Romney lays out Bain lessons key to his presidential bid
August 23rd, 2012
11:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney lays out Bain lessons key to his presidential bid

(CNN) - In an opinion piece published Thursday evening, the presumed GOP presidential candidate touted lessons gleaned during his time heading the private equity firm Bain Capital as having prepared him to handle the presidency.

"The lessons I learned over my 15 years at Bain Capital were valuable in helping me turn around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City," he wrote in the op-ed, which was published to the website of The Wall Street Journal.

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"They also helped me as governor of Massachusetts to turn a budget deficit into a surplus and reduce our unemployment rate to 4.7%. The lessons from that time would help me as president to fix our economy, create jobs and get things done in Washington."

Citing the Republican challenger's work at the firm, President Barack Obama's campaign has bludgeoned Romney in ads, on the stump, and in campaign conference calls organized for reporters. At the height of the attacks, Obama's deputy campaign manager cited financial documents from the company and said Romney had either committed a felony or was lying.

Some Democrats, however, have questioned the strategy of criticizing Romney's business record, or at least leveled lighter criticism. Former President Bill Clinton, who has described Romney's business career as "sterling," said that experience may not help the candidate come November.

But Romney said it had prepared him for the kind of work he may face if elected to the White House.

Citing his experience working with a steel company, Romney said he learned lessons about manufacturing and international business.

"First, innovation is essential to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing," he said. "We are the most innovative, entrepreneurial nation in the world. To maintain that lead, we must give people the skills to succeed. My plan for a stronger middle class includes policies to give every family access to great schools and quality teachers, to improve access to higher education, and to attract and retain the best talent from around the world."

In the piece, Romney also advocated for a "level playing field in international trade" and said that, "As president, I will challenge unfair trade practices that are harming American workers."

He said that his experience has taught him to handle a problem by "run[ning] toward it or it will only get worse."

"That will be my approach to our federal budget problem," Romney wrote. "I am committed to capping federal spending below 20% of GDP and reducing nondefense discretionary spending by 5%.

"This will surely result in much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Washington," he continued. "But a failure of leadership has created our debt crisis, and ducking responsibility will only cripple the economy and smother opportunity for our children and grandchildren."

Romney also wrote that he learned about "how energy costs impact the ability of a business to grow." On Thursday, he laid out a plan for the United States to achieve energy independence by 2020.

In his op-ed, Romney pledged that, as president, he would put his business experience "to work, to get our economy back on track, create jobs, strengthen the middle class and lay the groundwork for America's increased competitiveness in the world."

Romney and his running mate, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, will campaign Friday in Michigan.

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Filed under: 2012 • Bain Capital • Mitt Romney
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. v_mag

    Mittler, what lessons did you learn from those Salvadorans who funded Bain? I mean, the guys who took American taxpayers' money from St. Ronald Rayguns and used it to fund death squads that killed Archbishop Romero and 75,000 other people in El Salvador. Did you get a few lessons in treachery?

    August 24, 2012 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  2. Yuri

    How about speaking the truth about your tax returns in both Mass. and Utah, Rottenney? You are a knave, a con man, and not really a forthcoming fellow. We want to revel in the lies you might have unleashed or not.

    August 24, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    Mitt the Twit has long passed his "sell by" date. He's turned out to be the biggest laughingstock of the entire GOP clown show.

    Republicans, get your house in order and then we'll talk. There is no way your party is viable enough to rule America. This past year alone has proven just how incompetent Mitt Romney really is. Not to mention the past two years, wherein John Boehner couldn't get a bill that didn't start with the word abortion passed in Congress thanks to Mitts running mate Paul Ryan. I'm guessing the American people have had just about as much as they can take of the Clown Show Express.

    August 24, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |

    What help romney the tax cheat turn around the Olympics was millions in federal funds that he had to ask for ,so much for a conservative goof that wants less government!!!!

