President Barack Obama’s campaign is ramping up criticism of Repuplican Mitt Romney’s record in Massachusetts, while the Republican nominee is contrasting his record in the private sector with the Obama administration’s support for green energy companies.
Romney on Wednesday night regaled California donors with the story of Staples, one of the companies backed by the private equity firm he used to run. Bain Capital started by investing a few million dollars, Romney said, while Staples executives worked out of Spartan offices furnished with old Naugahyde chairs.
It looked a lot different, Romney said, than the glass-walled headquarters the green energy company Solyndra built and maintained with the help of federal loan guarantees before it went bankrupt last year.
“This was real people’s money,” Romney said of the Staples investment. “It wasn’t taxpayers’ money.”
“Under Gov. Romney, the Massachusetts economy was not at the top or even in the middle, but close to the bottom of all the states.”
Appearing Thursday morning on NBC’s “Today” show, Obama’s Top strategist David Axelrod promised the Obama campaign will focus closely on Romney’s record as governor. He said Romney “offers himself as an economic guru and savior,” but that the facts don’t support that.
Axelrod denied that Obama, who campaigned four years ago on a theme of hope and opportunity, is merely trying to lengthen his hold on the White House. “I don’t think what he’s interested in is staying in power,” Axelrod said. For months, Obama and his allies have signaled plans to target Romney’s Massachusetts record, with advisers noting that the state’s economy lagged in job creation and saw an increase in debt while he was governor. The critique builds upon a line of attack this month of Romney’s record at Bain Capital, which Obama’s team contends led to job losses and bankrupt companies even while Bain profited.
“Whether companies succeeded or failed, Romney Economics netted huge profits for him and his investors, but sometimes proved devastating for the middle-class workers whose jobs, benefits and pensions were put at risk,” Axelrod wrote.