After having his fabricated 100,000 jobs claim mocked, Mitt Romney switched to a newly created '80%' statistic for his time in the private sector. The Washington Post says Romney's new claim is "rather dubious", employs "suspect statistics" and "the Romney Campaign should stop using it." Factcheck.org writes that Romney's campaign “twists the facts” and is "misreading or misrepresenting" information.
Romney began running for political office two decades ago but still has not found an honest way to describe how his time as a corporate buyout CEO prepares him to lead our country. The truth is that Romney’s only goal in business was to grow wealth for himself and his partners even if that meant driving companies to bankruptcy, leaving tens of thousands without work -- even eliminating promised health and retirement benefits.
Washington Post: Romney Claim “Rather Dubious,” “Problematic” and Uses “Suspect Statistics”; “The Romney Campaign Should Stop Using It.” According to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, “Here’s why the 80-percent figure is problematic: It tells you almost nothing about the success or failure of these companies. In fact, it is almost surprising the figure is not nearly 100 percent. The Bain statement is so vague and imprecise that in theory revenues could grow a single year, but fall in other years, and still be claimed as a growth in revenues. Moreover, the statistic takes no account of whether the business ultimately failed, despite revenue growth, because under Bain’s direction it had taken on too much debt…The other problem with this statistic — at least as the Romney campaign uses it — is that many of these investments took place long after Romney had left the firm, some 13 years ago, which makes it increasingly irrelevant to his skills or performance…Until we can verify this figure, it means little — and the Romney campaign should stop using it as well. At the moment, it appears rather dubious. Three Pinocchios.” [Washington Post, 5/30/12]
Factcheck.org: Romney Campaign’s Gillespie “Twists the Facts” Promoting Figures that “Cannot Be Independently Verified.” According to Factcheckorg, “A letter Bain Capital sent to its investors is now becoming a talking point for Mitt Romney surrogates. But once again the company letter, which boasts of Bain’s success, is being misrepresented — this time by Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to the Romney campaign…Gillespie gets his figures from a March 13 letter that Bain Capital sent to its investors. Romney cofounded Bain in 1984. But the letter covered Bain’s entire 28-year history, not just the 14 years (1984 to early 1999) when Romney was in charge. Also, Bain’s figures cannot be independently verified and its information is presented in the best possible light for the company.” [Factcheck.org, 5/29/12]
Factcheck.org: Romney Campaign's Sununu "Misreading or Misrepresenting” Statement that “Did Not Provide Any Support for Either Claim.” According to Factcheck.org, “John H. Sununu, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney, wrongly claimed Bain Capital was “able to save jobs … about 80 percent of the time” at companies in which it had invested. Sununu was misreading or misrepresenting a Bain statement on revenues, not jobs…We cannot verify Bain Capital’s claim of revenue growth or its claim that its revenues created “hundreds of thousands of jobs.” The firm did not provide any support for either claim.” [Factcheck.org, 5/25/12]
BURTON: It's clear that Romney's primary goal was to create wealth for himself and his partners, with absolutely no concern for American jobs.
Mitt Romney's financial transactions were set up to extract profit from companies that often would be forced into bankruptcy—while American workers lost jobs and promised benefits. As the voters begin to understand more about Mitt Romney's record, it is clear that Romney's primary goal was to create wealth for himself and his partners, with absolutely no concern for American jobs.
Romney would bring these same values to the Oval Office: rewarding the rich with even more tax breaks, while hammering the middle class with cuts to education, clean energy jobs and gradually eliminating Medicare as we know it.
-Bill Burton, Senior Strategist
Mitt Romney and his team have been scrambling on these numbers as much as the varmint he enjoys hunting.
If he just released an accounting of the jobs gained and the jobs lost when he was at Bain, he could clear this whole controversy right up.
But no matter how you slice the numbers, tens of thousands of Americans lost their jobs so that Mitt Romney could make a profit. That's not the kind of leader America needs.
