In other words, “Hey, let’s keep talking about Bain Capital!” Mitt Romney proudly rolled out Bain’s investment history, in which their businesses succeeded in boosting profit and viability in 80% of the cases — keeping in mind that private-equity firms and especially Bain tend to focus on already-troubled firms. Only 5% of their bets resulted in bankruptcy later, which is a rather remarkable record for a private-equity firm. In attacking that kind of success, Romney argued on Fox News this morning, Barack Obama has resorted to nothing less than an attack on capitalism itself:
“With regards to Bain Capital, they just put a report out about their record, the Bain Capital guys did, they noted they’ve made about 350 investments since the beginning on the firm, and of those investments, about 80 percent grew their revenues. So I’m pretty confident that the overall record of the enterprise I helped begin is pretty solid,” Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, told Fox News.
In his comments, Romney was responding to three central criticisms forwarded by the Obama campaign this week: that Romney’s venture capital firm Bain Capital had exploited companies for the economic gain of executives, that Romney was advocating failed Bush-era economic policies, and that Romney had equated productivity with personal income to suggest Americans weren’t working hard enough.
The presumptive Republican nominee added that it “certainly sounds like” the president was attacking the free market system.
“There’s no question but that he’s attacking capitalism, in part I think because he doesn’t understand how the free economy works. He’s never had a job in the free economy, neither has Vice President Biden,” Romney said.
The best moment in this clip comes at the 20-second mark in the above clip, when Romney scoffs at Obama’s understanding of “productivity” in the economy. Romney pronounces himself “amazed” at Obama’s ignorance on the topic after more than three years as President, and then patiently explains exactly what it means and why it matters. It recalls Obama’s proclamation in 2009 about P/E ratios as “profits and earning ratios,” when in fact profits and earnings are the same thing, and P/E stands for price to earnings ratio, a measure of stock values.
Watch the full clip, though, because Fox and Friends also asks Romney about his pivot to education today:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney opened a new front on Wednesday in his fight against President Barack Obama, accusing him of presiding over a failing U.S. education system in the grip of union bosses who refuse to accept reforms.
In a rare diversion from his campaign focus on the weak economy, Romney laid out an education plan in a speech that represented his most overt appeal to date to Hispanic voters who have largely sided with the Democratic incumbent.
Although he trails Obama by a huge margin among Hispanics, Romney’s address to a Hispanic business group avoided mentioning a top priority for them: how to overhaul the country’s immigration system.
Romney said millions of American children are getting a “third-world education” and offered proposals that he said would reward teachers for their results instead of their seniority. And he would give parents greater choice of where to send their children to school and take other steps to reduce the influence of powerful teachers’ unions.
This is a smart strategy to use for Hispanic voters, many of whom have children locked into failing schools. It offers a reason to consider the Republican Party and its national ticket while bolstering his standing among conservatives in the party.
Update: In answer to the question in the headline, Andrew Kaczynski produces a flier from an Obama appearance at a socialist rally in 1996, when Obama ran for the state legislature.