Rivals grudgingly defend Romney from Bain criticism
January 11th, 2012
09:04 PM ET
11 years ago

Rivals grudgingly defend Romney from Bain criticism

(CNN) - Two of Mitt Romney's opponents for the 2012 GOP nomination took heed Wednesday of former President Ronald Reagan's so-called 11th Commandment: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum both avoided jumping onto the pile of critics who say Mitt Romney destroyed jobs and bankrupted businesses during his time as CEO of Bain Capital, though it wasn't easy for them to throw praise at the Republican frontrunner.

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"I hate to sit here and be a defender of Mitt Romney, but to me this is federal capitalism, and I have to say that this is an attack probably not warranted," Santorum said.

Speaking on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," Santorum said the line of argument against Romney didn't mesh with facts from Bain's history.

"Bain Capital, at least from the record I looked at, had a lot of success," Santorum said. "I mean they weren't a company that has a long track of record basically destroying the companies and selling off the pieces. They had some situations where they had failures but every company does."

Speaking in Columbia, South Carolina, Huntsman said the business model of Bain was an historic element of capitalism.

"If you have creative destruction in capitalism, which has always been a part of capitalism, it becomes a little disingenuous to take on Bain Capital," Huntsman said. "I think it was more instructive to take on Romney's record as governor."

That record, Huntsman said, would be more than enough to tear down Romney.

"He was elected to represent his people for four years, and what did he do for the economy? He didn't deliver any big economic proposals. I delivered the largest tax cut in the history of my state, the flat tax," Huntsman said.

Rick Perry hasn't been so merciful on Romney for his record at Bain, labeling the firm "vulture capitalists" for their role in taking over companies that went on to lay off workers.

A super PAC backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently purchased the rights to a scathing half-hour documentary portraying Romney as a heartless corporate raider. The group said it would use the video to produce television ads to run in South Carolina.

Also see:

Poll: Romney, Santorum tied with Obama in Florida

Gingrich fires up down South

S.C. Republicans plan presidential forum in conservative upstate

Santorum to spend fundraising haul immediately in S.C.

Filed under: 2012 • Jon Huntsman • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    Funny how Cheney and Rove seem to control what Reagan said. LOL Where's Reagan's Big Tent? I was a Republican for 35 years. GWBush was the end for me. I am now an Independent. Cheney and Rove are behind Romney who he himself sold his soul to them. A vote for Romney is a return to GWBush policies. The other candidates can swallow hard, line up and defend Romney but I'm praying GOP voters see what is happening. If Romney is elected America will return to GW Bush (Cheney/Rove) policies, be at war with Iran by this time next year, and begin the official declaration of a monied plutocracy. Reagan will roll over in his grave.

    January 11, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  2. Indy

    It will boil down to Romneys poor record as Governor, there is nothing in his record in the private sector that can transfer to the current times. You don't create jobs as President the same way you create jobs in the private sector, and everyone seems to forget that Bain was a financial company that provided financing, they did not create new jobs.If you take Mitts record as Governor and bring out all his Liberal policies and his placing 47th in job creation during good economic times he does not stack up so great.

    January 11, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  3. MP75

    Why did they flip flop? Did someone threaten to destroy their campaigns? Haha.

    January 11, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  4. Woman In California

    This is one of the reasons I will NEVER trust or vote for Jon Huntsman. Make no mistake they are ALL one in the same.

    January 11, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  5. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There is no need to defend the companies that take jobs from Americans and send them overseas. Why should we give them any support since they don't support us.

    January 11, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  6. Larry L

    Screwing the working class isn't a sin for a Republican – it's a goal.

    January 11, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  7. MM

    Anti-Bain movement reminds me of Hitler's pro-worker/anti-banker concern for nationalism. It went a long way.
    Each Republican voter must decide; nationalistic worker or Bain-like banker with no national integrity.

    January 12, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  8. Marcello

    These guys are following Ron Paul's lead.

    January 12, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  9. T'sah From Virginia

    ►"Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican."◄
    Even if they LIE and are CORRUPT and steal Pelicans (LOL)
    We should stick with and back each other up no matter what goes down
    Even if you suddenly notice that your buddy's "Pants are on the Ground"

    This is how sick the Republicans are when they feel that they need to stick together even if they are DEAD WRONG on all of the issues!!!

    Obama 2012 – He shall not think ill for the Middle Class!!!

    January 12, 2012 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  10. The Elephant In The Room

    None of our Ptresidential candidates truly understands the puts & take, pros & cons, or debits & credits associated with capitalism and running a going concern that is a net contributor to society.

    They feel compelled to blindly cheerlead any mention regarding what business desires.

    For example, "lowering taxes" is viewed as "pro-business" but have you ever heard politicians talk about drawing a contol volume around the public and the corporation? Have you seen them demand accountability?

    Mitt Romney`s work at Bain is highly relevant. He professes to bring those skills to bear on the American economy. The problem is that we don`t want the complete package that results from a vulture capitalists actions and Romney wants to hide behind the millions in fees he was able to extract. THAT MODEL DOESN`T WORK for citizen tax payers and will be revealed.

    January 12, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  11. Cfrench

    Of course they're defending Romney. Getting rich at the expense of and off the backs of the little people is what being a republican is all about.

    January 12, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |