June 1st, 2012
02:30 PM ET
8 years ago

Romney smiles at Clinton compliment

(CNN) - Mitt Romney on Friday embraced a comment made by Bill Clinton the previous night, in which the former president praised Romney's private equity career, despite a recent flood of Democratic attacks against the presumptive nominee's corporate resume.

Romney defended his former firm, Bain Capital, on Friday and pointed to its record of successful investments compared to its small minority of buyouts that later went bankrupt.

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"I think Bain Capital has a good and solid record," Romney said in a CNBC interview. "I was happy to see President Clinton made a similar statement today and called my record superb."

The former president, however, used the word "sterling" to describe Romney's business career instead when he discussed the candidate in an interview on CNN Thursday.

"The man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold," Clinton said on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

The comment raised eyebrows among many Democrats, who have been highly critical of Romney's business experience over recent weeks.

"I don't think that we ought to get into the position where we say 'This is bad work. This is good work,'" Clinton continued.

He later added: "I think the real issue ought to be, what has Governor Romney advocated in the campaign that he will do as president? What has President Obama done and what does he propose to do? How do these things stack up against each other?"

While Republicans have since seized on the comments, using them to counter recent Democratic attacks, the White House brushed off Clinton's remarks on Friday. A spokesman told reporters aboard Air Force One that he didn't see any news in the remarks.

And the president's re-election team also glossed over the remarks, focusing instead on one line where Clinton described the tactics some private equity investors use.

"Invest in a company, run up the debt & force people to lose their retirement and fire them," a senior campaign official pointed out in paraphrase.

However, Clinton was making a comparison of two kinds of investors. Those who buy, strip and destroy companies for profit, and others also driven by profit, but with the goal of making the companies better, even though they too can fail with equal consequences.

Also see:

Obama campaign launches assault on Romney's Massachusetts record

Obama campaign releases third set of Spanish ads

Gonzales says Romney must make personal connection to Hispanics

Wisconsin guv up in third straight poll

Filed under: 2012 • Bill Clinton • Mitt Romney
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. cali girl

    He smiled because he does not know what else to do.

    June 1, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    It is not Reagan Era. He is a total disgrace, greedy. YouTube watch, when mitt Romney came to town. Enjoy!!!obama12.
    PS: awareness, Internet era...

    June 1, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. GI Joe


    Set 'em up, knock 'em down. No one better at it than Clinton. ha ha ha ha ha

    June 1, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. getoverit

    Well, Cali Girl, at least he knows whose money it's ok to gamble with.

    June 1, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. Fair is Fair

    Bubba doesn't speak with forked tongue... unlike the squaw running for senate in Massachusetts.

    June 1, 2012 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Bootstomper

    I don't care about his qualifications to be president I just worry about another super religious concervative in the white house.

    June 1, 2012 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Valentina

    @cali girl- no, girl, he smiled because he liked what he heard from President Clinton – that Romney's business record is "sterling", which totally contradicts Obama's position on Romney's business record. It is fun to watch you girl, and other Obama supporters, spinning out of control.

    June 1, 2012 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. doug

    Use to admire this man very much...but this confirms my long held fear that he's only a wall street butt-boy punk

    June 1, 2012 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. Christopher

    I wouldn't trust anything Clinton says on economics. By de-regulating banks under his watch in cahoots with Rubin and Graham they created this mess. And the worst part is Bill won't even acknowledge he made this mess. Him, Rubin, and Graham deserve the credit for this economic debacle. I don't even blame Bush as much as I do that trio.

    June 1, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. GL

    Why is the media not asking Mitt what will he do different to help this economy? MItt needs to tell the American people what will he do to bring back jobs.

    June 1, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  11. F Minus

    If Obama has a solid record as POTUS, he doesn't need to attack anyone, just a simple "are you better off than 4 years ago" would have guaranteed him a second term.
    The problem is, Obama doesn't have anything to show for, other than the 15 trillion national debt, 8.2+% unemployment, tax payer's money wasted on Solyndra, etc., etc., and the thought that Romney may actually beat him must be really bugging him.
    That's why team Obama is doing all the attack they can, left and right, even on his own supporters.
    But the more attack he does, the more desperate he seems to be.

    June 1, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. Myviewis

    Clinton recognizes that thousands of people are employed by Bain Capital companies and they are a result of Romney. Democrats are just angry that they have to face this reality and think that they can trash it and make it go away but reality doesn't go away. Yes, Bain Capital employees donated money to Obama's campaign and that donation is just a confirmation that this reality of Bain Capital, Bain having thousands of people employed is true and you cannot separate Bain, Bain Capital from Romney.

