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. Andy Tx

    Does anyone remember when Clinton once praised Newt Gingrich?

    Oh yes, the old "build them up knock them down" ploy.

    June 2, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Michael of Michigan

    Someone please explain to me how running a business (which is composed of EMPLOYEES) qualifies you to run a country (which is composed of PEOPLE). The sole purpose of a business is to generate a profit. It is NOT to generate jobs, don't BS yourselves. Theres is no such thing as a 'job creator'. A business will never hire employees unless it becomes absolutely necessary in order to continue generating profit. Wages, benefits, and other compensation are some of the biggest expenditures for a business, so stop pretending like businesses and business leaders give a squat about you. You cost them money.... and you are not worth it unless you bring them more money than you cost.

    June 2, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. oldbear

    In 2008 the McCain campaign tried to paint Obama as a radical. A number of Republicans, including McCain commented that they didn't think Obama was a radical or a bad guy. The smears backfired.

    Obama is now trying this strategy on Romney and the same think is happening. A number of Dems have too much integrity to allow the smears to stand. They will backfire on Obama just as they did McCain.

    The smears only work when there is real dirt. That is why Gingrich didn't survive the Romney attacks. Romney and Obama are both clean in their personal lives. This election will come down to Obama's record and the issues.

    June 2, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. JohnRJohnson

    I disagree with Clinton. His comment implies two things: that President Obama's campaign ads are demonizing private equity executives and that Romney's experience at Bain qualifies him to be president. The very nature of private equity acquisitions is to purchase companies in distress, re-structure, pull out profits and then sell for another profit or allow to go bankrupt. This is exactly the opposite of what a president has to do since, in the case of the United States, the investors and the company workers are one and the same. Romney has never had a job where he had to relate to or care about a company's workers.

    June 2, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Gop

    one person wrote that we should look at "Romney's whole record and how he has served the people of MA" Well should we not also look at the whole record of Obama and what he has done to our country in almost 4 years. If we look at the Record for Obama then it is an F. Obama has done nothing but spend more money. blame more people! and caused more people to be out of work. So the way it looks is Obama is done, it is time to Change our leadership and Hope our next President Romney does a better job then Obama could ever Hope to have done!

    June 2, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Blindersoff

    Looking beyond the actual truth to keep from drowning, while clinging to anything that will float, even if it's a turd or dead fish. Gust between the two, Romney and Clinton, the turd or the weasel who can't swim because it has no core.

    June 2, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. phoenix86

    Clinton knows that Obama is a loser and wants to distance himself as fast and as far as possible. My bet is that we will see a flood of democrats doing the same thing in the coming months.

    June 2, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. PorkNBeans

    Thank you, Mr. Whitewater

    June 2, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. nolimits3333

    Republicans want the middle class to fear the poor, so they won't notice the rich walking away with all the money.

    June 2, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Please Grow Up

    President Clinton knows what he's doing; he's not trashing Mr. Obama.

    June 2, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. doug

    Woah, a moment of honesty? This man is no Democrat, all Democrats must lie and hate 24/7. no exceptions. Let us remember that the President has shown his hate and it is a million times worse than Rush Limbaugh, as Obama said on Univision those who don't support his politics are enemies who need to be punished, Obama's own words.

    June 2, 2012 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. ddt

    Clinton said what Obama has been saying all along that he has no problem with compamy. During a press conference after the NATO meeting he said it is a good business for America but he questioned Ramney's using it has the reason why he should be the president because he learnt from it how to create jobs. The company is for making money.

    June 2, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Mycenia

    I this it's preposterous to think that a single comment somehow means Clinton is endorsing Romney. It's even more hilarious to me that the Republicans are embracing the comment of someone they claim to loathe. Clinton expressed a personal opinion about a facet of Romney's background. This is a beautiful example of how twisted politics are in the United States. That, because of a person's political party, you have to hate everything that person is about. My grandfather taught me a great deal, but two of the most important things were these: I can dislike a person and still respect him or her. I can disagree with someone and still see the merits of their side. These are two qualities that are utterly lacking in Washington and, unfortunately, a vast majority of the country.

    June 2, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Seth Hill

    Could it be that capitalism and businesses in this country create jobs here or ship jobs overseas? Could it be that the Pres has little ability to create or ship out jobs? Hmmm ... ?

    June 2, 2012 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. dnick47

    Multi-millionaire Mitt, "I like To Fire People" Mitt, should smile now cause when the race gets real after Labor Day and he sees himse;lf and his Party being sucked down the toilet, he won't be smiling.

    June 2, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. iyamwhatiyam

    I would bet money that Bill votes for Romney. I think he despises the man as much as i do.

    June 2, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. doug

    "President Obama has NOT directed money to his friends"

    Guess lib never heard of Solandra, might want to check out fair and balanced news, that is if you want the truth, your post makes that highly unlikely.

    Barack Obama has received more money from BP than any other politician in the entire history of that company.

    This robingme you spew endlessly about must be Democrat hero John Corozine, does lib care where the 2 trillion went? No way, as long as the guy has a little d after his name then he can do wrong right Joe?

    June 2, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. Larry L

    Bill Clinton was exactly correct – from the perspective of the fat-cat investors to Bain Capital. Romney's vulture capitalism made a lot of money for the wealthy guys investing in the process. It also trashed the lives of many wokkers and their families. This is the Republican "trickle-down" economics at work.

    June 2, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Sue

    Ummmm........For the liberals who keep saying that Romney has no plan for creating jobs......Romney has already said that the first thing that he will do--is authorize the Keystone Pipeline......And, presto, magic--just like that-–thousands of jobs created in day one!! Just like when Obama whispered to his Russian buddies on the hot mic--Obama said that he will not consider the Keystone Pipeline until "after" the election.

    June 2, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. sweet2th

    Clinton is not above throwing Obama under the bus. After all he is the one who took the nomination from his wife. Clinton is thinking get Obama out now so that his wife can run in the next election. I know he still have political strings so anybody following his lead has a reason for it. It's all politics.

    June 2, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. rm sla

    Clinton knows that 100% of his money has come at the expense of the private sector taxpayer. We are near the point where less than 50% of US citizens work for the private sector. Government employees and welfare recipients don't pay taxes because their wages was tax money in the first place. Clinton sees his gravy bowl going dry.

    June 2, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Bren

    Clinton--as well as many other Democrats--know/understand that if Obama is reelected, Obama and the Democratic Party will be hated even more by 2016. A second term for Obama might even destroy the Democratic Party for good!! There are now many moderate Democratic Politicians and moderate Democratic voters, leaving the Democratic Party over Obama. They (Clinton and Democratic Politicians) also know/understand that if Obama is given 4 more years, this decreases the chances of a Democrat winning the election in 2016!!

    June 2, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. Lizzie

    Wait, wait, wait, here comes the I did not mean it like that.

    June 2, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  24. Milton K. Wiah

    Despite the fact that Obama appointed his wife to the third most powerful job in the American government, Bill
    Clinton is still bitter about the loss of his wife in the primary to Obama. He may not even vote for Obama in
    the coming election.

    June 2, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. nolimits3333

    Romney was very good at stealing other people's pension money and shipping their jobs overseas.

    June 2, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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