-Bill Burton, Senior Strategist, Priorities USA Action
Mitt Romney has had 18 years and four long political campaigns to explain how his experience as a corporate buyout specialist qualifies him to represent all Americans. But, this week and his new ad in reaction to ours has shown that Romney still has no explanation of how his record of profiting even when he drove companies to bankruptcy qualifies him to be President.
Associated Press: “The core of his presidential candidacy under attack, Mitt Romney has yet to shape a playbook to defend a quarter-century in the business world that created great riches for him and great hardship, attimes, for some American workers. Romney and his aides have struggled to respond consistently to intensifying criticism about his tenure at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he helped found, and how it would be reflected in his presidency.” http://yhoo.it/MisFIK
Politico: “As the Obama campaign this week began a concerted attack on the presumptive GOP nominee for his tenure at the private equity firm he managed, strategists in both parties say the Republican has yet to give a confident, detailed explanation of his Bain Capital tenure that silences questions about his biography as a businessman. So far in 2012, Romney — who is centering his presidential campaign on economic leadership — has rarely if ever managed to speak about Bain in any but the most defensive ofterms.” http://politi.co/Jg0IOe
NBC First Read: “Romney still doesn’t have a solid response to this issue that hurt him in 1994 and hurt him in South Carolina 2012.” http://on.msnbc.com/KXJVmR
Washington Post: “Romney’s remarks make little sense. Not only is his claim of creating 100,000 jobs at Bain untenable, but also his assertion that 100,000 jobs have been lost in the auto industry “on the president’s watch” does not add up.” http://wapo.st/JOUqbR
Politico: “This has already been one of the most eventful weeks of the general election. And so far, Mitt Romney is staying quiet.” http://politi.co/KwWKTw
Washington Post: “It was an unusual line of defense for Romney considering that the Obama administration’s rescue of the auto industry is one the president’s most popular accomplishments”http://wapo.st/K7YSki
Talking Points Memo: “This approach gets into similarly tricky territory. Politically, the auto rescue, which industry experts believe mayhave saved as many as 1 million jobs or more, is literally Obama’s favorite topic on the campaign trail and one where Romney has unique vulnerabilities.” http://bit.ly/JQ1pBY
Baltimore Sun: “Mr. Romney and his backers have tended to sidestep the legitimate issue of Bain with blanket generalizations about the candidate's "business experience" and complaints that Mr. Obama doesn't have much.” http://bsun.md/Kdfzfu
Romney's Top Strategist Calls Worker Stories "Performance Art Gibberish"
Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action: "Mitt Romney’s clear disdain for the middle class men and women who lost everything while he made millions is reflective of his callous attitude towards Americans struggling to get by. Mocking the suffering Mitt Romney caused for Americans may elicit a chuckle at his campaign offices but the job of President requires concern for all Americans, not just the wealthy."
Romney Senior Strategist Dismissed Stories of Workers Romney Fired as "Performance Art Gibberish." According to the Associated Press, Romney's Senior Strategist Stuart Stevens dismissed the concerns of workers laid off by Romney as" performance art gibberish." "Shouting louder and getting more angry is not very persuasive," Stevens said. "The idea that people are walking around with less of a paycheck or higher gas prices because of something Bain Capital did 20 years ago is absurd." [Associated Press, 5/22/12]
Stuart Stevens is Romney's Top Strategist. [New York Times, 9/20/11]
Even Republicans know Mitt Romney has not explained how his experience profiting from companies driven to bankruptcy qualifies him to be President. If Romney makes business experience the central reason for his campaign, voters have every right to question the many deals where Romney made millions while workers lost their jobs and promised benefits.
-Bill Burton, Senior Strategist
TO: Interested Parties
FR: Bill Burton, Priorities USA Action
RE: Sunday Memo: Romney Can’t Explain the Central Premise of His Candidacy
Mitt Romney: "I am running for President because I have spent my life in the private sector.”
But this week, Romney reinforced what was clear during the Republican primary race: He has no explanation for how or why his private sector experience qualifies him to be President.
