Bain mindset could work in Washington, says Issa
May 28th, 2012
06:36 PM ET
10 years ago

Bain mindset could work in Washington, says Issa

(CNN) – Rep. Darrell Issa, a Mitt Romney supporter, on Monday said the experience of closing failing companies and trimming excess waste as a private equity executive could help the presumptive Republican nominee if he becomes president.

Issa's comments came after several weeks of attacks from Democrats, who have painted Romney as a job killing corporate raider for his tenure as CEO of Bain Capital, the firm he founded in 1984. President Barack Obama's campaign, along with his aligned super PAC, both aired television commercials featuring workers at companies that were closed after being taken over by Bain.

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Issa was asked by CNN National Political Correspondent Jim Acosta whether Romney could better communicate his record at Bain to voters.

"You're going to have some casualties, but that's exactly what we need in Washington and why I'm so delighted to support Gov. Romney," Issa said on CNN's "The Situation Room." "He understands that our government has gotten too big, there are agencies that need to be reformed, closed, combined, something the president has talked about but hasn't done."

Romney has not stated publically if he would close any federal agencies as president. According to NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, he told supporters at a campaign fund-raiser in April he would make the Department of Education "a heck of a lot smaller" and would consider eliminating the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has also said he would cut funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

On Monday, Issa, a Republican who serves as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said there were numerous other places in the government a president could look to make cuts.

"There's got to be a way to take money out of GSA and other agencies that are throwing fancy parties and make it available for the essential services that the American people want," Issa said. "It's not nice, it's not easy to lay people off, but it's the right thing to do if you've got a bloated government. That's what Gov. Romney promises to do."

Issa said Romney, whose tax returns indicate a personal wealth in the hundreds of millions, should not be disqualified in voters' mind because of his fortune.

"We have had wealthy people who have served our country in the past," Issa, himself worth more than $200 million, said. "The American people want successful people, people who know how to create wealth. Remember, America's greatness is based on creating wealth like the rest of the world has never known, and then making sure it's shared throughout a middle class and even the underprivileged. That's what makes America special, anyone can go from the middle class or even poorer and ultimately end up like Mitt Romney, a successful person running for president and giving back."

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Also see:

Gingrich's presidential advice: Raise money

Wisconsin recall's a 'test run,' DNC chair says

Giuliani gets over ego and praises Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Darrell Issa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. enuff

    I get it. The middle class is just collateral damage to GOP members. What a sad statement from Issa. It shows just exactly what is coming if people do not exercise their vote.

    May 29, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  2. B

    Bankruptcy can be a recovery while a stimulus will hasten destruction

    May 29, 2012 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  3. enuff

    Do they realize that their elite comments on their personal wealth and bragging is exactly why people are saying they are out of touch? If they continue down this road, they will totally disenfranchise th majority of Americans.

    May 29, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  4. Poor Man's Dream

    FINALLY someone says it!!!

    There are so many redundant jobs in the federal government that could be cut. The Department of Education shouldn't even exist, that is a State issue. EPA, give me a break. HUD, really??? How about the justice department/homeland security... do we really need FBI and ATF and US Marshalls and the Secret Service and the other redudant Federal Law Enforcement agencies??? Combine them into one or two federal agencies, you will cut Billions of money on sheer over head of multiple offices and administrative salaries.

    May 29, 2012 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  5. Blue Dog

    Fair enough. Let's get rid of obstructionists to growing this country. Mr. Issa, you and your fellow GOPs are fired.

    May 29, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  6. maf

    Yikes, I almost spit up when I read this one! No one really knows what Romney is going to do because he promises everything to everybody! Impossible to take him seriously! You should all be very wary of a man who doesn't live by any apparent convictions and changes his mind whichever way the wind blows.

    May 29, 2012 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  7. Lenwood May

    What a joke!

    May 29, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  8. justin

    Not only is it unlikely that a middle class person or poorer could ever be mitt its also not the american way and never has been mitts the american way alright a ignorant bigoted guy just smart enough to impress the truely ignorant and born with his entire life handed to him call me crazy but the american way sux n dosent work for most americans but hell since the american ppl dont know u media people are lieing n minipulateing them to vote against their own interest guess u can spout ne giberish you so desire cnn i give u credit unlike fox news u hide ur right wing pandering much better

    May 29, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  9. Katie B from NC

    "America's greatness is based on creating wealth like the rest of the world has never known, and then making sure it's shared throughout a middle class and even the underprivileged." SHARING with the MIDDLE CLASS and the UNDERPRIVILEGED??? Issa sounds like a SOCIALIST! Hahahahaha!

    May 29, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  10. ThinkAgain

    One itsy-bitsy problem, Issa: Bain targeted HEALTHY companies, so they could:

    1. Use other peoples' money to buy/takeover those healthy companies.

    2. To then squeeze higher profits from them to raise their profits.

    3. Which they did by cutting costs (the easiest way to do that is to cut payroll: fire workers and/or cut other workers' wages and their health and pension benefits).

    4. Then Bain would use the company as collateral to borrow huge sums of money from banks. Since interest payments on this debt can be deducted from company income, the company shows even bigger profits (on the books).

    5. Bain then got get the companies to issue a special dividend to repay the original investors (Bain and their clients).

    6. Then Bain sold the companies for much more than they bought it, because they were "more profitable" (again, on paper).

