Sununu: Bain critics 'attacking American way of life'
May 22nd, 2012
11:42 AM ET
11 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. Lisa P

    How weird - John Sununu thinks that American corporations are in it to create *jobs*? Back when Reagan was President Republicans were far more honest about it: corporations are in to to make *money*. As it happens manufacturing companies might also produce something that other people can use, but a firm like Bain Capital exists only to gather (*not* create) wealth for its partners. Everything else, every other effect of its actions, is just collateral damage or "creation." Bain Capital doesn't give a damn who lost their job, what factory was closed or what community impoverished as long as Mitt Romney came out of it with lots and lots of money. What's with all the fake concern all of a sudden? This is the "American way of life" Sununu and Romney approved of and created and want to foist on the rest of us. Is Sununu saying there is some kind of problem with that?

    May 22, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. citizen9

    I am going to rush right over and play a couple million on the stock market. It is the American way!

    May 22, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. Richard Broderick, Jr.

    Who is this guy to tell us about the "American way of life"? Sunnunu together with the Bush administration brought us needless war and torture. They raided the social security trust fund to pay for government expenses while they dimished the government's revenue by giving unaffordable tax cuts to the ultra-elite. Just how much damage does someone have to do to this country before we learn not to listen to a thing they say?

    May 22, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. The REAL Truth...

    @JerseyBill – To bring some civility to the campaign, both candidates should avoid topics they know nothing about. Thus, Romney should keep his mouth shut on community organizing and Obama should shut his trap on creating jobs.
    It is apparent, that you have avoided that civility.. see the dichotomy? You want others to be civil yet use the word "trap" when referring to Obama's mouth, and "mouth" when referring to Mitten's.. oh the rancor!

    May 22, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  5. tumbleweed

    @Four shut the door
    "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.

    We all know that . However, Mittens is running on his role as Job Creator. If he said I was in it to make money and some people got jobs and some lost them as a result, at least he would be honest and I'd respect him a little more. BUT he's claiming to be a Job Creator and running for the POTUS based on job creation not on wealth creation. You know that 4 but still defend him as a job creator. Just because you made a ton of money and some people were able to get a job as a result of it doesn't qualify you to be leader of the free world. You need to have some empathy and a soul to lead the world. He has neither. Got any more hogwash Four?

    May 22, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. cnnife

    How on Earth could anyone abandon his expirience as the govenor of a state, but prefer to use his expirience as a CEO of a corporate equity firm as a qualification to become the POTUS! When a CEO/investor takes over a company like Bain, was he risking his money so that those poor workers can keep their jobs, or about his ROI? The motive behind these 2 jobs are clearly not identical. If Mit is really proud of his accompalishment as a steward of a political office, then he should emphasize what he did in massachusetts.

    May 22, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "Don't see a lot of Chinese workers when I go into Staples, Outback Steak House, The Burlington Coat Factory, Michaels..."

    Who do you think made the crap you're buying there? I mean, seriously, could you be more intentionally obtuse? DO we really need to bring up Ampad, GST Steel and the rest all over again? YOu dont' get to claim all sorts of successes and then ignore and downplay the downright awful record that exists with respect to other businesses with which Bain was involved...and that's without even touching how tenuous Mittens' claims are with respect to being responsible for all the jobs created by places like Staples AFTER Mittens was gone from Bain. You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have....the truth. The ONLY reason people are pointing out the negatives is because Mittens is running around pretending they don't exist...just as you are. If Mittens wants it to stop, he has only one choice and it's not "cry, whine, gnash teeth and send out surrogates to attack back." It's simple: admit the negatives and the entire thing deflates. Will he? NO. Game on.

    May 22, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    Lisa P
    ... Bain Capital doesn't give a damn who lost their job, what factory was closed or what community impoverished as long as Mitt Romney came out of it with lots and lots of money.
    The companies Bain Capital works with, invests in and brings back to profitability are always in peril prior to Bain's involvement. The jobs, factories and communities are already in trouble. If Bain does good work and is successful, the companies stay in business and jobs are saved. Your version is the kind of pathetic twisted political drivel we expect out of Obama/ Biden 2012. It is grasping for straws and shows a desperation that makes sense for Obama. He is a one termer and Mitt Romney is the guy that will beat him in November.

    Romney 2012.

    May 22, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. Mitts chief campaign manager is comical Ali.

    Dont be such crybabies. The man wanted to showcase his bain credentials, and hes now getting slammed on that.

    May 22, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Luke,AZ

    So the "American way of life" means to loot companies for profit and lay off everyone. America needs a change,the 1% are destroying this country. It's time to take back our country from the Republicans.

