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Is Private Equity Trying to Give Romney a Boost in Michigan? Is Private Equity Trying to Give Romney a Boost in Michigan?

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Is Private Equity Trying to Give Romney a Boost in Michigan?

The Private Equity Growth Capital Council has a new video up today crowing about the good done by Blackstone's $850 million investment in the Detroit Medical Center. With Mitt Romney running neck-and-neck with Rick Santorum ahead of Tuesday's Michigan primary, I wondered: is the industry trying to boost homeboy Romney by demonstrating how much good his former industry did for the state's largest city?

I put the question to PEGCC spokesman Ken Spain who responded with a resounding no. 

"This campaign is not about a single candidate nor a political party, it is solely aimed at delivering our message about how private equity drives economic growth by investing hundreds of billions of dollars and strengthening businesses across the country," he said. "In doing so, we plan to inform and educate an audience of opinion leaders and policy makers, while setting the record straight in advance of the political mischaracterizations and attacks on the industry that will likely come."

Indeed, the video was part of a multi-million dollar campaign the group launched this month in the wake of attacks on Romney's time as head of the private-equity firm Bain Capital. The video's target audience is media and decision makers in presidential key states whose eyeballs are being solicited by micro-targeted online advertising. And, with national attention focused on Michigan, it was a natural fit.

The video highlighted the $850 million capital investment Blackstone-backed Vanguard Health Systems committed when it acquired the Detroit Medical Center in 2010 -- a sum that will fund 15 construction projects that create about 5,000 construction jobs.

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