Romney's profit 'harvest' in latest video from Mother Jones
September 28th, 2012
10:24 AM ET
6 years ago

Romney's profit 'harvest' in latest video from Mother Jones

(CNN) – The left-leaning publication that posted the secretly-recorded videos of Mitt Romney that included his controversial "47%" comments is online with a new, older video where the GOP candidate describes a mission to "harvest" small businesses while at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded.

Mother Jones posted video taken in 1985 of Romney describing how the his firm was formed and the company's goal to buy stakes in start-up businesses, manage them for between five and eight years and then "harvest them at a significant profit."

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"Bain Capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in startup companies and on-going companies, then to take an active hand in managing them and hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit," said Romney in the video posted to Mother Jones' website Thursday.

While campaigning, Romney has touted jobs created as a result of his time as founder and CEO of Bain Capital, buying and managing various smaller companies. The latest video, however, suggests a different objective for the companies-a means to generate profit.

Mother Jones said the latest video was part of a CD-ROM compiled in 1998 celebrating the 25th anniversary of Bain & Company, the parent company to Romney's private equity firm.

Mother Jones posted the first video earlier this month, which showed Romney speaking candidly to a group of top-dollar donors at a private fund-raiser in May about the "47%" of Americans he said who would automatically vote for President Barack Obama because they are dependent on government and consider themselves "victims," among other controversial comments.

"There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said in one of the previously posted clips that generated a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. "There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

Democrats took off with Romney's "47%" comments using the footage in political ads to criticize the Republican presidential hopeful for writing off nearly half of the American population.

Romney responded to the criticism saying that he cares for "100%" of Americans and admitted his remarks were "not elegantly stated," though ultimately defending the crux of his argument.

"We have a very different approach – the president and I – between a government-dominated society and a society driven by free people pursuing their dreams," Romney said at a press conference with reporters after the secretly recorded fund-raiser videos were posted.

The Romney campaign responded to the latest video asserting that Romney's tenure with the company helped save jobs at struggling companies.

"In addition to starting new businesses, Mitt Romney helped build Bain Capital by turning around broken companies, creating and saving thousands of jobs. The problem today is that President Obama hasn't been able to turn around our economy in the same way," said Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.

In May, Obama also took Romney to task for his time at Bain Capital saying his Republican opponent's experience in the private sector does anything but qualify him for the White House.

"When you're president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot," the president said during a press conference at the NATO summit in Chicago.

CNN's Dana Davidsen contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Bain Capital • Mitt Romney
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Bill from GA

    Maybe the story should have mentioned more about how romney liked the cheap (child) labor that would work long hours, the way Bain companies could avoid US taxes with Chinese factories, and the lack of health standards, or even decent human standards, in the dorms where these workers were kept.

    September 28, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Malory Archer

    Democrat Party

    What is wrong with investing... That is the whole concept to risk YOUR money and maximize your profits.


    Even if it means the destruction of jobs that pay livable wages that brought about the American middle class. BTW, it wasn't mittens' money – it was investors. He just reaped the windfall brought about by the misery of his "harvests".

    September 28, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  3. usa

    There is nothing controversial about this. Romney's record is clean. The media can skew anything they want, which is unfortunate, but the facts are facts. People are in business to make money. Is this a revelation? We need him to stimulate our economy and help create jobs. If large companies are successful, they hire more people, and promote smaller businesses to start up. That's what we need in America right now. Romney'/Ryan are the men for the job!

    September 28, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. The Other Dale

    Psst – "harvesting" is not the same as "exit strategy" as any real business-owner or first-year business student would be able to tell you. Or, for that matter, anyone that had their jobs kicked out from under them as part of one of Mr. Romney's harvestings. To try to excuse the indiscriminate, anti-capitalist endeavors of Mr. Romney by confusing the two terms is rather wreckless politticking and shows clear signs why Americans are so gullible about corporations.

