Oops: 'King of Bain' Video Lied About Fired Workers

Kate Hicks
Posted: Jan 14, 2012 4:16 PM

Mitt Romney has spent the last week fending off charges that his work at Bain Capital constitutes "vulture capitalism," thanks in large part to "When Mitt Romney Came to Town," a video profiling workers supposedly laid off when Bain bought their companies. But apparently, the filmmakers employed a fair amount of selective editing; several of the workers profiled weren't fired, and were, in fact, promoted.


The film presents the workers as saying that after Bain bought the plant, the company cut costs at the expense of product quality and worker welfare, and that they lost their jobs.

In fact, the company was sold by Bain to Teachers' Private Capital, the private-equity arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, in 2005. It was the Canadian purchaser that oversaw the Florida plant's closure and the shift of its operations to Ripon, Wis., in 2006.

During Bain's ownership, the three employees each received multiple promotions, they said. After the plant closed, Mr. Jones said, he landed a consulting contract with UniMac's parent company, helping to coordinate the move of that plant and another in Florida. He, his wife, Tracy, and Mr. Baxley parlayed that work into Washers-R-Us, a commercial washing-machine sales-and-service business in Marianna.

"I guess I have to apologize to Mitt by voting for him. I certainly won't vote for Gingrich," said Mr. Baxley. He said he had received two promotions and a 30% pay increase while Bain owned the UniMac plant, a unit of Alliance Laundry Systems LLC.

The disingenuous portrayal of these workers' experiences had been cited by both Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich on the campaign trail as they attacked Mitt, and Newt's Super PAC, "Winning Our Future," featured the video on its website. However, upon hearing about the anecdotal manipulation, Newt requested that his Super PAC remove the video:


"I am calling for the Winning Our Future Super PAC supporting me to either edit its 'King of Bain' advertisement and movie to remove its inaccuracies or to pull it off the air and off the Internet entirely," Mr. Gingrich said in a written statement.

Winning Our Future senior adviser Rick Tyler said that after reviewing a partial transcript of the taped interviews, the organization stands by the account presented in the film, but that it is reviewing the full interviews from which the movie was made to be sure the context is correct.

Newt and Perry have come under fire from conservatives for their attacks on Bain, perceived by many as an attack on capitalism itself. These latest allegations certainly don't help, and could prove fatal in a state like South Carolina, a right-to-work state where fiscal conservatism will go a long way.