Romney’s NEW OP-ED: What I Learned at Bain Capital

Mitt Romney at Bain

Romney Economics! Investing in Companies and Creating Jobs.

The original may be found on yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page.

The back-to-school season is here, and as parents take their children to shop for school supplies, I suspect that many of them will be visiting a Staples store. I’m very familiar with those stores because Staples is one of many businesses we helped create and expand at Bain Capital, a firm that my colleagues and I built. The firm succeeded by growing and fixing companies.

The lessons I learned over my 15 years at Bain Capital were valuable in helping me turn around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. They also helped me as governor of Massachusetts to turn a budget deficit into a surplus and reduce our unemployment rate to 4.7%. The lessons from that time would help me as president to fix our economy, create jobs and get things done in Washington.

A broad message emerges from my Bain Capital days: A good idea is not enough for a business to succeed. It requires a talented team, a good business plan and capital to execute it. That was true of companies we helped start, like Staples and the Bright Horizons child-care provider, and several of the struggling companies we helped turn around, like the Brookstone retailer and the contact-lens maker Wesley Jessen.

My presidency would make it easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses to get the investment dollars they need to grow, by reducing and simplifying taxes; replacing Obamacare with real health-care reform that contains costs and improves care; and by stemming the flood of new regulations that are tying small businesses in knots.

My business experience confirmed my belief in empowering people. For example, at Bain Capital we bought Accuride, a company that made truck rims and wheels, because we saw untapped potential there. We instituted performance bonuses for the management team, which had a dramatic impact. The managers made the plants more productive, and the company started growing, adding 300 jobs while Bain was involved. My faith in people, not government, is at the foundation of my plan to strengthen America’s middle class.

I also saw firsthand through these investments how energy costs impact the ability of a business to grow. Today, energy costs are weighing on job creators across America because President Obama has limited energy exploration and restricted development in ways that sap economic performance, curtail growth, and kill jobs. I will take a sensible approach to tapping our energy resources, which will both create jobs and make energy more affordable for every sector of our economy.

In the 1990s, when the “old-technology” steel industry in the U.S. was failing, Bain Capital helped build a new steel company, Steel Dynamics, which has grown into one of the largest steel producers in America today, holding its own against Chinese producers. The key to its success? State-of-the-art new technology.

Here are two lessons from the Steel Dynamics story: First, innovation is essential to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. We are the most innovative, entrepreneurial nation in the world. To maintain that lead, we must give people the skills to succeed. My plan for a stronger middle class includes policies to give every family access to great schools and quality teachers, to improve access to higher education, and to attract and retain the best talent from around the world.

The second lesson is that we must have a level playing field in international trade. As president, I will challenge unfair trade practices that are harming American workers.

Running a business also brings lessons in tackling challenges. I was on the board of a medical diagnostic-laboratory company, Damon, when a competitor announced that it had settled with the government over a charge of fraudulent Medicare billing. I and fellow Damon outside board members joined together and immediately hired an independent law firm to examine Damon’s own practices.

The investigation revealed a need to make some changes, which we did. The company, along with several other clinical-laboratory companies, ended up being fined for billing practices. And a Damon manager who was responsible for the fraud went to jail. The experience taught me that when you see a problem, run toward it or it will only get worse.

That will be my approach to our federal budget problem. I am committed to capping federal spending below 20% of GDP and reducing nondefense discretionary spending by 5%. This will surely result in much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Washington. But a failure of leadership has created our debt crisis, and ducking responsibility will only cripple the economy and smother opportunity for our children and grandchildren.

I’m not sure Bain Capital could have grown or turned around some of the companies we invested in had we faced today’s anti-business environment. Andy Puzder, the chief executive of CKE Restaurants Inc., which employs about 21,000 people at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, has said that the “current unfriendly economic environment perhaps best explains why American companies are sitting on over $2 trillion which they could invest.”