    September 28, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. papanez

    There's a feeling, somewhere deep inside of me, that is leading me to believe that Mitt really wants President Obama re-elected. I'm starting to think that the 47% video was actually recorded by Mitt on his cell phone and Mitt slipped it to President Carter's grandson to get it released.
    Can't wait to see what happens next! It wouldn't surprise me if some of the money he's hiding in the Caymans and Bermuda are directly from his investment in Mother Jones itself! I'm thinking on election night when the President walks out on stage to deliver his victory speech, he may be carried out on Mitt's shoulders!!! Can't wait for this movie!

    September 28, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Sam

    so it takes Bain 5-7 years to turn around a company. but Mitt believes Obama should have turned the whole country around in 4? hmmm.....

    September 28, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Romney the "farmer", who knew?!
    Seriously, Romney started a trend that caught on. He was not the only way involved in vulture capitalism. I don't blame the man's entrepeneurial spirit. It is what built America, and in his chosen profession, helped to destroy it. But Romney say a good concept full of oportunities and he ran with it. if the bottom had not fallen out of our economy no one would've had a problem with it. But it did and we turned around and saw him shipping jobs overseas while we lost ours. We saw him making money while we lost ours. We saw him enjoying the obscene profits made at our expense.
    and now he wants to be our President while telling us that he still doesn't care about us, he just wants to continue to make himself and his friends money with a new enterprise: the Presidency.
    I don't think so.
    Obama 2012.Period.

    September 28, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    "With another Obama term, you idiots will cement the demise of the U.S. forever. THEN you can be happy!"

    Ah, easy goes it now...

    (Dropped my flashlight and almost didn't get out from under my bed in time to respond:)

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 28, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Lisa P


    Romney is no "JOB CREATOR". As the video/article above clearly shows "HE/BAIN WERE HARVESTORS OF COMPANIES". Staple and one or two other companies happened to be CLEARLY AND ALMOST UNIQUELY sound companies within there own right (needing only investments). Romney/Bain saw the potential of these companies and let them ESCAPE HARVESTING, STAPLES BEING ONE OF THESE COMPANIES. Because of Staples creating a BUNCH OF MINIMUM WAGE AND OR PART-TIME JOBS...ON PAR WITH JOBS AT MCDONALDS OR BURGER KING, Romney continues to toot himself a "JOB CREATOR", and therefore qualified to be President. This reminds me of a commercial I've seen. I can't remember whether its for doctors, insurance or some other medicinal product, but the commercial shows people trying to medicate a job for which they are not qualified for...THAT IS MITT ROMNEY ALL THE WAY...IN THE RACE FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES...A JOB FOR WHICH HE IS NOT QUALIFIED FOR!!!
    September 28, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am
    You know, I've often wondered how many mom-and-pop local stationary stores Staples put out of business. And how about U.S. office supply and paper manufacturers forced to compete with the inferior, but cheaper!, products from China with which Staples flooded the market? We who work with the stuff know about the dry pens, the paper jams and the staples that bend when confronted by ten pages that need to be stuck together, but Purchasing never looked at anything but the price, until our local suppliers went out of business and we no longer had any choice. Smart people can be pretty stupid sometimes, especially when they think it's all about, and only about, money.

    September 28, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. LocalVokal

    *Howard Cosell Voice* "Down goes Romney! Down goes Romney!"

    September 28, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Correction to my previous post:

    "He was not the only one involved in vulture capitalism. I don't blame the man's entrepreneurial spirit. It is what built America"

    Fat fingers at work! Pardon.

    September 28, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. Mittens Rmoney

    I like firing people!

    September 28, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Gordon Gecko lives

    The more I learn of Romney, the less I like him. This man has all the trappings of the fictional character Gordon Gecko. He is in it for a quick buck no matter how many lives he destroys. This soul-less man must not be allowed to rule.

    September 28, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. concerned citizen

    I am totally disgusted by Mother Johns - First, what is wrong with "harvest them at a significant profit"? We need companies that make a profit, not deficit, as then companies have a capacity to hire people and pay tax against profit. Then, Romney was talking to whom? General public? Or investors? You cannot judge people's personality without having a context.

    President Obama got caught when he was whispering that he would become flexible and change policies after his re-election at a meeting with Medvedev. He angered voters with his comment on guns and religion during a fundraiser. Did these comments determine his personality as a calculating, arrogant, and flip-flapping? I don't think so. Obama needed to do and say what he needed to do with particular audience at a particular setting. Romney needed to do the same.

