companies filing for bankruptcy and workers losing their jobs and pensions.

On Sunday, Cory Booker, a high profile mayor and surrogate for Obama, said he found the political dialogue on both sides of the aisle - including the Bain criticism - "nauseating."

But Biden stood by Obama's sentiment on Tuesday, saying that while private equity firms reap the profits of successful businesses, communities suffer most from the losses.

"Here's the dirty little secret: when the companies fail, it costs every taxpayer money," Biden said. "It costs taxpayers in the unemployment insurance that we all pay for that person who is unemployed. It costs other businesses money, because we have a thing, a national pension fund where other companies pay into."

"Somebody pays for this, not Romney and his investors," he continued.

Bain Capital, which Romney founded and ran until the late 1990s, came under fire from his GOP primary rivals and in the past two weeks from Obama and his allies in TV advertisements and web videos.

Romney has billed himself as a businessman who fixed struggling companies and made an appropriate profit. A key surrogate for Romney, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, on Tuesday accused Obama and Biden of "attacking the American way of life."

Biden also offered a robust defense of the administration's efforts thus far and showed a chart to prove his claim of job growth during the Obama presidency.

But Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, disagreed with the vice president's economic assessment saying, "He must not be talking to the millions of Americans who are suffering from declining incomes, fewer jobs, and skyrocketing household costs in the Obama economy."

However, Biden said a vote for Romney in November is a vote for moving backward, toward "more of the same."

"We will not go back to the 50s in social policy, to the Cold War in our foreign policy and to the policies of the last administration on our economic policy," Biden said, as he shouted into the microphone.

Also see:

Political jabs are 'nauseating,' mayor says

Gingrich is millions in the hole

Boehner and Pelosi say they feel good heading into November

Axelrod: Fund-raising pitch cited Wright threat to combat super PACs


Filed under: 2012 • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • New Hampshire • President Obama
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    Prediction: Biden will be the first one to drop the B word; BUSH ECONOMY.

    May 22, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  2. BLKMANinAmerica

    "The president said it was fair to analyze Romney's leadership and record at Bain, a record that includes company successes and failures." "If your main argument for how to grow the economy is, 'I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,' then you're missing what this job is about," Obama said. So true, a good example in modern times is GW Bush, very poor manager of all the companies he ever was the head of and WORSE very poor (I say totally incompetent) President of the U.S., by far the worst President ever.

    May 22, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Mike Texoma

    Joe Biden is talking about what this election is all about. Running a business is not at all like running a country, a nation, a society. Running a country is infinitely harder and more complicated, and the Republican party just does not understand that fact.

    So, I support Joe Biden's effort on behalf of the President to challenge the Republican preparedness to lead this country.

    May 22, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Flipper Rmoney Failure Ahead

    Though Rmoney is far from super, Bain will be his kryptonite.

    May 22, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. Slinky

    Did Mr Biden ever run a business? Or has he just been biden his time around the ivory tower of government? Romney was also a governor was he not? Maybe that is why the government is run with such great efficiency? Maybe the fact that businesses are hiring in China instead of here in the US, maybe because Biden doesn't know much about business? Just what is the model that allows the US government to run without any budget in place?

    May 22, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    Though by and large a legitimate business venture, Mitt Romney's private equity experience does not qualify him for the White House, Vice President Joe Biden said on Tuesday
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    The strategy Axelrod sold Obama is unraveling right before our eyes.
    The experience at Bain gave Mitt Romney such a huge advantage knowing in great detail how the economy works and how companies operate and get really good at what they do. But Mitt Romney's experience also includes being successful governor of Massachusetts. Big job done well. He is ready now. So is the nation.

    May 22, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    ""Here's the dirty little secret: when the companies fail, it costs every taxpayer money," Biden said. "It costs taxpayers in the unemployment insurance that we all pay for that person who is unemployed. It costs other businesses money, because we have a thing, a national pension fund where other companies pay into."

    "Somebody pays for this, not Romney and his investors," he continued. "

    Exactly. And now all you have to do is take the tiny little mental leap to understanding how very very analogous Mittens' activities would be as POTUS. He would do the exact same thing with the exact same result. Pillage the federal government like he did those companies to create privatized profits for a very very few and socialized losses for the rest of us.

    May 22, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "But Mitt Romney's experience also includes being successful governor of Massachusetts"

    Yeah, so successful he was drummed out of town with a 30%+/- approval rating and absolutely no chance at being re-elected. And he was so very proud of his accomplishments as governor, he decided that all his records and the computers storing them, etc., needed to be destroyed at taxpayer expense. His governorship was just resume building as far as he was concerned. He didn't give a crap about MA. He saw it as nothing more than a stepping stone to his "turn" as POTUS.

    May 22, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney BAIN RECORD – Bankrupted 8 companies in 9 years and pocketed his TAX-CUTS PROFITS in SWISS BANK Accounts and the CAYMEN ISLAND!!!

    AMPAD – Profit: $102 million – Bankrupt: 2002.
    DDI CORP – Profits: $36 million – Bankrupt: 2003.
    DAMON CORP – Profits: $1.5 million – Bankrupt: 2009.
    DADE BEHRING. Profits: $365 million – Bankrupt: 2002.
    STAGE STORES. Profits: $100 million – Bankrupt: 2000.
    GS INDUSTRIES. Profits: $65 million – Bankrupt: 2001.
    DETAILS. Profits: $93 million – Bankruptcy: 2003.
    WORD WIDE GRINDING. Profits $16.5 million – Bankrupt: 2001.

