The Obama re-election campaign is adding to the growing chorus of seemingly anti-capitalist rhetoric aimed at former governor Mitt Romney by attacking his oft-touted business record.
President Obama’s re-election campaign sent out a memo on Friday accusing Mitt Romney of “destroying companies and good-paying jobs in order to reap huge profits," according to Jamie Dupree of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
These are some excerpts from the memo:
… Romney’s objective in business was never job creation.
...Romney closed over a thousand plants, stores and offices, and cut employee wages, benefits and pensions. He laid off American workers and outsourced their jobs to other countries. And he and his partners made hundreds of millions of dollars while taking companies to bankruptcy.
Although some of the businesses in which he took a stake undoubtedly added jobs, neither Romney’s campaign nor any independent fact checker has supported his claim of producing a net increase of 100,000 American jobs – or even anything close to it.
Armed with the facts, the American people will determine whether Mitt Romney’s track record shows he believes our prosperity will come from an economy where the wealthy and powerful can rig the game at the expense of working Americans, or every American who works hard and acts responsibly will have a fair shot at success. Voters can judge for themselves whether his vision for the future is based on outsourcing and bubble economies that enrich speculators and corporate raiders, or an economy built to last in which the productivity of our workers is rewarded.
Our economic crisis and endemic income inequality were caused in large part by a few who put profits over people. Taking advantage of an uneven playing field, where there was one rulebook for those at the top and another for everyone else, Mitt Romney and his friends made money hand over fist while working families lost their grip on the middle-class lifestyle they earned.
The memo's authors quickly switch from condemning Romney to praising President Barack Obama for creating jobs and growing the economy:
“...[he] has taken formidable, decisive steps to protect free enterprise, investors and consumers – and why he’s fighting for an economy that’s built to last...”
“…the President championed Wall Street reform that requires more rigorous disclosure and tightens oversight of the kind of speculation that caused the market meltdown…”
The memo also claims the president rescued the U.S. auto industry, revived manufacturing, and freed businesses from "burdensome regulations."
However, it’s not the boasts about President Obama's economic “successes” that have some critics scratching their heads. It’s the decision to attack Mitt Romney via private equity.
Considering the fact that President Obama has "both taken donations from the industry and appointed a number of private equity veterans to his administration," as Alexander Burns of Politico writes, this line of attack seems very odd.
Here is a sampling of some of the “private equity veterans” President Obama has surrounded himself with (via Politico):
- Jack Lew: The new White House chief of staff was previously a managing director at Citi Alternative Investments
- Nancy-Ann DeParle: A deputy chief of staff who helped lead the president’s health care reform effort was also a managing director at CCMP Capital
- Jeffrey Goldstein: The recently-departed undersecretary of the Treasury for Domestic Finance was also a managing director at Hellman & Friedman before he joined the administration. He’s returning to the private equity firm now that he has resigned
- Steve Rattner: A former auto czar who came out of the world of private equity before briefly working with the administration
- Mark Gallogly: Works for Centerbridge Partners, and is formerly of the Blackstone Group. He was on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board
- Richard Parsons: Former Time Warner executive on the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. He is also linked to Providence Equity Partners Inc
- Walter Jones: Currently the U.S. executive director of the African Development Bank, he was also a senior private equity executive with Gravitas Capital Advisors
And these are just a few examples.
The list doesn't even mention the other "private equity veterans" currently employed by the President’s Management Advisory Board, the Board for International Food and Agriculture Development, the National Infrastructure Advisory Council and the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
“If President Obama plans to campaign against Mitt Romney and the alleged evils of private equity, then he will need to start by purging the ranks of his own administration,” a private equity insider told Politico.
Final Thought: Seeing as how they've decided to target him specifically, as opposed to any of the other GOP candidates, it seems the Obama re-election campaign is confident Mitt Romney will win the GOP nomination.