May 22nd, 2012
04:39 PM ET
11 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. GI Joe

    Robme will turn on anyone if there is money in it for HIS pocket.

    May 22, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. SCPatriot

    What the Obama "Sheriff" who was to protect Americans from fraud and waste in the spending of Stimulus Money!!!

    When is this fool that has never produced a dime for America, spending his entire live wasting other people's money going to answer why he lost almost a TRILLION DOLLARS on three legged horses (Solar Industry). Why the Obama supporters of these companies gave themselves bonuses and shut the business down???????????

    WHY JOE? IT WAS YOUR JOB AND YOU FAILED AMERICA!! YOU FAILED THE TAXPAYERS!!! You have absolutely no credibility until you can explain why this happened when YOU WERE THE SHERIFF!

    May 22, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  3. Stewart

    Years ago i worked for a national nonprofit and with a couple of local charities. Community organizers always overspent and lost money since they could ask for more donations while real business people stayed in budget and made money. I will go with mitt.

    May 22, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
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