    August 24, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  5. Reggie from LA

    I wouldn't be touting "Bain Lessons" if I were him. Bain laid many an company to waste. Will those be lessons learned by Romney that will worsen our economy. You becha' (wink)!!. So Romney left Bain (making MILLIONS) to do gratis work for the Olympics? No charge? Just wanted to do it as a good deed? HOW MUCH MONEY DID YOU MAKE?!!! You're the one that talked about how "easy it is to get money from the government". HOW MUCH WENT INTO YOUR POCKETS?!! Maybe we could see if you'd let us peek those tax returns. Hmmmm?

    August 24, 2012 09:42 am at 9:42 am |

    He also forgot to say by balanceing the budget during his term ,he left the new incomeing govvenor a one billion dallar defict and raised over 1000 fees ,the same as raising taxes ,kind of like changeing the word bribery to lobbying ,and destroying all government records , would you trust this man with your Medicare or soc. Sec ????? Not ,no. No no WWE !!!

    August 24, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. Indy

    Funny nobody wanted to hire this CEO in the past 8 years,if business is in your blood stick to business and leave your business visions out of Government. A President has very little to do with running a business from the Whitehouse and if Romney were President he would soon find out that Presidents don"t have much control of the worldwide economy

    August 24, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney's 15 years with Bain Capital gives him the experience to carry out the GOP/Tea Party's vision for America: conservative social engineering to benefit the 1% rich at the expense of the middle class, seniors, poor, and women.

    August 24, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. lies from the right - and mostly hate

    Sure they were invaluable Mitt!! You learnt how to make a fortune off the backs of others, by using Federal loans, grants and monies. My 4-yr old could have made a success out of the 2002 Olympics with a BILLION dollar Federal cash infusion. Doesn't take much skill to shutter a company, sell it's assets, invest the proceeds, pay cap gains tax rates (or lower) on the profit while sending those freed-up jobs offshore.
    Do you right wing lemmings really want this person as the next POTUS??

    August 24, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Gurgyl

    Bain capital china, India.

    August 24, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. Minh Tran

    Of course big business doing fine, they are take jobs to China for cheap labors, and they don't have to pay for employee any benefits. They don't have pay for safety cost. They don't have to pay for environment protection cost. Their price for the products are not decreasing but always increasing. They can avoid some taxes for moving jobs to China too. That why they have a lot of cash at hand but they don't want to hire US workers. They enjoy all kinds of legal protection from US. They don't want to repay but just want to take in more and more from US citizens. They are main cause of economic down turn when they move jobs to China.

    August 24, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. B. Wells

    If big businesses are doing fine, then why are they not hiring, giving their average workers training and raises? The anser to this is that they can afford to ride out this economy keeping the local economy week and unemployment high as they support Romney who will owe these big businesses big-time if we allow him to become President. Big business want even lower tax rates, no closing of loopholes and they want to be able to have no taxes on capital gains. Note: the CEO's can put all their salaries into capital gains and therefore pay no federal income taxes at all! Yes, big business is doing quite well. Big business – greed for the 1%.

    August 24, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  13. Sorensen

    What he learned in Bain was "distressed asset manipulation", which has nothing to do with running a country.
    The uneducated electorate obviously has no idea what a "management" consultant does. It has nothing to do with real
    leadership. Besides, Romney has no personality, class, style, opinion, etc. He also lies about everything. And this is
    before he hired Ryan. The GOP has totally lost it. Just ask Prairiebus.

    August 24, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  14. V

    Mr. Romney – what helped turn around the Olympics were the Federal Dollars you procured for them. "Get government out of our lives – unless of course we need their money, then it's Ok." = Republican / Tea Party Ideology.

    Besides, it the games weren't being held in Utah and his Mormon buddies weren't in jeopardy of losing their shirts, he wouldn't have stepped in at all.

    August 24, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. gord

    how much tax payer money,did bain and your olympics take in and account for your success

    August 24, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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