Romney’s responses on Bain have ranged from false to irrelevant while all avoiding the questions that are being asked.
First, Romney and his campaign responded to questions about how he profited from driving GST Steel towards bankruptcy by claiming that another steel mill, Steel Dynamics, was successful. But as has been extensively reported by the Los Angeles Times and others, the government actually contributed more towards that mill than Romney and Bain. Our new video outlines how Romney’s attempt to take credit for jobs at Steel Dynamics is a misleading exaggeration.
Then, Romney responded to questions about how he profited from thousands of layoffs by claiming that, overall, he helped create 100,000 jobs. Romney’s fictional number is backed up by claims that the Washington Post wrote, “do not pass the laugh test.” Even conservatives have said the number, “Should be bullet proof. But it isn’t.” The Washington Post followed up on Romney’s repeated lie about his jobs record by declaring it, “untenable and unproven.”
Finally, Romney has responded to questions about the demise of GST Steel by claiming that it is comparable to the auto rescue, which he opposed. But President Obama’s rescue of the auto industry and Romney’s takeover of GST could not be more different. Romney successfully aimed to extract profit from a steel mill that was driven to collapse by adding debt. President Obama successfully aimed to prevent the collapse of the American auto industry.
Plenty of politicians have tortured responses to questions about their past. But Romney made his experience at Bain the central premise of his run for President.
Romney’s inability to answer basic questions about his private sector experience doesn’t just hurt his campaign, it undermines his self-described main qualification to lead America.
New Video: Facts on Romney’s Steel Mill Video: http://youtu.be/PTOvzvhfJNE
Romney: "I am running for President because I have spent my life in the private sector.” [Romney for President Video, 6/14/11]
Mitt Romney responded to questions about his record at Bain Capital with a web video about Steel Dynamics, a Bain Capital investment. According to CNN, “Hours after President Barack Obama's re-election team launched an attack on Mitt Romney's role in a now-bankrupt steel plant, the likely Republican nominee released his own web video touting another steel company that's now thriving.
Romney's team pointed to Steel Dynamics in the web video, which is thriving more than a decade after an investment from Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded and ran in the 1980s and 90s.” [CNN, 5/14/12]
Los Angeles Times On Steel Dynamics: “Government support was a key ingredient to getting it off the ground.” According to the Los Angeles Times, “What Romney doesn't mention is that Steel Dynamics also received generous tax breaks and other subsidies provided by the state of Indiana and the residents of DeKalb County, where the company's first mill was built. […] As Bain made its investment, the state and county pledged $37 million in subsidies and grants for the $385-million plant project. The county also levied a new income tax to finance infrastructure improvements to benefit the steel mill over the heated objections of some county residents.” [Los Angeles Times, 1/12/12]
Greg Leroy: Incentives Provided Steel Dynamics With “$92,000 Per Job.”“During a discussion on state business incentives on the Macneil/LehrerNewshour, Greg LeRoy said “Well, in the case of SteelDynamics, it looks like the state of Indiana is just icing the cake. In its own statements, the company has admitted that they’re locating there because of proximity to suppliers and customers, so it looks like it would happen anyway. Why throw $92,000 per job at it? That’s icing the cake.” [The Macneil/Lehrer Newshour, 9/6/94]
The State And County Pledged $37 Million In Subsidies And Grants For The Project – 9.6% of the Total. According to The Los Angeles Times, “As Bain made its investment, the state and county pledged $37 million in subsidies and grants for the $385-million plant project. The county also levied a new income tax to finance infrastructure improvements to benefit the steel mill over the heated objections of some county residents.” Bain invested $18.2 million. [The Los Angeles Times, 1/12/12]
DeKalb County Adopted An Economic Development Income Tax After Steel Dynamics Decided To Locate Its Plant In The County. According to Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, “Although residents in the 745-acre site named by Steel Dynamics haven’t heard much in the two months since Steel Dynamics announced it was coming to DeKalb County, DeKalb County commissioners have. Since the Valentine’s Day announcement, the county has adopted an Economic Development Income Tax, established a redevelopment authority and formed a redevelopment commission. The group also doesn't want the County Council and the county commissioners to lend the steel mill any public money. And it wants the present zoning of the proposed site to be rescinded.” [Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 4/17/94]
