President Obamas re-election campaign veered into Indiana on Monday.
The campaign released an online video chronicling the mid-1990s acquisition and shutdown of a Marion paper products plant by a company working with Bain Capital. Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, headed the Boston venture capital firm at the time.
The video is similar to one launched in January by Winning Our Future, a political action committee that supported Newt Gingrich in the Republican presidential primaries and caucuses. Both feature interviews with former workers of American Pad & Paper – also called Ampad – who lost their jobs when the Marion operation was sold in 1994 and closed in 1995.
What Romney and Bain Capital did to Ampad, its workers and the community of Marion is a perfect example of how his profits over people values would be disastrous for our economy and the middle class, Frank Benenati, the Chicago regional spokesman for Obamas campaign, said in an email.
About 250 employees of SCM Office Supplies Inc. in Marion were fired and invited to reapply for jobs at lower wages after Ampad bought the company, according to the video and media reports. Ampad later closed plants there and in New York and Massachusetts, eliminating 1,500 jobs while earning $100 million for Bain Capital and Romney, according to the Obama campaign.
Ampad went bankrupt in 2000.
The video fails to mention that 200 of the workers who lost their jobs at the Marion factory had been on strike for more than five months when it closed. During that time, members of United Paperworkers International Union Local 154 voted against accepting a contract offer that union leaders said contained too many concessions, according to a Jan. 5, 1995, story by The Journal Gazette.
The video is yet another attempt by Obama to change the subject away from his disastrous economic record which has left 23 million of our fellow Americans out of work and struggling to find jobs, Pete Seat, communications director for the Indiana Republican Party, said Monday in an email. Seat pointed out that jobs created by the Romney-led Bain Capital included the 1994 formation of Steel Dynamics Inc. The Fort Wayne-based steel manufacturer went public in 1996 and today employs 6,300.
Benenati said the Obama campaign video demonstrates that Romney places short-term profit for himself and his investors ahead of long-term growth for the companies he bought and sold.
Romneys campaign released its own video Monday. It showed clips of TV interviews with three Democrats – Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, former Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee and former Obama adviser Steven Rattner – in which they defended private equity firms generally and Bain Capital specifically.