As you may have heard, Mitt Romney declared over the weekend that there were times when he, too, worried about getting a “pink slip.” Romney’s GOP rivals immediately pounced, with Rick Perry claiming: “I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips, whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out.”
Now the Obama-allied group Priorities USA Action is set to attack Romney over this in another way, pointing out that Romney getting a pink slip during his years as a Bain Capital executive wouldn’t be all that comparable to the fate that befalls ordinary workers when they get fired.
In a memo set to go out to the press this afternoon, Priorities USA Action is highlighting a June, 2007 Boston Globe story that detailed the circumstances of Romney’s hiring. According to the article (via Nexis), the company’s founder, Bill Bain, and Romney agreed on a whole bunch of safeguards built into his deal, so if he failed, he’d have a very soft landing, including getting his job back at a previous firm both men worked at:
Bain sweetened the offer. He guaranteed that if the experiment failed, Romney would get his old job and salary back, plus any raises handed out during his absence.
Romney had one more concern: the impact on his reputation should he prove unable to do the job. In the end, Bain agreed to craft a cover story if necessary, promising to bring Romney back to the consulting firm and explain Romney’s return as a matter of his being more valuable to Bain as a consultant.
“So,” Bain says, “there was no professional or financial risk.”
Priorities USA spokesman Bill Burton adds: “Mitt Romney was guaranteed millions of dollars no matter the outcome of his Wall Street buyout enterprise. Romney’s absurd rhetoric is inconsistent with the facts surrounding his own situation and insensitive to the thousands of American who lost their jobs so Romney could extract millions for himself.”
This is another sign that Dems recognize the urgency of winning the war to define Romney’s Bain years in the public mind, and that if Romney succeeds in defining them on his terms, it could be dangerous. Expect Dems to use this one as another data point in the case that Romney is out of touch with the anxieties felt by many ordinary Americans coping with job insecurity and the stresses and travails of joblessness.