President Barack Obama's re-election campaign opened an assault on Mitt Romney's background as a private equity executive on Monday with a video that seeks to undermine the Republican's central argument for why he is qualified for the White House.
Romney's record as an executive at Bain Capital, a firm that bought and restructured companies sometimes resulting in a loss of jobs, was a hotly debated topic during Romney's Republican primary battle against Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and a host of other conservative alternatives.
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Romney's rivals mounted their attack after Reuters published a January special report examining a Kansas City, Missouri, steel mill that went bankrupt under Bain's ownership.
Now the Obama campaign is telling the story of the GS Technologies mill to argue that the brand of capitalism Romney practiced at Bain benefited wealthy investors at the expense of workers.
The Democratic incumbent's campaign released a six-minute video that featured the demise of the company, which Bain bought in 1993.
Less than a decade later, the mill was padlocked, and 750 people lost their jobs. Bain profited on the deal, receiving $12 million on its $8 million initial investment and at least $4.5 million in consulting fees, according to the Reuters special report.
The Obama video was featured on a website it created, RomneyEconomics.com.
"In a career of buying and selling companies, Romney's pattern was to reap quick profits for himself and his investors at the expense of workers and communities," the Obama campaign said in a statement releasing the video. "Sometimes it meant sending American jobs overseas. Other times, it meant cutting wages and benefits."
Romney has used his Bain experience as proof that he has the business acumen to restore robust growth to the U.S. economy and says Obama's attempts to help the economy have failed.
The Romney campaign believes Obama is attacking Romney on Bain and a variety of other subjects to distract voters' attention from his economic record. The U.S. economy has had unemployment over 8 percent throughout Obama's more than three years as president.
"We welcome the Obama campaign's attempt to pivot back to jobs and a discussion of their failed record. Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation," said Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
She said Obama has many questions to answer about why his administration used money from a $787 billion stimulus passed early in his tenure "to reward wealthy campaign donors with taxpayer money for bad ideas" like Solyndra, a solar panel company that went bankrupt despite receiving $535 million in loan guarantees from the stimulus.
"If the Obama administration was less concerned about pleasing their wealthy donors and more concerned about creating jobs, America would be much better off," she said.
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