By Justin Sink - 09/27/12 06:34 PM EDT
President Obama's campaign on Thursday seized on a 1985 video of Mitt Romney in which he discusses Bain Capital's business strategy — including buying stakes in undervalued companies and then planning to, within five to eight years, "harvest them at a significant profit."
The video was posted by the liberal Mother Jones magazine on Thursday — the same publication that last week posted an undercover video from one of Romney's closed-door fundraisers — and was apparently from a CD-ROM created in 1998 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Bain.
“Today’s video confirms what I and other workers fired by Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital already know: that Romney’s business experience was never about creating jobs," said former Ampad worker Randy Johnson. "Romney’s own words prove that his focus was putting profits before people from the very beginning, ‘harvesting’ companies to make a ‘significant profit’ for himself and his investors — even if it meant investing in companies that shipped American jobs to China. Any other explanation Romney puts forth about this ‘private-sector’ experience or understanding of the ‘real economy’ are just empty words from a man desperately trying to rewrite the past in order to win an election.”
Democrats hope that Romney's "harvest" language can provide another opportunity to depict the Republican nominee as out of touch.
But the Romney campaign has aggressively defended the former governor's business record, saying the Republican nominee had "success in building, fixing and growing businesses."
"President Obama's ongoing attacks on business over the past four years are part of the reason that our economy is failing to recover and that 23 million Americans are still unemployed or underemployed," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement last month.
And in a statement earlier this year, Bain Capital defended its handling of Ampad specifically.
“We acquired Ampad from Mead Corp. in 1992, and grew the overall business during the four years we controlled the company. The Marion plant was a challenging situation in a business that was performing well overall, growing revenues and adding jobs,” said the statement, provided to ABC News. “Our control of Ampad ended in 1996, fully four years before it encountered financial difficulties due to overwhelming pressure from ‘big box’ retailers, declines in paper demand and intense foreign price pressures. Despite political attacks that emphasize the few companies that have struggled, the facts are that during Bain Capital’s ownership, revenues grew in 80 percent of the more than 350 companies in which we have invested.”