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Now that Romney's jobs record is under attack, he's clamming up
Once upon a time, Mitt Romney's record as CEO of Bain Capital was just about the only thing about his biography that he or his campaign wanted to talk about. It was his central claim to fame. As recently as his late April speech upon clinching the GOP nomination, Romney didn't even mention that he had been governor of Massachusetts or head of the 2002 Winter Olympics.

But now that his record is under fire from the Obama campaign and its allies, things have changed:

Romney advisers said they have no interest in litigating the specifics of the GST Steel bankruptcy or any other examples the Obama campaign may highlight. Instead, they are trying to use the president’s attack as an opening for a broader debate over the two candidates’ economic credentials, believing that Romney’s business know-how is his chief qualification for the presidency.

“Every business entrepreneur knows that you have successes and failures, and in Mitt Romney’s case, he’s had many more successes than failures,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to the candidate.

Of course, that misses the point entirely. Nobody in their right mind would argue that Romney was unsuccessful as CEO of Bain Capital—after all, he made tons of money for the company and himself. And that brings us to the real point: Romney's goal was to make money, not to create jobs—and the fact that he was able to make so much money even when destroying jobs raises serious questions about his claim that his Bain experience qualifies him for the presidency.

Nonetheless, Romneyland continues to evade that issue:

In an interview Monday evening, Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to Mr. Romney, shrugged off the attacks, saying they have already been litigated in the court of public opinion.

“We’ve been down this road before,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said. “Attacks on how our free enterprise system works have a way of backfiring.”

Again, this has nothing to do with attacking the free enterprise system. This is about raising questions about Mitt Romney's qualifications for the presidency. And Romney surrogates don't want to talk about that.
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a top Romney endorser and potential running mate, argued at a Bloomberg View event in New York City that the GST Steel attack is unfair because “that’s capitalism.”
Sorry, Sen. Portman, but that's irrelevant. The question here is whether Mitt Romney's "heads I win, tails you lose" business model should be rewarded by giving him the presidency. Yet Romney pals like Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal insist on pretending that Romney's business played by the same rules as every other business:
“President Obama hasn't run anything before he was elected President of the United States,” Jindal said on Fox News’s America’s Newsroom. “Never ran a state, never a business, never ran a lemonade stand.”
Well, first of all, it doesn't matter what President Obama's experience was before he got elected in 2008 ... he's president now, and that puts him way ahead of Mitt Romney. But back to the original point: Mitt Romney's experience at Bain was nothing like most businesses and it certainly wasn't anything like running a lemonade stand. When Mitt Romney invested in companies that failed, he still made money. When he raided pension funds, taxpayers had to pick up the bill. Have you ever heard of lemonade stand making money even though it didn't sell any lemonade?

If Mitt Romney were playing by the same rules as lemonade stands, he would have lost money when his investments failed—but he wasn't playing by the same rules, and he didn't lose money. Mitt Romney was playing a rigged game—that's why he did so well. And Mitt Romney and his campaign don't want to talk about that fact because that's not the kind of experience that Americans think we need in the White House.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Tue May 15, 2012 at 08:47 AM PDT.

Also republished by Mitt Romney Bain Chronicles.

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