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. j0eschm0e

    to LG, clinton sees that obama is flushing this country, and seems to have the backbone to point it out in the way of giving a compliment to the other isle. he did quite well in his term of having a surplus. he had 2 terms as president. got to give him some credit

    June 2, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  2. MaryM

    If you want to know what type of "leader/president" Mitt would be, just ask the good people of Massachusetts.

    June 2, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  3. Steve-Illinois

    As the dems desperately take one line of Clinton's remark out of context and run with it, the reality is 3 high profile dems have thrown Obama under the bus in just the last two weeks! His policies are not working, and he has no clue what to do about it, except repeat the same failed solutions.
    Bye, bye Obama.

    June 2, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  4. njbchicago

    It doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, our country is in big trouble. The choice here is do you want to continue just slugging along, dipping, slugging along, dipping, and take the risk of crashing or do you want to give the new guy a chance. New guy has a 'sterling' record according to President Clinton. I'd rather give him a chance. It won't be worse than what we're experiencing and it will probably be better. President Obama has no chance OR DESIRE to bring people together to effect the change we need. He's proven that over and over again. You can blame Congress too – so roll the dice, vote them ALL out and let your voices be heard! We're tired. I am lucky enough to be employed but know that could turn on a dime. Not good. We need new blood in there, and fast!

    June 2, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  5. GI Joe

    George Robingme was born in Mexico, yet he tried to run for president. His son adored him and he had a lot of time to influence him (an entire life, not just two or three days).

    I believe Mitt is just as devious and deceitful as his father.

    I'll never trust Robingme. I'll never vote for Robingme.

    June 2, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  6. GI Joe

    @LG – Clinton was playing the old game of rope-a-dope -– set them up, knock them down.

    Clinton is nice to everyone (in public).

    June 2, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  7. Chipster

    Democrats need to get a clue that the President needs a Democratic congress in order to achieve anything. We've had nothing but obstruction from Republicans and a hand full of socially conservative Democrats for too much of the past 4 years. You can't make a difference by just voting for a President. He must have a supportive House and Senate if you want him to succeed.

    June 2, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  8. Snookums

    Oops! Mitt is qualified! Mr. No Drama may want to send Mr. Clinton to a Polish death camp if he keeps going off message. If we can just keep Mr. Biden and Mr. Clinton on the campaign trail Mitt will have the election sown up.

    June 2, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  9. Puddin

    I did not hear that Clinton believes "Obama cannot win in any case." He said he believes Obama will win over Romney. I believe, as an admirer of Clinton's administration's accomplishments, that former presidents should stay out of politics once they leave office. As painful as it might have been, Obama won over Hillary fair and square. (I voted for Hillary and hated she didn't make it). I've always wondered what a Hillary administration might look like. With the Republican obstructionists in Congress, she may not have been able to get the country going again either.

    June 2, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Eddie The Barber

    Either Bill Clinton has lost his mind ~OR~ it's payback time for Hillary's loss to Obama in the 2008 primary. I can't see any other reason for these comments – comments that can only hurt Obama's re-election chances.

    June 2, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. Anne P

    Love it, Romney was dumb enough to take the bait! Is he an egomaniac or what? Clinton has a strategy and Mittens has no clue.

    June 2, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  12. GI Joe

    Romney is so paraniod because he knows how slimy he is to others, and he expects everyone to be like him.

    Paranoia is horrible mental disease. Nothing good ever came from it. Remember Shrub thinking Iraq was out to "get my daddy"?

    June 2, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. CBR

    President Clinton has the right to express his views. That does not mean an endorsement for Governor Romney. Bain has probably had successes and those involved seem to work very hard. However, when did Mr. Romney leave Bain? He has run for office four times and probably did not contribute much during those years. The months that he served as Chair for the Olympic Committee was another time when he did not work at Bain. At least I hope he took a leave of absence while running for office or serving as Governor of MA.

    We need to look at Romney's whole record and how he has served the people of MA. We know he got the state to supported some energy companies

    June 2, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. Honeybe

    Romney is an empty suit. I honestly don't know what he stands for, since he has flip-flopped on so many issues, or refuses to say in a concrete way what they are. And what's the deal with dragging his wife around to make him more likeable? They try to portray themselves as average people, but they are over priviliged, out of touch hypocrites.

    June 2, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Curtis

    If you had $100,000 to invest; which canidate would you allow to handle your $$?

    June 2, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Marie MD

    that sinister little smirk. It was taken out of context but this is all this bishop has to hang on to unless it's his handlers and the trumps of the world saying something nice about him and then throwing up.

    June 2, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  17. Jess Sayin

    Bet they run this in an ad, taken out of context, of course.

    June 2, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Linden Atrocity

    I think a lot of you people are mistaking Clinton's comments as an endorsment of Romney. Which he did not endorse Romney at all. He has endorsed Obama, and said he will win. *smacks* Pay attention!

    June 2, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. GI Joe

    RS1201 - that mess of cow doooo has been debunked all over the internet and by many reputable news organizations.

    Of course it wasn't debunked by FOX - The theory you stated was taken verbatim from a book written by Brietbart (remember him).

    President Obama has NOT directed money to his friends, but Romney certainly has and will continue to. Why do you think the Kochs and Rove, etc., are paying so much? So robingme will pay them back multiple times. Get your facts from somewhere other than a Brietbart book of lies and paranoia.

    June 2, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Guest

    Even Clinton knows Romney is more qualified to tix the economy.

    June 2, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. DanTheMan122

    This isn't an endorsement of Romney, obviously. But, it's significant since Clinton undermined Obama's recent point on Bain Capital and how that work wouldn't translate into being a good president. Clinton has always been resentful of Obama, but has to support him on account of politics. Every so often he throws in bits like this to undermine him though. He did it a few months ago when he came out in support of the Keystone Pipeline

    June 2, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. One party politics

    Clinton was speaking loud and clear to the independents. And yes, it's payback time!

    June 2, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. Sue

    There have been many high-profile Democrats who have come out publicly to speak against Obama, his campaign, his policies, etc. Over the last few days, there have been at least (2) high-profile Democrats who have come out and said that they were switching to the Republican Party over Obama and his policies. Democrats jumping ship and/or trying to shield themselves from Obama-will only increase once the Supreme Court Justices give their rulings on (2) very important issues in June/July. I personally believe that there are many Democratic Politicians who are hoping that Obama loses in November-so that he is not able to destroy the Democratic Party for good, if he is given 4 more years!!

    June 2, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    Let's look at Mittens' record as Governor. Why is this relevant: Because Mittens is proposing for the country (more jobs, decreased debt, and smaller government) what he did in Massachusetts.

    Here are the results:

    1. Left behind a $1 billion budget deficit for the next governor and saddled Massachusetts taxpayers with more debt per person than any other state.

    2. The state budget spending increased every single year (by as much as $750 million each year).

    3. Massachusetts plummeted from 36th to 47th out of 50 states in job creation, and the median income declined.

    I'm done with policies that are PROVEN FAILURES. I'm voting for President Obama who has a track record of success in turning our economy around, investing in OUR country's future and keeping us safe.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 2, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    @Curtis: "If you had $100,000 to invest; which canidate would you allow to handle your $$?"

    I'd give it to President Obama, who would use a strategy to not only grow my investment, but ensure that investment would continue to produce returns over the long-term.

    Mittens would use his Bain Capital strategy and take my money, use it as collateral to get a huge loan from the bank, take a hefty fee, then split, leaving me to pay off the loan.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    June 2, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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