GREENVILLE, S.C. – Hoping to mitigate the fallout from a sustained attack on his record as a venture capitalist, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney went on the offensive in South Carolina on Thursday with a detailed description of the jobs he says he helped create while running Bain Capital.
“There are a number of businesses that we helped start, which collectively you can just look on their websites, they added well over 100,000 jobs. Staples, Bright Horizons Children’s Centers, Sports Authority, Steel Dynamics,” Romney said at a press conference here. “Those four alone added well over 100,000 jobs.”
“The reality is, in the private sector, that there are some businesses that are growing and thriving, and we were fortunate enough to be able to be a part of that in a small way,” he said. “And there are some businesses that have to be cut back in order to survive, and try and make them stronger. And sometimes we’re successful at that, and sometimes we’re not.”
Romney emphasized that, at times, job losses were a result of trying to make companies sustainable in the long term, as opposed to providing quick fixes. “I think any time a job is lost, it’s a tragedy. For the family, for the individual that loses a job, it’s just devastating. And every time that we invested in a business, it was to try and encourage that business to have ongoing life.… And when we invested we tried to make businesses more successful for the long time, and hopefully over time, generate a return to the shareholders and see more employment.”
Some of Romney’s rivals for the nomination have accused him of tossing people out of their jobs and sucking profits out of companies that were acquired and reorganized by Bain. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has dubbed Romney a “vulture capitalist,” and a super PAC backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has threatened to start running ads slamming Romney for his work at Bain.
Asked whether Romney should be taking credit for creating 100,000 jobs, advisor Eric Fehrnstrom said earlier this week, “Of course not, of course not. The credit goes to the entrepreneurs and the innovators that were running that business, the management teams that were put in place. But it’s certainly fair to say that he helped create those jobs. I notice that when layoffs occur, people don’t say that he helped create the layoffs, they say he laid them off. So what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”