Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney answers a question during a Republican… (Elise Amendola / Associated…)
Taking a page from the playbook of President Obama and his allies on the left as the GOP presidential contenders debated Saturday night, rivals of Mitt Romney called into question the former governor's record as CEO of a venture capital firm.
Asked to respond to an anti-Romney ad campaign that will be waged by a "super PAC" backing his candidacy, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich shied away from directly endorsing the ads – which scrutinize Romney's record at Bain Capital – but delivered a pointed jab at the Bain business model.
“I'm not nearly enamored of a Wall Steet model where you can flip companies, you can go in and have leveraged buyouts, you can basically take out all the money, leaving behind workers,” Gingrich said.
Pressed to explain a comment he made last month that Romney earned his fortune by “bankrupting companies and laying off workers,” Gingrich punted, referring instead to an article he erroneously attributed to the New York Times that detailed the history of one company that was taken over by Bain.
“Well, I”m not surprised to have the New York Times try to put free enterprise under trial,” Romney said. “I'm not surprised to have the Obama administration do that either. It's a little surprising from my colleagues on this stage.”
Romney again repeated his claim that Bain created 100,000 jobs under his leadership. His math has been questioned in recent news reports – like this one from the Washington Post, which says the 100,000 figure “obviously does not include job losses from other companies with which Bain Capital was involved — and are based on current employment figures, not the period when Romney worked at Bain.”
Romney defended the figure: “I'm a good enough numbers guy to make sure I've got both sides of that.”