    May 22, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. curious

    Bain Capital, invested in companies as bankers. They did not go on sales calls or made the companies more effiicent. The companies that were successful because of the hard work of each companies middle management.

    May 22, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. Governor 47th in Job Growth

    Sign me up for some of that "free enterprise" American way of life where anytime it's heads I win, tails you lose.
    Nope the American Dream is not a fair chance and everyone paying their fair share. It's looting. pillaging, and claiming to be a good church-goer while destroying people's lives.
    Thanks for letting us all know Johnny S'No no

    May 22, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. Marcy

    Hey Sununu, why do you think alexithymic Mitt started quieting down about his BAIN years, all of a sudden?

    May 22, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  14. Karl

    Give it up Four and the Door--happier news and blogs for you at Druge Report or over at FOX LAND. You man, Mitt, won't win--he's 114 projected electoral votes behind President Obama and totally on the wrong side of history. As for BAIN? Why is Mitt suddenly so quiet about those 25 years there? Senile Sunun is clueless. You might educate yourself, read THE REAL ROMNEY, for starters, so that you can post some facts and not bogus claims.

    May 22, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Pete

    Sununu,stay up there,up in New Hampshire,remember who helped ya out after your northeasterner beat ya up,wasn't the president who sent help even against the republicans and their dollar for dollar stances even on state emergencies,not wanting to give in for assistance to any state effected,remember.The obstructionistic party of "NO"has done absolutely nothing for the American people and you know darn well yourself,but are too scared to speak out about it for political reasons,your job,right!!!I explained on another site how many jobs Bain created,only the office help,that's for sure.Sports Authority,Staples , all the other corporations Bain affected with their cancerous agendas of bleeding the corporations dry,selling off everything,even employees pensions then selling the remains.But other venture capitalist or equity groups took over and gave these corporations a financial transfusion of sorts,giving them a second chance, the needed help to make a once dead corporation a useful ,viable contender even after Bain wrote them off as worthless.It's Bains procedures and Romneys stance that is in question,not all equity and venture capitalists groups,their not all blood sucking vultures,no,we're talking of only one,the one that Romney built,the Mormon master and his magical diapers that we're after,the hypocritical job creator and his flip flopping campaign agendas,that's all!!

    May 22, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  16. fairpol

    Obama’s policies have wreaked havoc on the middle class Рdoubling of gas prices, declining incomes, millions of foreclosures, millions and millions unemployed, deficits at 16+ trillions and growing, and now he turns his attack on free enterprise which creates jobs. He is clueless about free enterprise and that is why he failed to create policies which are friendly to businesses. Americans know they're not better off than they were four years ago. He has failed to turn around the economy and failed to unite the country, but instead turned out to be a divisive and destructive politician. He has failed to give the country hope, unity and direction he promised in 2008, . It is time for a change. Romney has been a turn-around specialist, a skill the country needs right now to turn around the economy and get people back to work.

    May 22, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. chill

    Sure, that's the American way of life. I just bought a couple companies yesterday. NOT Look, a company does not sell itself to venture capitalists if it has another choice or way to capitalize itself. These are either young start-ups or companies already in trouble. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. And the VC is trying to maximize the return to its investors. That's just the way it works and it's likely that the people who lost jobs would have done so anyway without the funding. Not always the case, but often. Buit it's not exactly a useful model for the President to formulate policy to save or create jobs. Different motivation and needs.

    May 22, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. fairpol

    Vote Obama for more debts.
    Vote Romney for more jobs.
    It is what this election is about.

    May 22, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that we don't have a complete picture of what Bain did with Romney as its head. This company sounds like it was only there to worship the almighty diety of profit. It may have been a company of Americans, but it wasn't for Americans.

    May 22, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. MikeB59

    Really, Johnny? It's the American way of life to take over a company, borrow heavily against it's assets, raid the pension fund, pay your company millions for "consulting," then walk away and let the company go bankrupt and let the taxpayers bailout the pension fund?

    May 22, 2012 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. Dave

    It is funny that Bain gets criticized for laying off a few people while saving companies and most jobs. In contrast, Obama wastes billions of tax payer dollars on GM and Solyndra. They go bankrupt anyway and people lose their jobs. Ironically, Obama is being portrayed as a hero. The liberal media is a joke.

    May 22, 2012 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    really the Obama folks don't need to come up with attack on Bain...the Republicans have already done it for them. Newt, Perry, Santorum, Bachmann ALL have great sound bites calling Mitt everything from a vulture capitalist to a liar to the worst candidate to put up against Obama. And in this day and age it is ALL ON TAPE. I wonder what Mr Sununu had to say when Newt played "When Mitt Romney came to town"?

    May 22, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
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