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. Rachel

    I stand with Cory Booker. The attacks on the private sector need to stop.

    May 22, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. Andrew

    Not really. Just attacking the idea that you can do the same with the country as you can do as a CEO of Bain. Mitt was successful at his job at Bain, but that does NOT translate to running a country. He used this same argument in Massachusetts and while he was here they were 47th in job creation and he racked up a massive debt.

    May 22, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. Phil from Licking County

    Sununu is correct, Obama campaign is attacking the American way of life, of the 1%.

    May 22, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Terry

    Yea Sanunu, back a guy who raped hard working folks of their Pensions & the fact that Mitt closed plants on a Dime & had workers Escorted out with Security Guards. Make no question about it, This election is the Srinking middle class & The Unions VS the Richer, Richer, & Richie Rich Romney!!!

    May 22, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  5. WiredweirdinSF

    Of course they are. They have been taught by the NEA that they are victims and all kinds of other crap they really don't need, so combined with not being able to pass the required drug tests to get a job, they are also taught that they have the right to have Obama steal other peoples money for them. The sooner we get rid of the corrupt unions the sooner we can get rid of Obama and those who they support.

    May 22, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  6. bcm

    I worked for a company for many years. Originally family owned, then sold to a corporation, then spunoff as an independent company, then purchased by a European company, and finally purchased by a private equity firm. All of the above created many changes but the worst that ever happened was private equity. They immediately cut benefits, slashed jobs, outsourced thousands of jobs to India and continue to do all of the above today. Their goad is certainly not to retain jobs or care about loyal employees and their families – it's all about making money for themselves. Anyone who is hurt in the process – too bad! Bain is no different than any other private equity firm.

    May 22, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Marie MD

    Oh please the flip flopper was successful to a certain extent and he wasn't using his own money. He used other people's money as he fired American workers and destroyed companies that had been around for years!
    The private sector and the BIG/HUGE corporations are only good for the high paying CEOs. The employees are greeted like crap and when the ax failed the little guy is the one who suffers while the BIG guys all the money whether the company does well or fails. Just look at Yahoo's CEO. He is fired bug gets go keep $7M for lying in his resume. The typical worker does something way in a smaller scale and they are out on their butt with nothing from the company!!! What is it people don't get about this?????

    May 22, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Terry

    Ok Mittster, then come out of your Shell & stand & take Questons from the Entire Press. I cant do that. Why not? Caus I am a SEVERE Coward & I wont lose my Pretty Pink Skirt!!

    May 22, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  9. markfromdover

    The 'American Way of Life" has been under attack by the Republican party for decades. Ship jobs to china and other 3rd world countries at the expense of hard working blue collar Americans. Just to fatten their own wallets. Traitors! Romney is the poster boy for corporate America. Don't be fooled by this guy. 5 sons and not one saw fit to serve the country. Overseas bank accounts, etc. etc.. This guy aint so American in my opinion.

    May 22, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. cali girl

    It is an attack on the American way of life when thousands of workers were laid off due to the greedy money hungry Robmey and his Bain cronies.

    May 22, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Blue Rhino

    If outsourcing jobs overseas not only improves the economy but also somehow translates to more jobs in America, then, President Obama is guilty of lying. However, if outsourcing jobs hurts the American economy in terms of revenue generation and employment opportunities, President Obama needs to hammer into this model and show it for what it is – greed over patriotism.

    May 22, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Ray E. (Georgia)

    For the Country to be sucessful people need jobs. It is amazing that a bit of fresh air and reality escaped when Mayor Booker spoke. For the Obama Adminstration they are trying to fingure out how Booker escaped the "Reservation' How dare he just speak the truth without running it by Obama's hacks.

    Free Enterprise is what made this Country Great. Without free enterprise Obama will have no Wealth to Spread around. The Cold Hard Facts of Life cannot be held down by the pundents.

    May 22, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. michaelam

    Rachel-yes, Rachel...I stand with Cory Booker also. He is for same sex marriage, equal rights for ALL, access to safe and affordable contraception, AND supports President Obama.

    That GOP spin on Cory Booker's words did not play out too well for them. But, that comes as no surprise. Everything the GOP touches turns to crapola!

    May 22, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. Bob

    John Sununu DEFINES what it means to be a failure.... he is an un-American criminal piece of trash who has a lot of nerve even showing his face in public.

    May 22, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  15. JustAO

    Stop attacking the 1% way of life (it's the American dream). They deserve to be rich. Corporations are people. If you're not rich, blame yourself. Obama is a secret-muslim. We don't need big government in America; or any government in America. The free market will self-correct itself, stop regulation.

    Funny how all these talking points from the GOP are in any sense of the word, RIDICULOUS!