In an interview with Ed Morrissey, Mitt Romney claimed that his work with Bain Capital helped to create ‘over 100,000 jobs.’ According to the Washington Post, “Romney was asked by conservative talk radio host and blogger Ed Morrisey of Hot Air about a new attack this week from Obama’s reelection campaign over Bain’s role in the 2001 bankruptcy of GST Steel, which resulted in massive job losses. […] “We were able to help create over 100,000 jobs,” Romney said of his tenure at Bain, the venture capital and corporate buyout firm he founded.” [Washington Post, 5/16/12]
Washington Post: Mitt Romney’s claims about Bain Capital job creation ‘do not pass the laugh test.’ According to the Washington Post, “But if he is to continue to make claims about job creation, the Romney campaign needs to provide a real accounting of how many jobs were gained or lost through Bain Capital investments while the firm managed these companies — and while Romney was chief executive. Any jobs counted after either of those data points simply do not pass the laugh test.” [Washington Post, 1/10/12]
James Pethokoukis: “That ‘over 100,000’ number should be bullet proof. But it isn’t.” Conservative James Pethokoukis wrote on his blog that, “As Romney himself said when he announced his presidential candidacy, “Sometimes I was successful and helped create jobs, other times I was not.” And given Romney’s financial acumen and that of his brainiac policy team, that “over 100,000″ number should be bullet proof. But it isn’t.” [American Enterprise Institute, 1/7/12]
Washington Post: Mitt Romney’s claims about Bain Capital job creation are ‘untenable and unproven.’ According to the Washington Post, “The 100,000 jobs is back! The presumptive GOP nominee all but stopped mentioning he created 100,000 in the private sector after we declared in January that claim was untenable and unproven.” [Washington Post, 5/18/12]
Mitt Romney compared job losses at the GST Steel mill to job losses in the American auto industry during President Obama’s administration. According to the Washington Post, ““The most recent attacks are really off target and I think they know,” Romney said. “They said, ‘Oh, gosh, Governor Romney at Bain Capital closed down a steel factory.’ But their problem, of course, is that the steel factory closed down two years after I left Bain Capital. I was no longer there, so that’s hardly something which is on my watch.” Then Romney tried to lay blame for auto job losses on Obama. “We were able to help create over 100,000 jobs,” Romney said of his tenure at Bain, the venture capital and corporate buyout firm he founded. “On the president’s watch, about 100,000 jobs were lost in the auto industry and auto dealers and auto manufacturers, so he’s hardly one to point a finger.” [Washington Post, 5/16/12]
President Obama’s Auto Policy Saved Over One Million Jobs. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The Center for Automotive Research said today the government’s bailouts of the U.S. auto industry spared more than 1.14 million jobs last year alone, and prevented “additional personal income losses” of nearly $97 billion combined for this year and last.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/17/10]
Bain Capital made a profit from the GS Industries deal even though the company went bankrupt. According to Reuters, “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.” [Reuters, 1/6/12]
After Closing The Plant, The Company Went Back On Its Promise To Offer Health Insurance, Severance Pay, And Life Insurance. According to Reuters, “GS Industries declared bankruptcy on February 7, 2001, and said it would shut down the Kansas City plant, eliminating 750 jobs. In a press release, the company said the bankruptcy was triggered in part by ‘the critical need to restructure the company’s liabilities.’ Workers soon found out what that meant. In April, GS said it was shedding the guarantees it had promised its workers in the event of a plant closure - the severance pay, health insurance, life insurance and pension supplements that had been negotiated during the 1997 strike. Workers could buy health insurance through the company’s plan, but the company would no longer share its costs. For many who were struggling with asbestosis or other ailments contracted during their years of work, the cost was prohibitive.” [Reuters, 1/6/12]
BILL BURTON: "Romney has no coherent answers to basic questions about how profiting from driving a company to bankruptcy qualifies him to be President."
