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U.S. Chamber Chief: Attacking Romney on Bain Is ‘Foolish’ U.S. Chamber Chief: Attacking Romney on Bain Is ‘Foolish’

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Campaign 2012

U.S. Chamber Chief: Attacking Romney on Bain Is ‘Foolish’

Business lobbyist says GOP infighting is disappointing.


Tom Donohue, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, speaks at a the State of American Business Address and Press Conference at the Chamber on Thursday.(Chet Susslin)

Tom Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said on Thursday that recent Republican attacks on GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney’s business record were “foolish” and that Romney has a “pretty good track record” as a businessman.

In recent days, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has said that Romney’s record as head of the private-equity firm Bain Capital was that of a “vulture capitalist.” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich launched a similar assault as an outside group backing him released a documentary-style film featuring workers laid off after Romney’s firm intervened in their businesses.

“I was very disappointed by the intramural carrying on within the Republican Party,” Donohue said.

Under Romney’s leadership, Bain would take over other businesses, remake them and then seek to sell them for a profit. Those makeovers sometimes included layoffs.

Donohue said that Romney’s record was not spotless – “perfect, hell no” – but that in business, “if you don’t take a risk, you can’t have a success.”

He predicted the Bain line of attack against Romney would soon subside. “I think you’re going to see it quiet down,” he said.

Donohue was careful to note that the chamber won't play a formal role in the presidential race: "We don't do presidential elections."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report misspelled the surname of U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue.

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