Mitt Romney chalked up job losses that resulted from Bain Capital’s investment in American Pad & Paper to “free enterprise with all of its different dimensions and players” during tonight’s Fox News GOP presidential debate. Romney’s firm Bain Capital purchased the paper company for $5 million and encouraged it to take out loans and expand. Unable to pay back the debt, the company later filed for bankruptcy and several hundred people lost their jobs. Bain Capital still profited from the deal.
Asked if the job loss showed “a flaw in the Bain Capital model,” Romney said that it was merely a result of America’s “free enterprise” system:
ROMNEY: Do I believe that free enterprise works? And that private equity and the various features of our economy work to actually improve our economy, to make America more productive with higher incomes and a brighter future? Absolutely…Free enterprise, with all of its dimensions and players, makes America the strongest economic nation in the world…Every time we invested, we tried to grow an enterprise, to add jobs, to make it more successful.
As Michael Kranish and Scott Helman write in The Real Romney, Bain Capital did not prioritize job creation in selecting investment opportunities. Instead, “It’s the opposite, what jobs we can cut,” Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals said, “because you had to document how you were going to create value.”