“Thanks to a $5 million donation from a wealthy casino owner, a group supporting New Gingrich plans to place advertisements in South Carolina this week attacking Mitt Romney as a predatory capitalist who destroyed jobs and communities, adding a full-scale Republican dimension to an assault on Mr. Romney’s business background…
“The Bain-centered campaign strikes at the heart of Mr. Romney’s argument for his qualifications as president — that as a successful executive in the private sector, he learned how to create jobs — and advances an argument that President Obama’s re-election campaign has signaled it would employ aggressively against Mr. Romney.
“‘His business success comes from raiding and destroy businesses — putting people out of work, stealing their health care,’ said Rick Tyler, a senior adviser to the pro-Gingrich super PAC, Winning Our Future, which recently bought the film, ‘King of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town,’ after groups backing two other Republican candidates passed up opportunities to use it…
“‘If this is free enterprise, then conservatives should have nothing to do with it,” [Tyler] said. ‘It is predatory paper-shuffling. Mitt Romney was engaged in the engineered destruction of free enterprise,’ including raiding workers’ pension and health care funds to finance corporate takeovers, he said.”
“President Obama’s chief campaign strategist David Axelrod today on ‘This Week’ honed his two-pronged attack on GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, insisting the former Bain Capital CEO’s record and shifting policy positions will undermine his general election appeal.
“‘Frankly I don’t think bringing a Bain mentality to this economy — to running this economy — makes him a strong candidate,’ Axelrod told me. ‘I don’t think shifting and moving around on positions – fundamental positions – is one that people are going to embrace.’…
“‘He is not a job creator he is a corporate raider,’ he added. ‘Those aren’t the values that we want to lead our economy.'”
“The young men in business suits, gingerly picking their way among the millwrights, machinists and pipefitters at Kansas City’s Worldwide Grinding Systems steel mill. Gaping up at the cranes that swung 10-foot cast iron buckets through the air. Jumping at the thunder from the melt shop’s electric-arc furnace as it turned scrap metal into lava…
“Apparently they liked what they saw. Soon after, in October 1993, Bain Capital, co-founded by Mitt Romney, became majority shareholder in a steel mill that had been operating since 1888…
“Less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked and some 750 people lost their jobs. Workers were denied the severance pay and health insurance they’d been promised, and their pension benefits were cut by as much as $400 a month.
“What’s more, a federal government insurance agency had to pony up $44 million to bail out the company’s underfunded pension plan. Nevertheless, Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees.”
NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I — I haven’t seen the film, but it does reflect ‘The New York Times’ story two days ago about one particular company. And I think people should look at the film and decide. If it’s factually accurate, it raises questions.
I’m very much for free enterprise. I’m very much for exactly what the Governor just described, create a business, grow jobs, provide leadership.
I’m not nearly as enamored of a Wall Street model where you can flip companies, you can go in and have leveraged buyouts, you can basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers.
“Gingrich also repeatedly told viewers to watch a forthcoming anti-Romney movie that Gingrich supporters have bought the rights to. Newt claimed—implausibly—to not have seen it, though he does know that it clocks in at exactly 27 1/2 minutes.
“Newt continued with his bizarre attacks against Romney for being a successful businessman. Seemingly unaware that GOP primary voters worship at the altar of the free market, Gingrich has adopted the DNC attack line that Romney is a modern day Gordon Gekko who delights in laying off American workers to line his own pockets. In Gingrich’s world, lobbying for a sleazy quasi-governmental entity that played a role in the U.S. economic meltdown is preferable to creating wealth in the private sector. Good luck with that message in a Republican primary.”
“If nothing else, you in the tea party movement have spent the last three years teaching Americans that we are in a battle for the very soul of capitalism. And here comes Romney, the soul of American capitalism in the flesh. Look back over his career as a predator drone at Bain Capital: Isn’t it the exact sort of background you always insist politicians ought to have as you wave your copy of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ in the air?
“It’s true that Romney said that the bank bailouts of 2008-09 were necessary, while you regard them as a mortal sin against free-market principles. But you shouldn’t hold this against him. Any study of bank history reveals that free-marketeers have no problem doling out, or grabbing for, government money when the chips are down…
“With Romney, a centimillionaire venture capitalist, carrying your banner in 2012, you will finally get to submit your capsized vision of social class to the verdict of the people — the actual flesh-and-blood people, that is, not the corporate ‘people’ who make up the S&P 500.”
“[N]ot only is Romney’s Bain record on trial here, so is the whole idea of Schumpeterian, entrepreneurial capitalism where ‘creative destruction’ creates a massive net benefit for society. This is exactly the idea that the Obama reelection campaign is attacking as promoting unacceptable levels of inequality. (Apparently bad government investments — like in Solyndra — that lose jobs are OK.)”
Via the pro-Gingrich Super PAC Winning Our Future:
“I know what it’s like to worry about whether you’re going to get fired.”