    7. Bain pocketed 20% of the gains from the sale.

    8. AND because the tax law treats these earnings as "capital gains," they are taxed at only 15%.

    This is a scam, because the original intent of the capital gains law is to reward those who've risked their own money, when private equity firms risk others' money (again, like Mittens at Bain).

    Taxpayers subsidize this scam because when workers are laid off, our tax dollars go towards unemployment payments. Also, some of those companies don't make it because of the weight of all the debt they have and their pension obligations have to be taken over by the federal government. Guess who's on the hook for that? That's right: The US taxpayer.

    So the US is the company and Mittens is his investor cronies. Our country is wrung dry, while Mittens and friends make huge sums of money.

    Keep this in mind when you think about whether Mittens' brand of "economics" is good for the long-term growth and prosperity of our country.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    May 29, 2012 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  11. FactChecker

    I'm not sure that the U.S. government could be strip mined for profit the way Romney and friends did with private companies. I am sure that we tried the Republicanomics just a few years ago. We got the worst recession in our lifetimes and record debt. Those of the fruits of Republican "hands off" government and irresponsible tax cuts.

    Letting Wall Street write its own rules is a terrible idea, and that's exactly what Romney and the Republicans would do. Romney's pretty much a Wall Street guy himself after all.

    Let's also stop acting like Romney is some kind of entrepreneur. He's just a paper-pushing Wall Street manager. He didn't start Bain Capital, Bill Bain did. Bain made it a totally risk-free opportunity for Romney. Anybody could have done what Romney did.

    And Bain Capital doesn't produce anything of value. Don't insult real companies like Apple, GE and Burger King by comparing them on any level to Bain Capital.

    May 29, 2012 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  12. bobden

    Not so much a question of how much money a (rich) person has, but how did he/she get the money.
    Willard has not done anything useful to anyone but himself.
    I wonder how Issa got his 200 million.

    May 29, 2012 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  13. Chuck

    "Remember, America's greatness is based on creating wealth like the rest of the world has never known, and then making sure it's shared throughout a middle class and even the underprivileged."

    How many American jobs does a Swiss bank account create?

    May 29, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  14. JakeRader

    By Golly, with fellas like Romney and Issa in charge the deficit would be gone and the budget would be balanced in no time. They could do all that and cut taxes for the millionaires, billionaires, and corporations down to nothing. Of course there could be side effects like 30% unemployment, nationwide labor unrest, most of the animals on the endangered species list extinct, and the air and water too polluted to breath or drink. Someone once said that the rich are different from you and me. That is never more obvious that when one of these fellas opens his mouth and starts talking.

    May 29, 2012 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  15. L. R. Long

    Sounds nice on paper. But presidents don't do things on paper, they do things face-to-face and behind closed doors. So who would Romney surround himself with? The same "extremely" conservative GOP leaders, and underlings, that have hijacked his campaign and worship the almighty dollar. Boehner and his GOP associates nearly shut down the government and, by the rating agency's own diagnosis, cost us our Triple A credit score. These partisans don't care about Mitt 'Founder of Obamacare' Romney... They would eat the governor up and spit him out. He'd be towin' the party line in NO time!

    May 29, 2012 02:20 am at 2:20 am |
  16. Bill Hart

    Still waiting for Romney to disclose his tax returns for the previous 10 years as Obama did. Also curious to learn about his offshore holdings in the Cayman Islands and the money in Swiss bank accounts. Hope the press does not give him a pass on this.

    May 29, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  17. Alex in Wisconsin

    So the poor are expendable. Ok, when i'm officially worth over $100 million, I will jump on board that bandwaggon.

    May 29, 2012 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  18. jw3638

    “We have had wealthy people who have served our country in the past,” Issa, himself worth more than $200 million, said. “The American people want successful people, people who know how to create wealth. Remember, America’s greatness is based on creating wealth like the rest of the world has never known, and then making sure it’s shared throughout a middle class and even the underprivileged..."

    -example of "trickle down economy" is not reality. People need to care about environment and the Arts. otherwise, we have "dumbing-down" of society which makes people so easily manipulated. It's a shame. 🙁

    May 29, 2012 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  19. Carlos Murphy

    Romney is perfect. He will gut the country, run up debt, and sell us off in a 'managed bankruptcy,' while generating returns for his shareholders/campaign investors.

    May 29, 2012 03:26 am at 3:26 am |

    I didn't know that America was in the business of making a profit, what the heck are these idiots thinking, obviously they are not thinking of the American public, just GOP talking points and the hell with the people. Elect no republicans!

    May 29, 2012 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  21. Bob

    Cutting wages and giving huge bonuses and subsidies to corporate leaders has always sold well in Washington. Witness the minimum wage and lack of benefits for people entering the job market. Witness the increasing level of poverty. Witness the lack of health care. Congressional Republicans would welcome Romney with open arms. He want what they want; more.

    May 29, 2012 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  22. Iamnotfooled

    Issa and Romney--2 Peas in a pod. One has 200 million and the other has 250 million. Do you think they would back each other up?

    May 29, 2012 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  23. Iamnotfooled

    President Obama is wealthy. He made it the moral way. Not by cutting others pensions or interupting their livelihoods for his own personal gain.

    May 29, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  24. Jim Walker

    Another great reminder of why I won't ever vote for a Republican.

    May 29, 2012 04:44 am at 4:44 am |

    Poster boy for the wipe out of the unhinged GOBP on November 6. Obama/Biden 2012!

    May 29, 2012 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
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