Mitt Romney’s former Bain Capital colleague, Edward Conard, gave an impassioned defense of Bain’s record in the face of Democratic criticisms.
Conard called President Barack Obama’s attacks on Bain’s record “critiques of business generally.”
“They are attacks on business that try to pit employees against employers,” he told The Daily Caller in an interview promoting his new book, “Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy is Wrong.”
“And they want to pretend that private equity is doing something different than business. But the truth is private equity and business are doing the same thing. We’re working hard to make companies stronger and to grow them faster.”
WATCH: Obama campaign ad attacking Romney’s business experience
“Yes, there’s failures along the way,” Conard continued.
“Bain invested in 350 companies. A small minority of those companies didn’t work — they failed. By failed, they weren’t successful. The vast majority of those, or all the majority, if you put all those together, grew 2.5 times faster than the S&P 500. I mean, that’s what made Bain successful — not the examples you see in the commercials.”
Conard then turned to the specific examples of companies that Obama suggests Bain invested in, levered with debt, profited from and then let go bankrupt. (VIDEO: Former Romney colleague says CEOs also suffered in ’08 collapse)
“Now are there some cases where Bain took dividends and then companies later failed?” he asked rhetorically.
“I’ll say this: There are times when we improved companies, and we could have put the company up for sale and another private equity firm would have borrowed money and bought it. We thought there were still opportunities for us to make improvements, so we did that ourselves and, in effect, bought it from ourselves. So as if we were now … a private equity buyer, we would buy it from ourselves — using debt, we would pay ourselves a dividend.”
“In a very small handful of circumstances, all of which are cherry-picked in the advertisements, we would run into trouble and then lose our money,” he continued.
“Would we have been way better off if we had sold it at the time instead of doing what we did, which was, in effect, buy it from ourselves? We would have been way better off. But these are rare, unusual circumstances. We were rarely taking dividends and doing things like that. Really, we had our sleeves rolled up working hard to make companies successful and we were very, very capable of doing that.”
In the interview, Conard, who is a major financial supporter of Romney’s presidential campaign, also discussed Mitt Romney’s ideology, Donald Trump and Occupy Wall Street, and even challenged liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman to a debate.
Also check out Part 1 of the interview where Conard discusses his provocative new book.
Videography by Sean Rainey and Sarah Hoffman.