Now we know why Romney has avoided questions from reporters. He gave an extended interview to a right wing blogger where the answers on his private sector experience ranged from misleading to irrelevant. It is clear he is unprepared to answer questions on the experiences he claims qualify him to be President.
Romney begins by claiming that he shouldn’t be held responsible for decisions he and his firm made that lead to GST Steel's collapse because he wasn’t around when the company legally collapsed due to those decisions. Romney’s attempt to avoid responsibility for his decisions is akin to someone who turns on the bathtub then claims he was outside and can’t be blamed when the house floods.
The Washington Post reported, "Romney retained full, sole ownership of the firm" at the time GST collapsed. Additionally, the New York Times reported, “when it came to his considerable personal wealth, Mr. Romney never really left Bain.”
After taking heat from conservatives and liberals over his fictional claim to have helped create 100,000 jobs, Romney stopped using the figure. Today he repeated those claims, which the Washington Post wrote, “do not pass the laugh test."
Romney then attacks the auto rescue, arguing that President Obama’s attempt to save millions of jobs in the auto industry is akin to Romney’s decision to pay himself millions from companies he drove towards bankruptcy.
It is no surprise that Romney is avoiding reporters: He has no coherent answers to basic questions about how profiting from driving a company to bankruptcy qualifies him to be President.
Listen to Romney’s interview with a conservative blog today: http://hotair.com/archives/2012/05/16/hot-air-interview-with-mitt-romney/
Romney Profited Even Though GST Was Driven To Bankruptcy, 750 Workers Were Fired and Lost Promised Health and Retirement Benefits. According to Reuters, “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.” Even though Bain only took over the company in 1993, “Bain got its money back quickly. The new company issued $125 million in bonds and paid Bain a $36.1 million dividend in 1994.” [Reuters, 1/6/12]
Washington Post: “Romney retained full, sole ownership of the firm for two more years as he worked on the Olympics.” [Washington Post, 10/21/07]
New York Times: “Yet when it came to his considerable personal wealth, Mr. Romney never really left Bain.” [New York Times, 12/18/11]
Conservatives, Liberals and the Media on Romney’s Fabricated 100,000 Jobs:
PRIORITIES USA ACTION CAMPAIGN EXPOSES ROMNEY’S REAL RECORD AS CEO
“He promised us the same things he’s promising the United States. And he’ll give you the same thing he gave us. Nothing. He’ll take it all.”
WASHINGTON, D.C—Priorities USA Action today began a new television and social media campaign to illustrate Mitt Romney’s private sector record. Throughout Romney’s career, he and his partners made millions, even when companies they took control of were driven into bankruptcy, employees lost their jobs, and promises for health and retirement benefits were broken.
The ad is the first in a series of a multi-million dollar campaign running on television and online in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Priorities USA Action also launched www.RealRomneyRecord.com, a website outlining Romney’s record as CEO.
The campaign’s first ad features Pat Wells, a former employee at GST Steel in Missouri, who lost his job and promised benefits, while Mitt Romney and his firm walked away with nearly $9 million in profit.
“Mitt Romney’s tenure as CEO underscores his deeply-held belief that success only for the wealthy is good for America, even if it comes at the expense of the middle class,” said Paul Begala, Senior Adviser for Priorities USA Action. “As President, Romney has been clear he would pursue policies that benefit the wealthiest Americans like himself while cutting promised Medicare benefits and slashing educational and job opportunities for the middle class.”
SCRIPT: “Heads or Tails”
Pat Wells, Steelworker, GS Steel:
With Romney and Bain Capital, the objective was to make money.
Whether the companies they came in and worked with made money or not, was irrelevant. Bain Capital always made money.
If we lost, they made money. If we survived, they made money. It’s as simple as that.
He promised us the same things he’s promising the United States. And he’ll give you the same thing he gave us. Nothing. He’ll take it all.
