Chamber president ‘disappointed’ in attacks on Romney for his time at Bain

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue expressed disappointment with the attacks on Mitt Romney by other Republican presidential candidates for his time at Bain Capital.

“I was very disappointed with the intramural carrying on within the Republican party attacking one of the candidates, Romney, who has an extraordinary business experience that in anybody’s look at private equity would have to say he formed a great firm, and he had a pretty good track record,” said Donohue at a press conference after the Chamber’s Annual State of Business Address. “Nobody in that track record has 100 percent, because in the private equity business, it’s all about risk, people risk their money. But this economy is about money, so if you don’t take a risk you can’t have a success.”

Romney drew significant fire from the other candidates over the past couple of days for his time at Bain Capital, with other candidates calling him a “vulture capitalist” and criticizing him as someone who actually ended more jobs than he created.

A Super PAC supporting former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich released a documentary attacking Romney on his time there and calling him a job killer.

Additionally, the Democratic National Committee — in addition to several of the other Republican candidates — has seized on a comment Romney made that he “likes being able to fire people.” The comment was made in reference to choosing insurance companies, but has been taken out of context and used against him.

Donohue called it “foolish for the Republicans to carry on that line of attack because they’re not doing anything other than setting up the ad base for the opponents.”

In his State of Business Address before the press conference, Donohue had offered a spirited defense of the free enterprise system for which Romney is being criticized for taking part in. “It’s not a perfect system,” he said, “but no one has ever found a better one.”

The Chamber does not involve itself in presidential politics, but Donohue had kind words for Romney.

“We think Romney’s had a pretty good track record. Perfect? Hell no. But damn good,” Donohue said, adding later that he “at least has experience beyond most of the candidates and throughout parties in terms of having operated successfully in the global market place and in the free enterprise system, and we wish that that would be what people focus on.”

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