    May 22, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The experience at Bain gave Mitt Romney such a huge advantage knowing in great detail how the economy works and how companies operate and get really good at what they do."

    Versus what, Four? Those who've suffered the consequences of how private equity firms operate and become really good at job outsourcing? While making (in today's market) BILLIONS in profit - minus the jobs of course. Lets face it. I have no problem with private enterprise. I do have a problem with greedy corporations sitting on billions in profit whose CEOs still whine and moan they "can't operate" in today's market. Heck, even Mr. Alan Greenspan has a problem with today's corporate coruption. A Mitt Romney presidency doesn't bode well for the little people who have already been sucked dry. Which only leaves the rich to turn on each other fighting with themselves over what they still "need" and still "want" under "CEO" Mitt Romney.

    Not good for America. Not good for the world.

    May 22, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. A.C.

    ” But Mitt Romney's experience also includes being successful governor of Massachusetts.”
    Well, obviously NOT because that's not the experience he's touting to become Pres. You would think he would want to; but, just goes to show...that apple is not as shiny as it looks. There's a reason he didn't run a second term and why his state ranked 47th in, get this, JOB CREATION. Ya see, running a business and governing is not one in the same, and that's the point the Obama Administration is making and should continue to make.

    May 22, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. Keeping it Real

    Democrats are failing terribly here. Now dissension within the Democrat party on the negative campaign ads that are being put out by the Democrats. They sure look anti business to me!

    May 22, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. Name Pamma

    If it were not for the government jobs Biden and Obama have now, they would have never made it in the private sector. They are worthless.

    May 22, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. Myviewis

    Ya see, running a business and governing is not one in the same, and that's the point the Obama Administration is making and should continue to make.
    --------------–
    What does Obama know about business or governing when he has never done either. Obama was an attorney, author, neighborhood organizer.

    May 22, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  15. Four and The Door

    Lynda/Minnesota
    ... I do have a problem with greedy corporations sitting on billions in profit whose CEOs still whine and moan they "can't operate" in today's market. Heck, even Mr. Alan Greenspan has a problem with today's corporate coruption. A Mitt Romney presidency doesn't bode well for the little people who have already been sucked dry.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Let's be honest here. Profitable corporations do not cause unemployment. They fix it. We want American companies to be profitable. Profitable American companies support our nation, our states, our counties and our cities. "Little people" as you call them get hurt worse in a bad economy than everyone else. How do you fix a bad economy? One way and one way only. Get your national businesses profitable and growing. That's the challenge. Obama is not the guy to get this going. He is not a friend of the profitable American company. Or the American economy. Or your little people it turns out.

    Romney 2012

    May 22, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  16. Woman In California

    When the American people really check into Willard's references – the reply will be: thank you for applying – but YOU are NOT a fit for this job.
    Signed: The American People
    Good-bye.

    May 22, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  17. Sean

    The thing is government is NOT a business and can't be run as one. The Repub's contention that business skills are the sole qualification for President is fallacious.

    May 22, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. scott

    Something Obama does not want you to know. Its called a record of success by Bain Capital, don't believe it Google it,

    Sealy Corp was sold to Bain Capital in 1997.[1] Sealy Corp reported in 1997 the following:[2]

    5,456 employees
    $721 million in assets
    $11.7 million in net income

    In 2003, Sealy's last year with Bain Capital, they reported the following:[3]

    6,562 employees
    $959 million in assets
    $18.3 million in net income

    Under Bain Capital, Sealy Corp managed to add 1106 new full-time jobs(a 20% increase in its workforce), $238 million in assets, and still report a 56% increase in net income.

    May 22, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  19. Four and The Door

    Sniffit
    ... His governorship was just resume building as far as he was concerned. He didn't give a crap about MA. He saw it as nothing more than a stepping stone to his "turn" as POTUS.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    Mitt Romney eliminated a $1.5 billion state deficit as Governor of MA. He put in universal health care. He did care about the people of Massachusetts. And it was a stepping stone to his Presidency. He will be a great President.

    Romney 2012

    May 22, 2012 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. FrankinSD

    Of course Bain is a legitimate business. I've never heard anybody argue otherwise, except maybe Rick Perry. But that's hardly the point, is it? The point is whether being a vulture capitalist (as Governor Perrry so colorfully put it) is a good qualification for becoming President.

    May 22, 2012 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. Jayson

    "Biden: Bain is legitimate, but a poor campaign calling card"

    Given the fact that the US government constantly runs in the red, exactly what does that statement say for itself.....

    May 22, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  22. Ann

    A.C. "Ya see, running a business and governing is not one in the same, and that's the point the Obama Administration is making and should continue to make."

    Being a community organizer and governing is not the same either, and look at the result!

    May 22, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. vatoloke

    'Bain' is turning out to be the "bane" in the Willard the Chameleon's campaign.

    May 22, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  24. getoverit

    Obviously being a community organizer is not the key either...

    May 22, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  25. Flipper Rmoney Failure Ahead

    So Rmoney can't run on Bain and he can't run on his record in MA. What does that leave him? Blubbering "buh-buh-buh-THE OLYMPICS!" for the next five months?

    May 22, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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