President Obama has piled on excessive regulations, proposed massive tax increases, added more than $5 trillion in federal debt, and failed to address the coming fiscal cliff—all of which is miring our nation in sluggish growth and high unemployment.

I know what it takes to turn around difficult situations. And I will put that experience to work, to get our economy back on track, create jobs, strengthen the middle class and lay the groundwork for America’s increased competitiveness in the world.

A few comments from Paul Johnson, if you’ll indulge, about why what Mitt says is so important:

1. Mitt’s succeeded before. We have some serious problems, but Mitt has displayed an unusual ability to solve difficult issues. From his tenure at Bain, to establishing and turning around other companies, to turning around the Olympics, Mitt Romney knows success and how to replicate it. Click here to continue reading

Attacks on Romney's Business Career Not Sticking, Obama [Thinking We're Stupid] Turns Focus To Romney's Service as Gov and Olympics CEO

The heartless “corporate raider” label that the Obama campaign and the DNC are trying to pin on Romney just isn’t sticking.

Adding to recent Bain Capital praise from top Obama surrogates Bill Clinton, Cory Booker and Deval Patrick, comes a testimonial today from Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle. In an interview with The Daily Caller, Doyle says Bain Capital “helped shape Domino’s over the course of the past decade — helped make us as successful as we are.” There are hundreds of companies out there that could say the same thing; unfortunately, they don’t have as big of a podium as Obama or, frankly, the time to fight back at the Obama smears (they are trying to run businesses, after all).

The talk about Bain Capital starts at 3:30:

How long will Obama’s people keep treating American voters like idiots? If Bain Capital were as evil as they portray it, why are so many prominent business owners — and Obama’s own supporters! — coming out in support of it? Why is it widely known as one of the most successful investment firms in the world?

Just when you think the Obama folks might be getting a clue, they shift their focus from Romney’s business career to his time as governor of MA (HINT: you won’t find any dirt there, either). I heard there are also plans in the works to later focus the mudslinging at Mitt’s time as Olympics CEO — you remember, right? … The time when Mitt refused a salary and worked tirelessly for 3 years to instill confidence after scandal, secure funding, recruit a huge volunteer force, implement an impressive security detail, and essentially SAVE THE OLYMPIC GAMES from collapse? Good luck.

It’s got to be frustrating being an Obama strategist. A guy as solid as Mitt leaves them nothing to work with. I’m convinced that their final argument, after they come to terms with who they are up against, will be that Mitt is overqualified to be president! Wait and see.

Follow @LukeGundy on Twitter…

Two Fmr Secty’s of State, Condoleeza Rice & George Shultz, Endorse Romney

At a fundraiser in California last night, Condoleeza Rice, former Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, and George Shultz, former Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan, officially backed Governor Mitt Romney’s bid for the White House:

A few comments from Rice:

“It’s a delight to see so many friends…I’ve now been out of Washington for over three years…how much fun it is when you know you could be in Washington, but you’re here. My life has changed a lot. Now, I get up in the morning and I read the newspaper and I say…isn’t that interesting? “Because I’m no longer responsible for what’s in it.”

“We care about the future of this country, and the future of our world,’’ she said, and I’m “delighted to join so many friends here in supporting, and in my case, endorsing, Gov. Mitt Romney for President of the United States.”

“Today, more than ever, we need U.S. leadership to affirm that the future belongs to free markets and free peoples.”

“To regain that leadership, we’ve got to first and foremost defend the country,’’ she said. After 911, the country was safe because “it was not because the terrorists weren’t trying, it was because of the vigilance…because men and women volunteer to defend us at the front lines of freedom, and we owe them our eternal gratitude.”

More Rice: “We have to defend the country, not just from strength and power, but from a sense of values of who we are,’’ she said. “Friends, who just want to know, that when the chips are down, we are going to be there for them….and that indeed we know the difference between friend and foe.”

More Rice: “The President of the United States has to understand that the American people have a view…and that our leadership can not be (reduced to) “the lowest common denominator postions.”

