Reaching for the heartstrings of the electorate, President Barack Obama’s campaign released a new video Monday morning attacking Mitt Romney’s credentials as a “job creator” during his time as CEO of Bain Capital.
In the six minute web video, former employees of American Paper and Pad portray Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, as a ruthless venture capitalist who destroyed middle class manufacturing jobs.
Ampad, a subsidiary of Mead and producer of office products, was purchased by Bain Capital in 1992 for $40 million. Utilizing a “roll-up strategy,” Bain bought up other companies similar companies in the same industry, including SCM, a company based in Marion, Indiana.
After Bain purchased SCM in 1994, all 250 employees were laid off and forced to re-apply for work for lower wages and diminished benefits. A year later, the firm was closed for good.
Romney’s campaign noted that SCM had already begun laying off workers and closing plants before Bain arrived on the scene, and that the firm helped to boost the company’s productivity while it had operational control from 1992 to 1996.
Obama’s video, posted on RomneyEconomics.com, emphasizes the impact of SCM’s closing through the eyes of its former employees – part of his compaign’s portrayal of Romney as a proponent of government policies favoring the wealthiest Americans.
Randy Johnson, a Pittsburgh resident and former union leader at SCM, provides commentary through the clip, portraying Marion as a classic Midwestern town.
“The average person in the Marion area would say that they are middle income to lower income,” Johnson said. “But we had good jobs that you could raise a family on.”
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Johnson now serves as a union organizer for steel works in Pittsburgh, and has worked with the Democratic National Committee as an active critic toward Romney during the current campaign season.
Following in line with President Obama’s campaign strategy of portraying Romney as “out of touch” with the plight of middle class workers, the video shows a pull-out quote where Romney admits that he wasn’t “sufficiently aware” of the situation.
After Ampad went bankrupt in 2000, the video said Bain Capital made $100 million in profits after liquidating the company’s holdings. These assets included factories in New York, Texas, and Mississippi.
In a press release from the Obama campaign, spokeswoman Jennifer Austin said Romney’s actions at CEO with Bain Capital reflect his economic philosophy for the country as a whole.
“Mitt Romney has repeatedly cited his business experience as his chief qualification to be President, claiming he would use it to boost the economy, create jobs, and reduce the deficit,” Austin said.
“But Romney’s business values put short term profit for himself and his investors ahead of long term growth for the companies he bought and sold–destroying some of the communities where he and his partners invested.”
Romney left Bain in 1999, before the Ampad bankruptcy.
His campaign said the accusations made in the video are largely inaccurate. Spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said prior to the purchase of SMC by Bain Capital, the company was laying off workers and closing plants.
Pompei added that Bain sold their shares of SCM in 1996, and it was after this that the company accumulated $130 million in debt. She also said that under Bain’s ownership, net sales at Ampad increased from $9 million to $584 million.
“President Obama continues his assault on the free enterprise system with attacks that one of his supporters, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, called ‘nauseating’ and a former adviser, Steven Rattner, called ‘unfair,’” she said.
“Under President Obama, more Americans have lost their jobs than under any president since the Great Depression. President Obama’s policies have failed every American who expected their President to focus on the economy and make things better.”
Obama’s Bain attacks took friendly fire on Sunday when Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, a rising star in the Democratic party. Booker said he was “very uncomfortable” with the president’s attacks on private equity during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press.
“To me, it’s just we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America,” Booker said. “Especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people invest in companies like Bain Capital.”