Sununu: Bain critics 'attacking American way of life'
May 22nd, 2012
11:42 AM ET
2 years ago

Sununu: Bain critics 'attacking American way of life'

(CNN) – Opponents calling into question Mitt Romney's tenure as the chief executive of Bain Capital are "attacking the American way of life," according to former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a top surrogate for Romney's presidential campaign.

Speaking on a conference call Tuesday, Sununu said he was outraged Democrats would attack Romney's track record at the private equity giant.

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"I am amazed at listening to President Obama and Vice President Biden attacking free enterprise in general, and their specific attacks on Bain," Sununu said. "The free enterprise system is the American way of life, and when you attack free enterprise you're attacking the American way of life."

Over the past week and a half, Democrats have used web videos and television ads to paint Romney as a job killer during his tenure at Bain. They have focused on companies that were acquired by the company and later went bankrupt. Representatives for Obama's campaign have been careful to add they aren't attacking private equity as a whole, but rather trying to assess the "lessons and values" Romney learned while in the business.

Sununu did concede that Bain was "fair game" in the presidential campaign, but said Romney's record at the firm needed to be presented in its entirety, not in bits and pieces.

"I think the Bain record as a whole is fair game," Sununu said. "What you have to do is do an honest evaluation. The Bain record is about 80% they were able to save jobs at companies, and 20% when they invested in companies that were in such bad shape they weren't able to save jobs."

Sununu's assertion echoed a response from Bain Monday, which released a statement decrying the recent ads and touting the firm's successes.

"Despite political attacks that emphasize the few companies that have struggled, the facts are that during Bain Capital's ownership, revenues grew in 80 percent of the more than 350 companies in which we have invested," the statement read.

Obama's campaign was quick to pounce on Sununu's claim, releasing a statement calling it "dishonest."

"John Sununu's dishonest attacks ignore the reality of Mitt Romney's record in the public and private sectors: his focus wasn't on creating jobs, it was about creating wealth for himself and his investors, no matter the cost to workers, companies or communities," Danny Kanner, an Obama campaign spokesman, wrote.

Sununu said the Romney record at Bain was "certainly better than the batting average in trying to save jobs in alternative energy," referring to the Obama administration's role in Solyndra, the now-bankrupt solar energy firm that received millions in federal subsidies. Sununu pointed to that company as evidence of failed White House job creation policies. The constant attacks on Bain are simply cover for a poor record on economic growth, Sununu said.

"This administration has been a failure," Sununu said. "The Obama administration has been an abject failure. What you see with the attacks on Bain is an effort of President Obama to hide his failed presidency from the voters of America. I think it's a disgrace for him to pretend that his attacks on Bain are anything else but character attacks on Gov. Romney."


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soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Core republican Values

    Bain is the "American Way of Life?"

    Sure, for the 1%. Classic core republican values. Doesn't everybody buy BMWs? Doesn't everybody have a maid and a butler?

    May 22, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Reggie from LA

    Doesn't he mean "certain" American's way of life. So taking down companies is a "way of life"? They did too, for anyone who doubt's what Bain did. If they were so sad and concerned about the companies that they drowned, how come they pocketed SO MUCH of the remaining revenues instead of sharing with then-unemployed workers. Why did they get so much and the workers SO LITTLE. I guess that's the American way of life alright. The 1% way.
    Now before you vote, be smart. The Romney agenda has already been established by the GOP and Norquist. They've already told you that. You haven't heard? Research that a little. Romney is just spouting ideologies to attract the votes of the fearful and it seems to be working. It doesn't matter. He owes his machine for putting him there and he knows who to pay back. It won't be you, John Q. Middle Class.

    May 22, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    And BTW, Arkansas has an open primary, which means the votes for Wolfe will no doubt include many many many GOPers/Teatrolls trying to skew the results. Never heard of "raiding"? Apparently, CNN doesn't want you to, because they want you to fall for the bobblehead blather when they start pontificating on the Arkansas primary results while glossing over the FACT that raiding will have taken place.

    May 22, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    For a republican to compare Bain to the American way of life is a bunch of crap.

    May 22, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    If anyone out there wants to know where Bain Capital and its' affiliates stand on job creation, just go to there web site and read the Mission Statement. Lots of stuff about "return on investments" and "best interests of our clients", but nothing about jobs.

    May 22, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. sonny chapman

    We need a Prez who's more like Bill Clinton & less like George W. Bush. Mittens, you're out.

    May 22, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. jefflz

    Sununu demonstrates yet again that he is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. He is very confused about the role of venture capital in American economics. There is a huge difference between those VC’s who take risks funding start-ups in innovative businesses be it in high tech or in the biomedical industry, among others. They funded the creation of Silicon Valley and the biotech industry, two of this country’s most important economic engines. The Romney/Bain Vulture Capitalist model is based on a smash-and-grab strategy that sucks out all the assets of a faltering company, pays huge bonuses to the investors, defunds pension plans at the expense of the tax payer and basically takes no risk with their own money. This business model is exemplary of Romney’s cold corporatist empathy-devoid personality and illustrates why he is unfit to be the leader of this country. These attacks are valid and important sources of information about who Romney really is.

