(CNN) – An executive at Bain Capital, the private equity firm where Mitt Romney's was once CEO, described the attacks against his company this election year as an expected exaggeration.
"Hyperbole has been part of elections since the days of John Adams," Steve Pagliuca, a Democrat, said on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria, GPS." "I think from Bain Capital's perspective, people discount that hyperbole. They know it's hyperbole."
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Democrats have targeted the company as a dark piece of baggage for Romney, using his former firm to portray the GOP nominee as a greedy, self-interested businessman. Romney founded Bain in 1984 and served as CEO before leaving day-to-day managerial duties in 1999 to run the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
Priorities USA Action, a super PAC supportive of President Barack Obama, in particular made Bain a focus of attack this year. The group spent $20 million on a television and online ad campaign that featured laid-off workers from companies that went bankrupt after being purchased by Bain.
The firm has responded to the attacks by pointing to its 80% success rate.
"It's a misnomer out there that private equity profits by shrinking companies," said Pagliuca, who serves as Bain's managing director. "In fact, it's just the opposite. Private equity creates value by growing great companies."
Pagliuca's history with Bain and politics runs deep. Along with being the co-owner of the Boston Celtics, Pagliuca ran for his party's nomination in the 2010 Massachusetts special election to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. He lost in the primary to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who then lost in the general election to Republican Scott Brown.
According to Federal Election Commission records, Pagliuca has given tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates and committees in recent years.
But the Bain executive didn't hold back in his praise for Romney in the interview Sunday. Pagliuca said Romney gave him his first job at another firm - Bain and Company - before Romney co-founded Bain Capital.
"He's an incredible family man. He's got a good sense of humor. It sometimes gets him in trouble, but he's got a great sense of humor, and he's a very smart person," Pagliuca said. "So I'm really heartened by the fact that this is an election where we have two fantastic candidates. I worked with President Obama as well."
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