Uh-oh. Candidates are still dithering over whether or not to enter the Republican primary for the 2012 Presidential election, and we're already getting a sense of what the Democrats' narrative is going to look like should some of them win—specifically Mitt Romney.
Given the blog you're reading, you've probably guessed already that it's going to have something to do with his time at Bain & Co.
You’d be correct.
Politico is featuring a piece today with the cringe-inducing headline "The Bain of Mitt Romney's campaign." It presents a series of attack ads used against Romney in the 1994 Massachusetts Senate campaign, an election he lost to Ted Kennedy. The theme of those ads: that during his time at Bain and Bain Capital, Romney bought companies, cut jobs, wages and benefits, and made a substantial amount of money in the process.
Most notable in the current climate is an ad that the Kennedy campaign didn't actually get around to using—one that Politico says " would have been damaging had it appeared when it was produced nearly two decades ago. But it could take on new relevance in a 2012 campaign in which Romney is touting his business career as proof he can lead a national economic turnaround."
The details of the ad focus on Romney's role in rescuing Bain and Co. in 1991, when the firm was in a spot of financial difficulty after its creditor failed. The rescue involved layoffs and the forgiveness of "several million dollars in loans forgiven by the FDIC," according to Politico--a move that the ad paints as a government bailout.
Here's the full transcript from the ad:
"Mitt Romney says he saved Bain and Company. But he didn't tell you that on the day he took over, he had his predecessor fire hundreds of employees. Or that the way the company was rescued was with a federal bailout of $10 million. According to the Globe, Romney's company failed to pay at least $10 million to a failed bank, and the rest of us had to absorb the loss. Romney? He and others made $4 million in this deal, which cost ordinary people $10 million. Mitt Romney: Maybe he's just against government when it helps working men and women."
Should Romney prevail in the Republican primary, we can surely look forward to much more dissection of his record at Bain and Bain Capital—especially as the issues of layoffs, job creation and bailouts loom so large today. Indeed, Politico points out that the flak has already started flying:
"Romney’s 2012 foes are starting to deploy the same attack lines Kennedy used 17 years ago. When Romney criticized President Barack Obama over last week’s bleak unemployment report, Obama adviser David Axelrod shot back on Twitter: 'In business, Romney made a fortune firing American workers. As governor, 47th in job creation.'"
I, for one, can hardly wait for 2013.
Politico: The Bain of Mitt Romney's Campaign
Mitt Romney: From Bain consultant to US president?
--Phil Stott, Vault.com