GREER, SC-- With his most vital White House credential under siege by two of his GOP opponents, Mitt Romney today again defended his record as head of Bain Capital, and the balance of jobs created and destroyed by the company during his tenure as its CEO.
"The reality is in the private sector that there are some businesses that are growing and thriving, and we were fortunate enough to be able to be a part of that in a small way. And there are some businesses that have to be cut back in order to survive, and try and make them stronger," Romney told reporters after a rally this morning.
"Sometimes we’re successful at that, and sometimes we’re not."
Romney also pushed back against calls by Sarah Palin and others to specifically chart out the 100,000 jobs he claims were created by Bain "net/net" during his time there.
"It's pretty straightforward. Just look at those companies I mentioned: Staples, Bright Horizons, Steel Dynamics, and the Sport Authority, and you can just go on their websites. You see they are well over 100,000" he said. "Then there have been a bunch evaluated over the years in the media, and they put the number of job numbers and documented that data is available, and it's a few thousand of reductions compared to well over 100,000 additions so the net/net is over 100,000."
The Bain record has come under increasing scrutiny in recent days, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry referring to Bain's practices as "Vulture capitalism," and a Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich releasing a blistering 28-minute documentary on the firm that highlights the human toll of jobs lost when ventures Bain invested in or managed, failed, or were pushed into bankruptcy intentionally by Bain managers.
Romney, who most often speaks dispassionately about job creation and "creative destruction" in the marketplace, said today that he understands the human cost of jobs lost.
"I think any time a job is lost, it’s a tragedy. For the family, for the individual that loses a jobs, it’s just devastating" he said. "And every time that we invested in a business, it was to try and encourage that business to have on-going life."
Romney has been aided by many in the conservative cavalry who have charged in to defend the free market process, Bain, and (to a lesser degree) Romney himself. Rush Limbaugh, the Club for Growth, Rudy Giuliani, and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint -- not all Romney allies by any stretch -- have defended the former Massachusetts governor in recent days, with DeMint telling conservative radio host Laura Ingraham yesterday: "We need to understand the principles of our party," adding that the attacks give "fodder" to the Democrats.
At his rally this morning, while talking about shrinking government, Romney name-dropped DeMint -- the Tea Party standard-bearer who supported him four years ago, but has remained neutral this cycle.
"People ask me, How are you going to do that? How are you going to cut back on the size of the federal government? Well, I take a lot of inspiration from a certain senator in your state," Romney said. "Jim DeMint talks about cut, cap and balance. He's absolutely right."