“The only thing the American people dislike more” than weak leadership, she said, “is no leadership at all.”

“America’s leadership “is craved in the world, and Gov. Romney, you can bring it back,’’ she said to applause. . . .

A few comments from Shultz:

George Shultz and President Ronald Reagan

George Shultz, secretary of state under Ronald Reagan, also endorsed the presumptive nominee at the fundraiser. In his speech, he defended Romney’s record as an executive at Bain Capital LLC, a Boston-based private equity firm.

“What he has done at Bain Capital has been a major contribution to the American economy,” said Shultz, who also served in the cabinet of Richard Nixon with Romney’s father, George.

Venture capital firms “help make our economy more competitive; they learn how to keep costs under control; they are the kind of people who help figure out where to put investments,” Shultz said.

“He has learned and instinctively can feel what it takes to get this huge amount of money that is sitting on the sidelines of our economy to move forward and invest,” he said.

These two endorsements – from two of America’s most powerful and respected arbiters of foreign policy – are very significant pluses for Governor Romney.

VIDEO: Obama's Attacks on Mitt Romney & Free Enterprise are Repudiated by His Own Allies

President Obama’s attacks on free enterprise have triggered a backlash among many—even among those in his own party. In just the past few days, everyone from former advisors to his own surrogates have criticized the Obama campaign’s attack on free enterprise. With no record to run on, it is no surprise that the Obama campaign has resorted to misleading attacks that have been disavowed by its own supporters.

The Big Bain Backfire

Mitt Romney says Meg Whitman will Bring ‘Bright Future’ to California

Mitt & Meg

Mitt & Meg

SAN DIEGO – If anyone recognizes the talents and skills needed to turn around a state in crisis, it’s Mitt Romney.

The former Massachusetts governor believes Meg Whitman is the only leader who “has the ability to get California working again.”

He sees in her similar leadership and problem solving qualities that he relied on to address the Massachusetts economic downturn earlier this decade, taking on entrenched interests and erasing a large deficit.

And he knows firsthand that Meg is well prepared for the job in California. He worked with Meg for nearly a decade in the private sector.

As Meg’s mentor at the private consulting firm Bain & Company, Romney recalled that Meg helped clients – which included global corporations – strategize and manage their complex businesses. She never shied away from the tough jobs and always delivered results.

“What I found was Meg had the ability to take on very difficult assignments, to cut through all the baloney and to focus on exactly the issues that really would make a difference and would help a particular enterprise find success,” Romney said.

Romney has been a valuable confidant and visible supporter of Meg’s since she first hit the campaign trail in February. He’s attended events, helped with fundraising, emailed his supporters and met with key grassroots and elected leaders – all on behalf of Meg.

At events, he cites her proven track record of growing businesses and inspiring employees, and he believes Meg is running for the state’s top job because she has a natural desire to make things better.

Her business career serves as the perfect background for a prospective governor, he often tells crowds.

At Bain, she often was on the hot seat, demonstrating strong leadership and focus to guide the future of troubled enterprises. Those attributes, Romney added, are exactly what California needs in its next governor.

“She had to make the right decisions because wrong decisions meant bankruptcy, loss of jobs and a dramatic departure from the objectives and goals the company had.”

At a friendly breakfast meeting in Palo Alto, Romney confided in his longtime friend his plans to run for president in the 2008 election and asked her to join his campaign. Before long, she was a national co-chair and traveling across the country on his behalf.

At an event in San Diego last week, Romney told a gathering of GOP faithful that is he is very concerned about what’s happening today in California. He believes Meg is the one to put the state back on the right path. Romney has good reason to care about California – he has children and grandchildren who call California home and he spends a lot of time here.

“She has the skills to lead, she’s intelligent, she’s extraordinarily hard-working and she’s in this for the right reasons,” he said. “She’s in this race to get California in a position where it can once again create jobs for its citizens, balance the checkbook and allow the people of California to have a bright and prosperous future.”

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