Former Obama official: Romney wrong to tout job creation
May 23rd, 2012
10:57 AM ET
9 years ago

Former Obama official: Romney wrong to tout job creation

(CNN) - Piling on to the debate over Mitt Romney's private equity career, the president's former "car czar" Steve Rattner penned an op-ed Wednesday criticizing Romney's job creation claims.

"Adding jobs was never Mitt Romney's private sector agenda, and it's appropriate to question his ability to do so," Rattner wrote in the New York Times.

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Earlier this week, President Barack Obama chided Romney for using his former experience heading Bain Capital, a private equity firm, as a major sticking point for his candidacy. While the financial industry is a legitimate part of the free market, Obama said, maximizing profits is not the only skill set needed for the Oval Office.

In the op-ed Wednesday, Rattner said the president "struck the right balance" in his remarks and went further in the criticism, particularly zeroing in on Romney's argument that he helped create thousands of jobs at Bain.

A former private equity investor himself, Rattner said he found it misleading for Romney to try and use Bain as a way to boost his job creating credentials, saying new or lost jobs are simply a byproduct of private equity firms, not the sole purpose of their work.

"Whatever its flaws, private equity has made a material contribution to sharpening management," Rattner wrote. "But don't confuse a leveraged buyout with job creation."

On the campaign trail, Romney has pointed to Bain success stories, including Sports Authority, Staples and Domino's, and highlighted the thousands of jobs created during their growth.

But Rattner said Romney becomes hypocritical when he avoids taking responsibility for jobs that were lost.

"Although Bain Capital sold off those early investments years ago, Mr. Romney takes credit for every job ever created at every company Bain Capital invested in during his tenure – while ignoring jobs eliminated after his departure," Rattner wrote.

Rattner, who left his Obama administration post as an auto adviser, in 2009, quickly found himself in the middle of the debate last week when he said in a television interview that an Obama ad attacking Bain was "unfair" and added he didn't think there was "anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about."

Romney's campaign seized on the remark and used it in recent ads, a move, Rattner wrote in the op-ed, which made him feel "uncomfortable."

His main point, he said, was that Romney's job creation claims for political gain were fair to attack, not Bain's actions as a "leading firm" in the industry.

During the course of the campaign, Romney has repeatedly responded to questions about Bain. On Monday, he said in a statement that Obama was attacking the "free enterprise system."

"President Obama refuses to accept moral responsibility for his failed policies. My campaign is offering a positive agenda to help America get back to work," he said.

Bain Capital has also weighed into the swirling debate, releasing a statement on Monday blasting Obama's recent ads and defending 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.

Also see:

Obama campaign expands Bain attack and general election ad buys

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Arkansas, Kentucky primaries pose challenge for Obama

Filed under: 2012 • Jobs • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. The REAL Truth...

    @Lizzie – you LOVE gas prices over $3.50 a gallon
    Lizzie – How many times do you have to be told that the POTUS has NO CONTROL over the price of gas. To believe that ranks right up there with the other GOBP party propaganda you are swallowing. Please check some FACTS!

    During Dubya's 2nd term (2004-2008) the AVERAGE gas price was $3.27 – with a peak over just over $4 in July 08. In Dec 08, the nat'l AVG was $1.79.
    Since Jan 09 (when Obama took office) the AVERAGE price of gas has been $3.26... with a peak of less than $4 earlier this year. So the SEVEN year average price of gas has been approx. $3.27... Those are the FACTS lizzie, so please quit with the gas prices thing.. it's NOT relevant

    May 23, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  2. gg

    romney knows lower wages and no benefits is the only way to grow business

    May 23, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Time and time again, republicans have shown they cannot move our country forward. Their outdated economic policies gave us the first great depression, and their reign of error under Bush almost gave us a second one.

    May 23, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. macrasta

    the Dems need s to take the gloves off... and come out swaying

    May 23, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "If you have any doubt, look where America is today after over 3 years of his policies."

    In recovery from a massive recession caused by the GOP's ideological love affair with greed-is-good supply-side trickle-down economic daydreams and Ayn Rand's religion of selfishness? 4M jobs created in the past 25 months? The DOW over double what it was when he took office? The list goes on. The fact that you simply recite the talking point as gospel truth without ever citing to evidence shows that it's simple a matter of faith for you, not objective reasoning.

    Fun with "Obama's spending spree" lies...annualized spending growth by POTUS per term:

    Reagan Term 1 – 8.7%
    Reagan Term 2 – 4.9%
    Bush 1 – 5.4%
    Clinton Term 1 – 3.2%
    Clinton Term 2 – 3.9%
    Dubya Term 1 – 7.3%
    Dubya Term 2 – 8.1%
    Obama Term 1 – 1.4%


    May 23, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Independant Texan

    Mitt Romney !?!?!?!, -a job creator? Bain Capital is solely a venture (vulture) capitalist firm. They dissolve companies, break them up and sell off assets then sell what`s left over, all the while taking a fee and selling the shell of the former company and taking another 20% off the top. Sweet deal for a "job creator" –EH! Then send your $$$$ to an off shore bank to "legally" take advantage of all the loopholes rich people have.-- And he`ll take care of the middle class???? I think NOT.

    May 23, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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