Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Join as a sustainer and support independent local news for your community.

Obama Ad Blasts Romney's Time At Bain Capital


It didn't take long after the JPMorgan news broke for President Obama's campaign to seize an opportunity. A campaign ad rips Mitt Romney for his tenure at the head of a private equity firm.

Here's NPR's Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: The ad is a two-minute trial balloon airing for just one day in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Iowa and Colorado. It goes after Romney's central claim that his business experience qualifies him to turn the American economy around. The ad portrays Romney as a heartless buyout artist who piled up companies with debt, enriched investors, then let the companies go bankrupt. It features workers laid off from GST Steel, which Romney's company, Bain Capital, bought in 1993.


LIASSON: Stephanie Cutter, of the Obama campaign, says Romney's policies would benefit the rich, and leave the middle-class workers behind.

STEPHANIE CUTTER: This is about the values Romney lived by, and the values he's promising to live by as the president.

LIASSON: Cutter said the issue is not the private equity industry as a whole. Indeed, Mr. Obama attended a fundraiser last night at the home of a top executive at the world's largest private equity firm.

The Obama ad, however, got some unexpected criticism from a former Obama economic adviser, Steve Rattner, who called the ad unfair.

STEVEN RATTNER: Bain Capital's responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs. It was to make profits for its investors. So yeah, I do think, to pick out an example of somebody who lost their job - unfortunately, this is part of capitalism; this is part of life.

LIASSON: The Romney campaign countered with a Web video featuring positive testimonials from workers at another steel company, SDI, that Romney and Bain Capital owned for about five years in the 1990s.

Mara Liasson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.