    May 22, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens would be the third Bush president if he is elected this year.

    May 22, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Keith A. Sillsbury

    Opponents calling into question Mitt Romney's tenure as the chief executive of Bain Capital are "attacking the American way of life," according to former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu. Well duhuh! Thats exactly what WE THE PEOPLE have been saying for decades. The American way of life has changed to into something we don't want or need. It is no longer what Americans are about. It's what corporations are about but NOT the American People. so yesw John We are Calling YOU and Your Wantabe leader OUT.

    May 22, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  10. Four and The Door

    "John Sununu's dishonest attacks ignore the reality of Mitt Romney's record in the public and private sectors: his focus wasn't on creating jobs, it was about creating wealth for himself and his investors, no matter the cost to workers, companies or communities," Danny Kanner, an Obama campaign spokesman, wrote.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Companies do not go into business to create jobs. But if they are successful and stay in business jobs are usually part of that result. Danny Kanner is Deputy Director of Rapid Response for the Obama/ Biden 2012 campaign. He is a professional at talking before he thinks. Good pick, Obama.

    Romney 2012

    May 22, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. chuck weidemann

    What policies have failed....not the ones passed by congress!!! They only failure anyone can really point to is our elected leaders other than the president to govern...lead.

    May 22, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. ST

    Can Romney come up himself and defend what Sununu is saying: "American way of life"? Can he? I hope he can't. Only the wealthy are living such life and middle class have a different story of living.

    May 22, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    I'm sure he also came out and attracked the Republicans when they went after Romney on Bain didn't he? After all if I recall it was Newt, Perry, Santourm and Bachmann that started this attack. Even Sarah Palin put in her 2 cents worth on it during the primaries. Sununu is full of horse pooh!

    May 22, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. democrat for life

    don't forget what mittens did with his money that he stole from the laid-off workers. he sent all that lovely money off shore so he wouldn't have to pay any taxes on it. what a nice guy. the american way? god i hope not. if so then we are all in trouble if this bobble head gets to the white house.

    May 22, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Steve, New York City

    Spoiled, multi-millionaire, annoying, pompous boarding school types? That's the American way? I don't think so.

    May 22, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  16. Busted

    Of course, any republican would be outraged at any attempt to keep American jobs in America

    May 22, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of FAILURE

    Has anybody bothered to total up all of the people Obama has sent to the unemployment lines with his policies over the last 4 years? GM workers? Chrysler workers? Solyndra workers? Workers from 4-5 other failed green energy scams costing the US taxpayers billions?

    Of course he would have to be given credit for the thousands of additional jobs in the smoke, mirror and snake oil industry his administration has created.

    May 22, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  18. Dave

    I'm surprised that it took this long for a Republican to start talking about Dems "attacking America." This is their standard playbook at work – disagree with us (the GOP) and you're either attacking America or you are unamerican. We've seen this before.

    Even a drooling idiot like Sununu knows that Bain and companies like it couldn't care less about jobs. They care about lining their pockets. That's fine, but it's a complete lie for Romney to say that he was concerned about creating jobs when he was more concerned about building elevators for his cars. Just more proof that Romney and his boot-lickers will do and say anything to win.

    May 22, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    Nothing says "American way of life" like "outsourced Chinese labor."

    May 22, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Has anybody bothered to total up all of the people Obama has sent to the unemployment lines with his policies over the last 4 years? GM workers? Chrysler workers? Solyndra workers? Workers from 4-5 other failed green energy scams costing the US taxpayers billions?

    Of course he would have to be given credit for the thousands of additional jobs in the smoke, mirror and snake oil industry his administration has created."

    Given that the vast VAST majority of the jobs lost were lost before any of his policies were enacted, let alone took effect, and that he's created 4M jobs in the past 25-26 months, I'm pretty sure you're asking if anyone kept track of the jobs numbers because you live in an ideological echo chamber bubble and are in the throes of a massive psychotic denial fit. YES, PEOPLE KEPT TRACK OF THE NUMBERS. THEY PROVE YOU HORRIBLY WRONG AND A LIAR.

    May 22, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. Ken in MD

    Yes, it's the American way of life for the top 1%. Obama is not attacking Bain. He's attacking Romney's saying that his experience at Bain is what prepared him for understanding job creating as President. This after he killed tens of thousands of jobs while at Bain. Get the facts straight.

    May 22, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. 2020

    Romney and dog are on the table. yes, of course. NO ROMNEY NO BAIN; NO BAIN, NO PAIN. IT IS A FAIR ASSESSMENT, to the millions of workers who lost their jobs.

    May 22, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  23. Four and The Door

    Sniffit
    Nothing says "American way of life" like "outsourced Chinese labor."
    ________________________________________________________________________________________
    Don't see a lot of Chinese workers when I go into Staples, Outback Steak House, The Burlington Coat Factory, Michaels...

    May 22, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. Donkey Party

    Leave it to the cowardly, urine-yellow Republicans to ALWAYS play the "victim" card. Absolutely pathetic.

    May 22, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  25. w l jones

    Sorry! these same fellow call slave labor free enterprise system.

    May 22, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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