During a campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire this morning, Mitt Romney told the crowd, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” The remark came as the Romney discussed purchasing health care services at a Nashua Chamber of Commerce event:
ROMNEY: I want people to be able to own insurance if they wish to, and to buy it for themselves and perhaps keep it for the rest of their life and to choose among different policies offered from companies across the nation. I want individuals to have their own insurance. That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep people healthy. It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them. I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I’m going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me.
Still, given that his business history includes extensive layoffs, the remark will likely cause headaches for the former Massachusetts governor. Before entering politics, Romney founded Bain Capital, a private equity firm that made billions by, as the Los Angeles Times writes, “firing workers, seeking government subsidies, and flipping companies quickly for large profits.”
Romney’s Republican opponents have hammered him on the issue for weeks; just yesterday, Gingrich alluded to Romney’s tenure at Bain while criticizing “rich people figuring out clever, legal ways to loot out a company.” Bain bankrupted nearly one-fourth of the companies it invested in, “sometimes with substantial job losses,” according to a Wall Street Journal report released today.