Bain Capital swooped down on GST Steel like a thirsty vampire with the intent of draining the life blood from the troubled Kansas City company. The blood-letting began when Romney loaded the company up with debt that eventually led to GST filing for bankruptcy in 2001.
Sucking the life out of the one-hundred-year-old company caused the loss of 750 jobs and the reduction of health and pension benefits due workers. Preserving employee benefits was not Romney’s big concern; he was in the business of making money for investors. While the federal government ultimately spent $44 million to shore up the pension fund, Bain raked in $12 million on its $8 million investment, plus another $4.5 million for consulting fees.
"Since Romney's central premise is that he's an economic wizard who can grow the economy--it's worth examining what that wizardry is all about," said Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager. "Mitt Romney's business experience wasn't about growing companies and creating jobs and long-term economic growth. In deal after deal, Romney's first priority was to make a personal profit, regardless of the cost to others."
The charge of “Vampire Capitalism” or “Vulture Capitalism” has been used against Romney in most of his previous campaigns, but not always with benefit to the opponents. While the charge apparently helped McCain in 2008 in his Florida race and Huckabee in Iowa, as well as Ted Kennedy in his 1994 Senate duel with Romney, the charge did little for Romney’s 2002-gubernatorial opponent or for Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry this year.
Still, President Obama is finding it useful to gin up the Bain story. Like the dog-atop-the-car tale and the prep school hazing incident, they help voters to understand who Romney is as a person and what he thinks is important in life. The more they learn about Romney’s personal and financial escapades, the less likely they’ll want him anywhere near the White House.