Mitt Romney is probably just days away from being named John McCain’s running mate, and the Democrats are already taking shots based on his time running Bain Capital. During a press conference earlier today in Denver, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe referred to the former buyout kingpin as a “job killing machine in business” who “has been proficient at using tax havens in places like the Cayman Islands that Americans have become increasingly tired of.”
It’s certainly true that Bain laid off portfolio company employees during Romney’s tenure. It’s also certainly true that Bain hired portfolio company employees during Romney’s tenue (particularly at the earlier-stage companies).
So Plouffe was only telling a half-truth, although it’s one we should expect to hear over and over again. This will be particularly true if Romney’s people keep avoiding any actual discussion of Bain Capital, as his spokesman did in response to Plouffe’s comments.
As I’ve written before, I’m thrilled by the prospect of Romney as a vice presidential candidate. Not because of my political biases, but because it gives me something to write about for the next few months. But his former private equity colleagues should be very nervous about what his candidacy would mean for their own reputations and future regulation. The industry was dragged through the mud most of last year, and has largely been forgotten ever since (except in Michigan, thanks to Cerberus/Chrysler). A McCain-Romney ticket will bring it all back with a vengeance.
As an aside, Obama’s VP pick also has some financial market baggage. Check out this Law Blog post on his provincial protection of Delaware bankruptcy lawyers. Or this one on his family’s hedge fund headaches.