Steve Rattner, a former adviser to President Barack Obama, called an anti-Mitt Romney ad released by the Obama campaign Monday morning unfair for painting the presumed Republican nominee as a greedy business mogul who destroys jobs.
In an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Rattner said the former Massachusetts governor made a mistake by talking about how many jobs he created, but thought it was inappropriate for the Obama campaign to single out for political purposes any people who lost their job under Romney's tenure as CEO of Bain Capital .
His responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number. It was to make profits for his investors. Most of them were investment funds and pensions and foundations, and it did it superbly well, acting within the rules and did it very responsibly, and was a leading firm, Rattner said. To pick out an example of someone who lost their job unfortunately it is part of capitalism, it is part of life. I don't think there is anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.
The ad by the Obama campaign features several steelworkers who lost their jobs after years in the business, after Bain Capital closed Kansas City's GST Steel and the company filed for bankruptcy in 2002 after the firm took over in the 1990s.
He was like a vampire, said Jack Cobb, who is identified as a steelworker in the business for 31 years. He came in and sucked the life out of you.
They made as much money off of it as they could, says former GST steelworker Joe Soptic, and they closed it down, they filed for bankruptcy without any concern for the families or the communities ... It was like watching an old friend bleed to death.
In a conference call with reporters Monday morning, Soptic added that Bain broke its promises by taking away his health care after he was laid off. Although he got a job as a janitor, he was unable to afford insurance for his wife, who later died of lung cancer.
When cancer took her, I just got a huge bill, Soptic said.
The commercial is part of a push by the Obama campaign to attack Romney's business background and was coordinated with the launch of RomneyEconomics.com, a website that claims Romney doesn't know what's best for American workers because he put profits over middle-class families.
Rattner led the Obama administration's efforts to save the auto industry, but stepped down in 2009 after being implicated in a New York State pension fund scandal that forced him to pay millions in penalties. He now works at Willett Advisors in New York.
UPDATE: In a conference all with reporters, the Obama campaign stressed that they were not attacking Romney's success nor the right to run a company. This is not about private equity or how Romney ran his company, Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter said. It's about whether his business experience uniquely qualified him to be experience to be president.
A president like that would be a disaster to the middle class, she said.