Pushing back against a new Obama campaign video featuring workers laid off from a steel company after it was purchased by Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s campaign is showing off a more positive story from his business career.
The new web video, “American Dream,” profiles Steel Dynamics, a company that Romney invested in that ended up growing dramatically, eventually adding thousands of new workers.
Romney has had a long time to prepare for attacks on his tenure at the private equity firm, which came up during the Republican primary as well as his 1994 Senate campaign and 2002 gubernatorial bid, and it shows in the video above. The campaign put it out only hours after the release of Obama’s new ad on the defunct GST Steel.
There are some notable differences between the two stories, however. Obama campaign officials pointed out on Monday that Bain only owned a minority stake in Steel Dynamics, while they had controlling interest in GST Steel after a leveraged buyout, giving them a more active role in its operations. Romney has tended to play up success stories in which Bain acted as a venture capital investor to start-ups — like his biggest triumph, Staples — rather than Bain’s private equity operations, which make up the bulk of the company’s portfolio and are more associated with politically sensitive practices like layoffs or stripping down companies to boost profits.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.