President Obama’s re-election campaign is continuing its attacks on Republican Mitt Romney as a job killing profiteer during his career in private equity, launching a web video Monday centered on the experience of workers at Ampad, a paper company.
Bain Capital, where Romney was CEO, bought Ampad in 1992, mostly with borrowed money, then acquired other paper companies over the next several years. By 1999, the company carried $400 million in debt, and it went bankrupt in 2000. Bain realized a profit of $100 million on its initial $5 million cash investment.
The latest Obama video focuses on a paper company in Marion, Ind. that Bain-controlled Ampad bought in 1994; all 250 workers were immediately fired and made to reapply for their jobs – at much lower wages and benefits. That plant closed one year later. The video features interviews with several workers who saw their middle-class lives fall apart.
Romney, who was governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007, touts his Bain experience as an important credential as a job creator. Obama strategists believe there is a darker story: of a man who pursued profits at the expense of workers, an enemy of the middle class.
The Obama campaign came under fire from a top surrogate on the Bain issue on Sunday, when Newark Mayor Cory Booker said on NBC’s Meet the Press that he found the attacks “nauseating.”
"I'm not going to sit here and indict private equity. To me we're getting to a ridiculous point in America," Booker said on Meet. “If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they've done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses, and this, to me, I'm very uncomfortable with.”
Later Booker released a video, presumably after heat from the Obama camp, in which he sought to clarify his comments. He said that Romney’s record at Bain was fair game, and added he had been making the point that there are too many negative attacks on both sides of the presidential race.
Last week, the Obama campaign highlighted a GST Steel, a Kansas City-company that was bought by Bain and then went under (though it was also under heavy pressure from imports of cheaper foreign steel.)
The Romney campaign Monday called the Obama attacks “an assault on the free-enterprise system.”
Here is the web video that the Obama campaign is circulating :