    Mitt will lose and the GOP will lose more seats in the house/senate. Americans are tired of old ideas that do not benefit anyone except old-white-rich men. The GOP has proven itself over and over and over again that it is incapable of governing this country. Iran leaders make better laws than GOP congressmen.

    May 22, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. michaelam

    I stand with Cory Booker also. He is for same sex marriage, equal rights for ALL, access to safe and affordable contraception, AND supports President Obama.

    May 22, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Independent Voters

    Sununu guess what Romney being lying to american people that he create 100,000 jobs but while he was Gov they lost most jobs in Mass and job creation was 47 state rank for jobs creation. Romney outsource american jobs and Bain layoff hurted Mass economy. Romney being attacking Obama on the economy and I dont blame president for attacking Mitt on Bain job lost.

    May 22, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Common sense!

    Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy Sunday to became the largest casualty of the global credit crisis, is in advanced talks to sell its investment management business, including the crown jewel, Neuberger Berman. Lehman is the biggest investment bank to collapse since 1990, when Drexel Burnham Lambert filed for bankruptcy amid a collapse in the junk bond market. Based on assets, Lehman also far surpasses WorldCom as the largest U.S. bankruptcy ever.

    May 22, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. VotedforObamaOnceMitt2012

    I don't know why this election campaign isn't focusing on Obama's track record. Remember when he promised us hope and change? Remember when he said it wouldn't be politics as usual? In my opinion, it has been so much worse. I cannot recall a more divisive president. Every single issue that he has pushed through congress has been without any votes from the other party. Instead of reaching across the aisle in order to get things done, he has repeatedly created complete gridlock in congress. Can he really call himself a good president when he can’t get a budget passed? He campaigned for the environment but what has he done for it? I saw the Gulf of Mexico absolutely destroyed while Obama basically pulled up a chair and watched. We need a leader, for heaven's sakes! We need someone who can stand up for and unify our country. As republican governor of a liberal state, Romney has shown that he can reach across the aisle and he can unify people to get things done. We need someone who will stand up for America and stop our debt from spiraling out of control as it has under Obama. I don’t run my household budget with a blank check. The government shouldn’t either! I voted for, campaigned for and gave money to Obama last time because I believe in his social issues and I believed what he was saying. Now I know he is just a politician who says what he thinks will get him elected and am I overwhelmed at how little he has accomplished other than proving that he wants more government jobs than private ones. What happens when there aren't enough private jobs to pay for all of these government positions he likes to create? This election, I am voting for the economy and am strongly supporting Mitt Romney.

    May 22, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. souptwins

    I don't think anyone is claiming it's not "fair game" but Obama needs to be honest about it. Investment equity is a honorable and crucial part of our economy. Using a steel plant that was bought by Bain 2 yrs. after Romney left the firm is misleading at best. If you're going to use Romney's record at Bain to determine his success as a businessman, then let's look at the whole record while he was actually there. No cherry picking the few firms that failed after he had left.

    You also have to look at how many of those firms would have failed without Bain. Many of these firms were on serious life support and the reduction in benefits was the only way to save it at all. Would you rather be unemployed or reduce your benefits? There are millions of Americans out of work now that have given up & I'm sure they'd take the job without big time benefits.

    Our govt. is one colossal example of waste and inefficiency. Romney's career was built on finding ways to get rid of that and turn a profit. People are acting like profits are bad things. Keep Obama and our country will be in the hole for a very long time. No need to worry about balancing budgets much less profits.

    From the neutral economists I've heard interviewed, Bain had a higher than most success rate and operated with a high level of integrity. Obama might not be pleased with the results of this fight he's picked.

    May 22, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Jake in Omaha

    The problem is the truth. Venture capitalists squeeze every once of worth out a company then dump them at the door step of the bankruptcy court. Sure Bain (Romney) created jobs in CHINA AND INDIA. Now he wants me to believe he
    has a plan for saving AMERICA. Just what is the plan out sourcing any remaining jobs to this buddies overseas.

    No this venture capitalist will not get this vote. My vote is important to me I will not against the good of my country to support my party. ( yes I am a REPUBLICAN )

    May 22, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. thomas

    Sununu is the kind of man that would kill the last living buffalo or cut down the last living redwood tree.
    John Sununu, free enterprise and free markets !

    The world will be a beter place when the old ageing GOPs fade out.

    May 22, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |

    Blah Blah Blah. You'll stop calling it "The American Way Of Life" once they ship YOUR job overseas and strip your pension away.

    May 22, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |

    Explain dropping from 36th to 47th in job creation as govenor Willard since you're so touchy feely about your Bain record of sleeze.

    May 22, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Maxx

    Sununu is another dishonest 1%'er just like Romney, who cares what he has to say. Bain's purpose was to buy under valued companies, get rid of the costs (people) and remove the assets for themselves.

    May 22, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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