News / USA

Bain Capital Becomes an Issue in US Presidential Campaign

Republican presidential candidate Romney speaks in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, May 18, 2012.Republican presidential candidate Romney speaks in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, May 18, 2012.
x
Republican presidential candidate Romney speaks in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, May 18, 2012.
Republican presidential candidate Romney speaks in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, May 18, 2012.
Ken Bredemeier
Private corporations seldom assume a prominent role in U.S. presidential election campaigns.  But analysts say that could be the case this year as attention is focused on Bain Capital, an investment company headquartered in the northeastern city of Boston. 

It was founded by the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and his profits from operating the company have made him a very wealthy man.  And ahead of the November election, his Democratic opponent, incumbent President Barack Obama, is questioning Romney's role in the company when he was at Bain. 

Bain Capital is a private equity firm.  At such investment companies, wealthy individuals and financial institutions pool their capital to buy corporations and then try to increase their profitability before selling them, typically at a considerable profit.  Bain is one of the most prominent venture capital companies in the United States.  And the firm says its partners manage about $60 billion in assets in 65 companies.

The company says its mission is "produce superior investment returns for our investors."  This week, Bain, along with several other U.S. private equity firms, sold the second-largest movie theater chain in America - AMC Entertainment Holdings - to a Chinese conglomerate for $2.6 billion.

Bain was started by Mitt Romney and others in 1984, and he headed the company until he left it in 1999.  He says the companies Bain bought and nurtured during his tenure created some 100,000 jobs.  Now, Romney says his experience at Bain, more than his tenure as governor of the northeastern state of Massachusetts, gives him the background and skills needed to boost America's sluggish economy.

At a recent campaign rally, Romney told voters that President Obama has failed in trying to resurrect the U.S. economy from its worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

"This is the longest recovery from a recession in American history," said Romney. "And people are suffering because of the policies of this administration."

Romney said that if he is elected, he will transform the deficit-ridden U.S. government. "With my vision, we're going to finally have a balanced budget in this country," he said. "I'll get us on track and finally stop spending more than we take in."

Mr. Obama and his campaign have a sharply different view of Romney's tenure at Bain.  They are airing commercials in politically key states, outlining how some of Bain's investments went sour - costing thousands of workers their jobs, even as Bain turned massive profits on its investments.

Although the president this week described private equity as a "healthy part of the free market," he emphasized its downside.

"I will say today, I think there are folks who do good work in that area and there are times where they identify the capacity for the economy to create new jobs or new industries, but understand that their priority is to maximize profits and that's not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers," said President Obama.

Mr. Obama dismissed Romney's contention that his years at Bain made him qualified to fix the American economy.

"And so if your main argument for how to grow the economy is, 'I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,' then you're missing what this job [being president of the United States] is about," said Obama. "It doesn't, it doesn't mean you weren't good at private equity, but that's not what my job is as president.  My job is to take into account everybody, not just some.  My job is to make sure that the country is growing not just now, but 10 years from now and 20 years from now."

Many U.S. voters might not have heard of Bain Capital or maybe know little about the company's operations during the time Mitt Romney headed the company.  But with less than six months until Election Day, analysts say it is almost certain that Bain will play a major role in this year's presidential campaign.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs