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. drake mallard

    "The blind trust is an age old ruse, if you will, which is to
    say, you can always tell a blind trust what it can and can not do. You
    give a blind trust rules

    Romney's campaign is based on the notion that because of what he did at Bain he understands the economy. It's perfectly reasonable to examine what his experience at Bain really taught him. After all, Bain wasn't in the business of creating jobs, it was in the business of making money

    The high unemployement is due to people like romney out sourcing that's why middle class Americans are suffering so much.

    August 23, 2012 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  2. Governor 47th in Job Growth (excluding off-shored to China)

    Outsourcing American jobs helped Willard prepare to lead America? No wonder why he's losing and really going to get thumped in epic way this November.
    If he's talking about Bain it must mean it's OK for our President to talk about Bain's vulture model as it was Willard was saying that we couldn'talk about Bain. So it's fair game after all. Good to know.

    August 24, 2012 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  3. ThinkAgain: Are you ready for the Bain-ification of the U.S.?

    Mittens turned around the Olympics by using other people's money, specifically, the U.S. taxpayer to bail him out.

    August 24, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  4. ThinkAgain: Are you ready for the Bain-ification of the U.S.?

    Time to research and accept the truth about Mittens and all his "experience." According to Bill Bain, who started Bain & Company and invited Mittens to head Bain Capital, Mittens initially said no (it was too risky a venture for Mittens).

    So Bill Bain told Mittens that if Bain Capital failed, he'd have his old job back, at his old salary, plus any raises he would have gotten. Bain also told Mittens that he'd provide him with a "cover story" so his (Mittens') reputation wouldn't be damaged by the failure.

    In a nutshell, according to Bill Bain himself, Mittens faced "no professional or financial risk" by going to Bain Capital.

    So much for being some hot-shot business guy.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    August 24, 2012 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  5. DAVID

    Romney saved the olympics with the millions and millions of aid dollars he got from the federal goverment! boy that must have been hard to do with limitless money. the rest of what he says is just bla bla bla bla with no details just political ad materials. a bunch of sound bits added up to be a story. your not fooling me! by the way were are those tax returns mittens in there is your real story good or bad.

    August 24, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  6. ThinkAgain: Are you ready for the Bain-ification of the U.S.?

    Here it is:

    1. Make millions breaking up American companies, laying off American workers and outsourcing American jobs.

    2. Give more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires so they can continue using the extra cash to create jobs overseas where labor is cheap and environmental regulations don't exist.

    3. Let the foreclosure crisis play itself out, so folks can lose their biggest investment, "deserving" investors can buy up their houses cheap and then rent them back to the original owners.

    4. De-regulate the financial industry, knowing that the market always "corrects" itself.

    5. Don't invest in infrastructure, education or renewable energy; instead, give that money to the rich in terms of further tax cuts (see above as to what happens to that extra cash).

    6. Start a war with Iran, because we all know that a healthy bottom line for the military industrial complex is all that really matters.

    This is all Mittens knows; if you want something better for our country than to be just another asset Mittens and Co. suck dry, then vote for President Obama.

    August 24, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  7. DAVID

    when i listen to this guy he sounds like a used car salesman.

    August 24, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  8. ThinkAgain: Are you ready for the Bain-ification of the U.S.?

    Mittens is proposing all the same failed GOP economic policies.

    You'd have to be totally stupid to vote for him ...

    August 24, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  9. SafeJourney

    Is Romney out of his ****** mind? I really think the campaign has been to much for him. Oh, but do NOT ask him about abortion and Ryans extreme policy buddy Akin

    August 24, 2012 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  10. Patrick

    Am I the only one who is reminded of Jaba the Hutt and his pet Salacious B. Crumb when I see Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan together?

    August 24, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  11. Patrick

    google "Mitt Romney worst presidential candidate of all time"...His numbers are breaking records. I especially like the daily kos's humorous take on Mitt. How can anyone Republican, Democrat or Independant justify voting for this guy...He represents everything that is wrong, not only with America, but in humanity.

    August 24, 2012 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  12. Larry L

    It's important to note the Republicans, the same party Romney now represents, got us in to this economic crisis with cut & spend economics. Also important is the fact that Bain Capital was a vulture capitalism corporation that took good, hard-working Americans and threw them out in the street with no pension so some fat-cats, like Mitt Romney, could get more fabulously wealthy. That is what Romney learned from Bain Capital. Where are his tax returns?

    August 24, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  13. vivine

    can we see your tax record Romney?