Priorities USA Action is responsible for the content of this advertising.
Despite Company Being Driven to Bankruptcy, Bain Received A $12 Million Return On Its $8 Million Investment In GST Steel, Along With Over $4.5 Million In Consulting Fees. According to Reuters, “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.” Even though Bain only took over the company in 1993, “Bain got its money back quickly. The new company issued $125 million in bonds and paid Bain a $36.1 million dividend in 1994.” [Reuters, 1/6/12]
Workers Lost Promised Health Insurance, Severance Pay, And Life Insurance. According to Reuters, “GS Industries declared bankruptcy on February 7, 2001, and said it would shut down the Kansas City plant, eliminating 750 jobs. In a press release, the company said the bankruptcy was triggered in part by ‘the critical need to restructure the company’s liabilities.’ Workers soon found out what that meant. In April, GS said it was shedding the guarantees it had promised its workers in the event of a plant closure - the severance pay, health insurance, life insurance and pension supplements that had been negotiated during the 1997 strike. Workers could buy health insurance through the company’s plan, but the company would no longer share its costs. For many who were struggling with asbestosis or other ailments contracted during their years of work, the cost was prohibitive.” [Reuters, 1/6/12]
Workers Called New Management Inexperienced, Undermined Capabilities to Compete ‘With Anyone in the World.’ According to Boston Globe, “Out-of-work steelworkers in Kansas City, for example, blame Romney and Bain Capital for decisions that led to last year’s bankruptcy of a steel mill that opened its doors in 1888. Bain bought the operation, GST Steel Co., in 1993. Workers said the new owners cleaned house and brought in an inexperienced management team. Dan Misel, who worked at GST Steel for 35 years, said Baincame in ‘like the bully on the block,’ assuming its managers knew how to run the operation better than anyone already in place. ‘They brought in people to manufacture steel who had no idea of how to do it,’ Misel said. ‘It was kind of sad to me. We had the facilities and capabilities of producing with anyone in the world.’” According to Bloomberg, “GS Industries Inc., a steel company in Charlotte, North Carolina, filed for bankruptcy in2001 after workers said a chief executive hired under Bain made missteps, including installing managers who lacked industry expertise, former employees said.” [Boston Globe, 10/24/02 and Bloomberg News, 7/20/11]
By 1995, Two Years After Bain Took Over, GS Industries ‘was not on a sustainable course;’ company’s debt had grown to over ten times its operating income. According to Reuters, “Already, though, there were warning signs that the company was not on a sustainable course. Concerned about the level of debt, which totaled $378 million in 1995 on operating income less than a tenth of that amount, the merged company's new CEO, Roger Regelbrugge, negotiated a clause in his contract that would allow him to retire at the end of 1997.” [Reuters, 1/6/12]
GS Industries saw its operating income drop and losses grow from 1997 to 1999, making the firm’s massive debt even more of a problem. According to Reuters, “Nevertheless, net losses at the company grew to $52.9 million in 1999 from $16.1 million in 1997, while operating income dropped to $9.6 million from $37.9 million over the same period -- not enough to sustain the firm's debt and obligations for long.” [Reuters, 1/6/12]
Yesterday, we released an ad stating that 'Big Oil has pledged $200 million to help Mitt Romney.' Today, $6 million of that pledge was spent on television advertisements across the country. Billionaire oil executives like the Koch Brothers benefit from high gas prices financially and use that extra cash to support Mitt Romney because he has pledged to protect their billions in special tax breaks. While middle class families pay at the pump, Mitt Romney and the big oil companies bankrolling his campaign benefit from high gas prices financially and politically.
Yesterday: Priorities USA Action and League of Conservation Voters Victory Fund Launch '$200 Million Man' Ad On Romney's Support from Big Oil. [New York Times, 4/25/12]
Today: Billionaire Oil Barons Charles and David Koch Spend $6 Million on TV Ads to Benefit Mitt Romney. [Huffington Post, 4/26/12]