In a Tuesday afternoon conference call organized by Barack Obama's presidential campaign, employees of two companies formerly owned by Bain Capital blasted Mitt Romney for taking over their plants and laying off workers as the private equity firm continued to profit.
Former Ampad worker Randy Johnson told of Bain Capital's closing of his paper factory in July 1994. Under Bain ownership, Ampad amassed a massive debt before declaring bankruptcy in 2000.
"To them, Ampad was a resounding success," Johnson said. "If [Romney] took those values and lessons to the White House, it would be a resounding failure."
"Romney devastated my family and our entire community," he said of the founder of Bain Capital.
And David Foster, a member of United Steelworkers union and a former lead negotiator for Bain-owned GST Steel, discussed the well-publicized saga of his Kansas City steel plant's bankruptcy.
"[Romney] claims to be a businessman, but those aren't the values of most American businessmen," Foster said. "The very business model he advocated for and believes in was precisely the one that destroyed GST Steel and destroyed jobs that I worked so hard to try to save. There's an enormous duplicity in that."
Obama's national press secretary, Ben LaBolt, stressed on the conference call that Romney's refusal to come clean about his record at Bain is a central part of the presidential campaign -- especially because the former Massachusetts governor has campaigned on his experience as a "job creator."
"When you're the president, the chairman and CEO of the company, you don't get to blame somebody else for anything that looks bad," LaBolt said.
"And he doesn't understand if you're president of the United States, the buck stops with you -- not with someone else," he added. "But if Romney thinks he's qualified to be president based on his business record, he needs to accept responsibility for workers whose jobs, pensions and benefits were eliminated."
But while Foster said he would enthusiastically support Obama's reelection, another ex-GST worker, who previously had been featured in a pro-Obama super PAC ad, said he doesn't plan to vote for Romney or Obama, according to a report by In These Times' Mike Elk.
"I could really care less about Obama," Donnie Box told In These Times. "He hasn't done a goddamn thing that he said he would do. When he had a Democratic Senate and Democratic Congress, he didn't do a damn thing. He doesn't have the guts to say what’s on his mind."
Box's comments may be indicative of a hurdle for the Obama campaign as it seeks to bolster its job creation credentials.
While polls show the attacks on Bain Capital are having an impact, two other recent polls have indicated that Obama's support among white working-class voters is at a historic low. Both polls released last week show Obama's approval rating below 30 percent among white males without a college degree.
The president earned 39 percent of the vote from that group in 2008, according to the National Journal.
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