    September 28, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  15. Sue, Massachusetts

    Are you kidding me! Do people really believe this crap! Thank God there are business's like Bain Capital! My company was bought by venture capitalist's and it was the best thing that ever happedned to it! They owned us for 5 years and then sold us. Of course they made a profit. What the heck people! Wake up! Vote Romney/Ryan!

    September 28, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. Kimber

    So it's better that these companies should be allowed to fail and then ALL the employees could be out of work? Or startup companies should be allowed to flail? "Harvesting" a company can mean selling the new-start company to a larger corporation, or it can mean selling off or eliminating unproductive parts of the company, or it can mean getting out of a certain line of work because it's no longer profitable.

    Maybe the left should ask George Soros how he makes his money.

    September 28, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Laurie in Spokane

    Now, is anyone surprised at this revelation? It just confirms what we know about Romney, that he/Bain bought businesses, used them, and spewed (sold) them at great profit to to detriment of the employees. What a guy huh?

    September 28, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Larry

    These people are dumb as a bag of rocks , when a CEO tells you he harvested a company he is telling you he saved it he has profit . Just so this 47 % welfare voter understands , when a farmer harvest a crop he makes money off the farm . Gov. Romney saved more jobs and created new jobs than obama could even dream of with all his goverment money . obama did not harvest General Moters he depressed them GM wants out. Gov. Romney would have bankrupt GM and in time GM would be a harvest because of new buyouts . Solyndra was not a harvest for obama it was a bust with tax payer money .what do we want obama bust or Gov. Romney harvest.

    September 28, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. LocalVokal

    Kimber, Soros isn't running for President. Sorry.

    September 28, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. Concerned Citzen

    Not to sound ignorant, but who better to turn this economy around than a person who knows business versus someone who is simply a politician. There all just a bunch of crooks anyhow and the whole government and political parties need to be replaced for the most part. I am tired of all these ads where they criticize each other. None of them have lived thru seeing there purchaing power decline or incomes remain stagnant while some princes have tripled such as gasoline and less benefits from the companies they work for over the past 10 years like most Americans. Tell me more about your past successes and what you are going to do to restore this countries greatness as a nation and economy.

    signed: Lost Faith

    September 28, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. Emmanuel Allie

    President Obama could not more correct in rejecting the Romney business credential argument. The presidency of any nation and especially the united states has never been about profit maximization. That is the primary objective of a for- profit business. A national leader governs and creates conditions for social and economic upward mobility. Establishing an atmosphere for fairness through legislation, human capital and infrastructural development. Romney represents a bankrupt ideology that only the republicans insist on keeping alive.

    September 28, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. Lynn - Ohio

    I have no problem with Private Equity that actually invests in the companies they buy. I do have a problem with Private Equity buying a comapny, draining off the cash, saddling it with debt, cutting workers, stopping benefits, and squeezing every employee for the last penny. This is not investment, but rather a parasitic relationship. In the end, the "holding company" that has been formed to shield the Private Equity firm which has been saddled with the debt will go bust and every dollar that was squeezed out it kept by the Private Equity firm without any liability for the debt used mostly to pay them back for the original purchase. Without risk, this is not really an investment, but a scam. I have experienced this first hand.

    September 28, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Tee Darling

    I pity those who plan to vote for Mitt. They really need to wake up. I am an independent but after watching the "47%" video and the this "harvest" video, I have finally made up my mind to vote for President Obama for his 2nd term as the President of the United States Of America! Obama 2012!!!

    September 28, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Thomas

    Why won't Fox news ask Romney why none of his five sons volunteered for military service , during times of war , wars they supported.

    In regards to Bain , how much did his companies success depend on government low entrust loans ?

    Why would I vote for a guy who's economic policies helped create the economic downturn . Where was Romney back in 2008 , he did not mention the economy once then , he was all about National security .

    September 28, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. tony

    Harvesting is not too make the company succeed long-term and grow securely. But to make it as as convertible to as much fast buck cash return as possible, regardless of whether that would hurt or even kill the business entirely.

    September 28, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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