Asked if he regrets Bain, Romney cites bankruptcies, but reporters should ask if he has other regrets

I listened again to Tuesday’s interview with Mitt Romney on KOA radio, and I thought co-host April Zesbaugh asked Romney a good question, but Romney’s answer was shallow and deserves scrutiny by reporters at the national level.

Zesbaugh asked Romney if he had any regrets about his work at Bain Capital.

Romney replied that he regretted “all the things that didn’t work out,” and the “decisions that weren’t right.”

Then Romney went on to say that he’d just seen a letter from Bain stating that in 80 percent of cases in which the firm made investments, over 28 years, “the businesses grew.”

“Well, that’s pretty good,” Romney said.

But in five percent of the cases, he continued, businesses went bankrupt.

“Well, that’s not so good,” Romney said chuckling.

“You’d like not to ever have that happen,” he said.

Does Romney have any regrets about how Bain treated the 80 percent that did not go bankrupt?

Does Romney regret how the workers and others associated with those companies were treated, even if they did not go belly up in the end?

I’m guessing any decent person would look back at some of the business tactics that were used by outfits like Bain and have some regrets, but maybe I’m wrong.

I mean, I’m just a blogger, and bloggers aren’t known for their ability to judge business ethics, which doesn’t stop them from doing it, of course.

In any case, it’s a question that reporters should put to Romney. Does he only regret the businesses that went bankrupt? What other aspects of the Bain business model, if any, does he regret?

Co-host Zesbaugh: Well, let’s switch gears and talk about the economy. It’s only May and we can’t stop hearing about your time at Bain Capital. I’d like to know what you learned that can help you turn the economy around, at Bain. And what you may regret, if anything, from your time there.

Romney: Well, I can tell you that if you’ve never spent a day in business, you don’t understand how government makes business have a difficult time. Whether it’s a small business or a big business, government can get in your way. I spoke with a banker today that is in northwest Colorado. He said that he spends about sixty percent of his time trying to deal with regulators and government intruders as opposed to working with customers and making loans. So, I understand the impact of regulations. Some regulation is helpful. Some is not. I understand which is which. I understand the impact of Obamacare on small businesses, and why it is that small businesses are not looking to hire people right now, in part because of the peril of Obamacare and the extraordinary increase in health insurance costs that folks are seeing. I understand also, when the president puts in place a series of folks in the National Labor Relations Board who want to force unions on businesses where the employees don’t want them – I understand what that will do to jobs in this country. You see, having started a business and having run a business, I understand how policy in Washington affects whether or not businesses grow in America or decide to either not invest at all or go elsewhere to invest. And so I want to use my experience to make America the most attractive place in the world for small business and other businesses, so we have jobs growing again and rising incomes again. It’s what we deserve.

Zesbaugh: Any regrets?

Romney: Oh, I’m…. all the things that didn’t work out. All the… There’s no question but that the benefit of hindsight is such that if you could go back and erase the decisions that weren’t right, that ended up not working out, you’d want to do that. I just saw a letter from the folks at my old firm Bain Capital, now twenty-eight years of business existence. They put out a statement that said in eighty percent of the cases where they made investments, the businesses grew. Well, that’s pretty good. But in five percent, businesses went bankrupt. Well, that’s not so good. [chuckles] You’d like not to ever have that happen.

Mm-hmm. [ …] The Obama administration, Obama for America, sent out a press release yesterday, and I don’t know if you’ve seen this but I’ll read “in both the public and the private sectors Romney would allow his energy policies to be shaped behind closed doors by billionaire donors benefitting from the same massive Big Oil tax breaks Romney has pledged to protect.” More than just specifically to that statement, are you still fighting this battle of image that you are just a rich, wealthy guy who… the next step on your resume, you want to be the leader of the free world.

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