    August 24, 2012 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  14. fire0bama

    Gov. Romney, thank you for sharing your valuable experiences and your excellent ideas. You are the most qualified to be our president. I will definitely vote for you. You will be great US president starting Jan. 2013.

    Romney/Ryan 2012!

    August 24, 2012 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  15. FlotsamJetsam

    Romney's record:

    Birthplace – Planet Golob

    Bain Capital – Didn't really work there the last 3 years (when all the bad stuff happened)

    SLC Olympic Committee – Great Olympics (fabulous that the Federal Govt bailed them out)

    Gov of Mass – Passed major healthcare reform just like Obamacare (but he doesn't want to talk about it)

    Permanent Presidential Candidate – 3's the charm! (at least some Republicans like him) just don't ask him about Abortion, Rape, Medicare or his taxes.

    August 24, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  16. Thomas

    It's true that the Olympics were in trouble when Romney took over, but as Frank Rich recently explained, "The most significant workers he added to the payroll in Salt Lake City were sixteen lobbyists, at a cost of nearly $4 million, to solicit taxpayers' subsidies - 'more federal cash than any previous U.S. Olympics,' according to The Wall Street Journal. That's hard to square with Romney's current stand that jobs will bloom across the land if government stops giving any handouts (even to tornado victims, he said in the GOP debate) and let the free market work its magic."

    Nice try Flip Flopper manipulator ! After seeing and feeling how GW Bush ran this country into debit , I can only imagine what a legacy you would leave .

    August 24, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  17. Logic N LA

    A- borrow money from the government
    B- sell off assets and maximize dollars
    C- have no original ideas , but know a good investment when you see it an put money in the project.

    August 24, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  18. enuff

    BAIN DIDN'T BUILD THAT! The employees of Staples did...The employees the the steel mills did... The employees of Clear Channel did... need I go on? Big business builds on the backs of their employees, otherwise, they would have no business at all. And remember, Romney also llikes to fire people. He already has said he was going to get rid of fed workers.

    August 24, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  19. Walter Kac

    What am I missing? A person earning a couple million dollars and his/hers net-net taxable income is in the 10% bracket ( let us say $2,000,000.) his/hers net net taxable income would generat $200,000.00 dollars in taxes paid.
    On the other side my earnings and deductions would be a net net taxble income to $200,000.00 and $20,000.00.
    who is carrying and paying more taxes in this simple comparison????

    August 24, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  20. tammyk tammy

    That's right – go into debt getting those college degrees then Mitt will work hard to attract and retain talent from around the world i.e. India and China. If I tried getting a job based on what I did way back in 1999 I would be laughed out of the interview. Touring plants in your business suit surrounded by lackeys doesn't mean you understand manufacturing or blue collar workers. Ever have to get your hands dirty Mitt?

    August 24, 2012 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  21. Dina Oliver

    Are you kidding, 47 in job creation and 2 billion deficit is what we got from Mitt Romney.
    He has def lost his mind.

    August 24, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  22. T'sah From Virginia

    Romney needs to "lay out" his taxes so the American people can judge him on that – Have you heard the latest – He is not showing more taxes because he does not want to let it be known about his donations to his church... Okay, then why did he not say this 3 years ago when he first started bidding for the White House????? If he did this back then – the story today would be NULL and VOID because we would have taken his word for it – I mean he had over 3 years to tell it. OMG, Romney truly believes we are stupid and he is such a LIAR!!

    On another note – Romney and his wife was the first to mention that he donated 10% of his income to his church… Dang, we all know he's rich and 10% of just 1 million dollars is a lot – Could you imagine? OR, maybe he DID NOT donate 10% and that is what he is trying to hide..... There is too much we don't know about Romney and he continues to LIE thinking he's relaying the truth – DANGEROUS!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    August 24, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  23. wgf

    The United States government is not a corporation, and should not be run by a person whose only verifiable talent is an ability to turn a profit on a corporate takeover.

    August 24, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Does he really understand the restrictions that he is going to have as president? He should have some clue since he was governor of MA. I don't think he is remembering that at this point. He is so much the flip flopper because of where he has been on various issues.

    August 24, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  25. The Other Dale

    "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,"

    Lesson Number One: Get the government to bail me out.
    Lesson Number Two: Destroy all the evidence showing I got paid a lot for making bad decisions or not doing anything.
    Lesson Number Three: Blame Government for bail-outs.
    Lesson Number Four: Add piles of money to my personal off-shore accounts.
    Lesson Nubmer Five: Destroy all the evidence about the money.
    Lesson Number Six: Don't pay taxes on that money.
    Lesson Number Seven: Destroy all the evidence about the taxes.

    August 24, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
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