Former Ampad Worker: Mitt Romney is Not a “Vulture Capitalist”

Daniel Doherty

7/9/2012 12:28:00 PM - Daniel Doherty

I’m sure the politically sentient are well aware that President Obama and his surrogates have gone to great lengths to distort Mitt Romney’s business career and misrepresent his record as a job creator at Bain Capital. Indeed, given the never-ending string of dismal jobs reports over the last two years, this is not wholly unexpected. However, it’s also worth noting that another worker who was once affiliated with Bain Capital during the mid-2000s – this time with the company American Pad & Paper (Ampad) – decided to criticize the Obama machine’s ruthless and deceptive campaign tactics on Monday by penning a scathing op-ed in the Boston Herald:

One such example, American Pad & Paper (Ampad), surfaced early in the GOP primary in the very first televised debate on a major cable news network. A debate panelist questioned Romney about Ampad, supported by an onscreen graphic of talking points about job losses and adverse impacts that occurred. I was astonished in two ways: 1) The inaccuracies in the data points cited, and 2) Romney’s relative inability to correct them in his response. This is understandable because Romney wasn’t working with Bain or Ampad when these events happened. I was.

For the record, I was the public relations consultant responsible for the content, planning and execution of communications related to the January 2005 reorganization of Ampad and the closing of its flagship manufacturing facility in Holyoke. I was there. Romney had left Bain more than five years earlier. He had no role, responsibility or input in the events that occurred. Yet these events continue to be cited by the Obama camp, with either the complicity of, or disinterest in accuracy by, many news outlets. Such lack of precision in the reporting of other Bain examples pervades.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, then a GOP primary rival, went so far as to call Romney and Bain “vulture capitalists.” Both the facts and the record show nothing could be further from the truth.

In the Ampad example, employees were given months of notice before the closing, job transfer offers, severance pay, free outplacement assistance services and other benefits.

Successful business people do not buy or create businesses to fail and Ampad — on the brink of bankruptcy when Bain bought it in 1992 — operated, provided jobs and positive economic impact for an additional 13 years on Bain’s watch.

If anything, now that the Republican presidential primary is essentially over, every citizen should be wary of the inaccuracies and manufactured lies emanating from the White House. Facts, not surprisingly, have no use for this incumbent president, especially when the national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, real unemployment is closer to 15 percent, and private sector job growth remains stagnant. (Incidentally, The One no doubt faces an uphill battle this fall explaining to the American public why, after three and half years in office, the economy isn’t even creating enough jobs to keep up with population growth). President Obama, in other words, must run a deeply divisive campaign and malign his Republican challenger at every possible opportunity. This is the easiest – and perhaps the only – way he can win reelection.

On the other hand, it’s rather telling how low, so to speak, President Obama and his supporters will go to discredit Governor Mitt Romney when he had -- in the words of William Jefferson Clinton -- a “sterling” business career. From the Herald:

Any reasonable assessment of Bain Capital’s record, both during and after Romney’s tenure, reveals that nearly 80 percent of its ventures were successful, sustained or created jobs, and did so in a lawful and honorable way. But in the world of presidential politics, facts are oftentimes as much a victim as are we voters who must endure the demagoguery, zealotry and vitriol pervasive in today’s polarized environment.

I’m of the firm opinion we must expose these endless lies and distortions whenever possible. (After all, the Obama campaign’s negative attacks ads are not only infuriating, they’re working). In short, we cannot – no, we must not -- let him get away it. There’s simply too much at stake.