    June 1, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Hillary Save Us

    President Clinton has killed the Obama attack line of Bain Capital. Now all Romney Team needs is to cut the commercial and run it over and over. This is good news as it opens the option for Hillary 2016. Obama has been such a disaster.

    June 1, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  14. Pete

    He knows what he did at Bain,his governorship in Massachusetts,neither gets him any recognision as a person for the people,then again maybe for his investors,more like it..Republicans never have really been for the people,Reagan tried but failed,Bush41,that's a joke,Bush 43,now that's out there saying he did anything but screwup,he and his father,war mongers.Reagans speech about the Berlin wall,nothing here historic but being the first president to steal from Social Security,with Allan Greenspan,that's all to help the federal budget,lied like the rest to get that done..Senile old man and a lousey actor too!!He like the rest will soon be forgotten,like dog crap under your shoes,nasty when its there but after its gone ,who cares,no buddy misses it,but wished they had better judgement before making that nasty decision,where to step!!!!So remember republicans,who ya vote for,your record hasn't been good lately,don't make this one like Bush,he was a big mistake we can't afford again!!!

    June 1, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Bayousara

    BREAKING NEWS! Former President William Jefferson Clinton has changed his political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. BREAKING NEWS!

    June 1, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    Hey, CNN. Was there a Romney girly-giggle to go along with that smile .... ?

    June 1, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. Myviewis

    I don't think Clinton has killed the Obama attack on Bain Capital, Clinton realizes and accepts that thousands of people are employed by Bain Capital and that is a good thing that all these people are getting paychecks and not standing in the unemployment line and it is a result of Romney. Clinton is a very smart man and he does recognize that Romney created jobs, Romney has been around for a very long time, way before anyone knew who Obama was.

    June 1, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Woman In California

    Willard is so confused – he wouldn't know a real compliment if he heard one. He's just a big plastic man-child with a big ego who wants to see his name on a presidential logo. As for helping Americans – he'll get back to you on that.

    June 1, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. FLIndpendent

    "Clinton recognizes that thousands of people are employed by Bain Capital companies and they are a result of Romney."
    Please tell us what kind of companies these are, ie Staples (minimum wage jobs). Remember, the Repubs want to eliminate the minimum wage so if everyone is willilng to work for a few bucks and hour there may be plenty of jobs created. Afterall, we want to compete with China, right? Another thing, if Mittens cares so much for the people of this country why doesn't he use some of his many $$$$ and invest in America by creating re-education programs, opening up various businesses, etc. Why doesn he have to become President in order to do anything for the economy! It's all smoke & mirrors and he has no answers or new ideas as it is now a global economy and no one President alone is going to make any huge difference. I'm giving Pres. Obama 4 more years to keep moving us foward!

    June 1, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    "I think Bain Capital has a good and solid record," Romney said in a CNBC interview.....
    Bain does have a good record of generating returns on investments. The problem is that Mitt Romney wants to bamboozle people into thinking that making a profit equates to job creation. Until someone offers up some proof, someone named Romney would do, I am not going to allow myself to be bamboozled.

    June 1, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Four and The Door

    Bill Clinton never was the political hack Obama is. But then again, Bill Clinton had much higher qualifications for the office and his results were much better. Obama came in on an anti-Bush vote which was odd because George Bush was already defeated. By term limits.

    June 1, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. Wake up people

    Of course he did. This is the same guy that pimped out his ugly witch of a wife and then pretended faux outrage when someone made a true statement about her. Robmey is all about everyone doing his work for him while he hides in a corner.

    Look at him, he thinks he is the POTUS already.

    OBAMA 2012!

    June 1, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. dick8888

    clinton was nothing more than a republican in democratic clothing....lowering capital gains tax to 20%, suporting free trade and sending our jobs to mexico and over seas, repealing the glass-steagal act that caused the worst recession in history...now he he says that romneys private working career is "stering"???? with friends like that who needs enemys!!!

    June 1, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    Rudy NYC
    "I think Bain Capital has a good and solid record," Romney said in a CNBC interview.....
    Bain does have a good record of generating returns on investments. The problem is that Mitt Romney wants to bamboozle people into thinking that making a profit equates to job creation. Until someone offers up some proof, someone named Romney would do, I am not going to allow myself to be bamboozled.
    Yeah, because in your world bankrupt companies employ more people?!?! Tell us how that works, Rudy.

    June 1, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Myviewis

    @FLIndpendent – you're not convincing anyone and don't insult people working at Staples. Don't forget those employees at Bain Capital companies that were able to donate good monies to Obama campaign, those employees are not making minimum wage salaries.

    June 1, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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