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I’m not going to sit here while critics of Bain badmouth the United States of America

I’m not going to sit here while critics of Bain badmouth the United States of America

Any criticism of Bain, much less a criticism of how our possible nominee ran the firm, is an attack on free markets and capitalism.  Or so we are being told.

No, it’s not.  I have been almost alone against the chorus of “Newt’s anti-capitalist”:

Jonathan Last at The Weekly Standard today makes a point similar to mine, How Many Cheers for Bain?:

Yet because the free market has been under constant assault from the left for most of the last 80 years, Republicans often mount an automatic defense of it, or any of the businesses that operate within it, at the first sign of criticism. And that’s what has happened over the last few days with Newt Gingrich’s attempt to bring Mitt Romney’s days at Bain Capital to public light. There has been, in many Republican circles, something of a freak-out that anyone would dare try to paint an operation such as Bain in an unflattering light. To do so, they argue, constitutes an indictment of the free market itself.

For Republicans who are boosters of Romney, this is a perfectly understandable reaction. But I would argue that for more disinterested conservatives, there is no positive duty to mount the barricades and defend Bain from being looked at critically. Here’s why.

By painting an attack on Bain as an attack on free markets, Romney defenders and Newt critics engage in a type of argument by extrapolation, that one thing leads to another leads to another, and what we end up with is a defense that criticism of Bain is, in Last’s words, “an indictment of the free market itself.”

It’s a form of defensive argument about which they already made a movie (language warning):

You know what, I’m changing sides.  I’m not going to sit here while Republicans critical of Mitt Romney’s years at Bain badmouth the entire capitalist system and the United States of America.  I’m outta here.

Update: Some related posts by others, On Romney, Bain and Keeping Your Integrity, Let Obama Vet Mitt on Bain!


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” I’m not going to sit here while Republicans critical of Mitt Romney’s years at Bain badmouth the entire capitalist system and the United States of America. I’m outta here.”


Give me a break.

The United States was not made great by crony capitalism.

It was made great by the capitalism of free men and free markets.

And yes, that means some companies died crash and burn deaths.

But out of the ashes new ideas and companies were formed.

The truth is that Bain Capital took government bailout money to the tune of billions of dollars.

Because Bain Capital had failed in its job of turning around the companies it took over.

So Bain took taxpayer dollars to make sure Bain investors didn’t lose their money. Even though they failed in their job of saving the companies they bought into.

Here’s a commonsense, logical conclusion to draw from Romney’s Bain activities:

Since CEO Romney was happy to be on the receiving end of government tax dollars bailout money

Then President Romney will be happy to be on the giving end of government tax dollars bailout money to companies that fail.

This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets.

It is the capitalism of No-Risk, Guaranteed-by-Government Bailout, Crony Capitalism.

Adding to this conclusion is the fact that Romney supports TARP in principle. He just says it was badly mismanaged.

    punfundit in reply to hrh40. | January 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    “Then President Romney will be happy to be on the giving end of government tax dollars bailout money to companies that fail.”

    Or to pick winners and losers. Like Obama.

    Awing1 in reply to hrh40. | January 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Bain Capital took billions in bailout dollars huh?

    Why is it that so many of the arguments against Mitt and For Newt are based on flat out untrue statements?

    Aarradin in reply to hrh40. | January 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    The problem with Bain is that they looted the companies they bought. You can’t even really say they ‘bought’ them since most of the purchase price came from loans taken out by the company being bought.

    If you haven’t read this, you should:

    1) Bain paid $18 million for a $300 million company. The difference came from loans against the company being bought (two loans, of $237 million and $45 million – owed by the company bought to the bank and to another company).

    2) Once in control of the company, Bain had the company take out an additional $66 million loan.

    3) Bain then paid itself an $85 million dividend out of the company’s cash on hand (most of which due to the loans it just took out). This resulted in a 370% profit to Bain in 16 months.

    4) The company, now insolvent due to having had its cash looted and saddled with enormous debt filed for Bankruptcy, chapter 11. 3400 people lost their jobs, half the company’s stores were closed.

    This is NOT capitalism. This is legal theft. They bought the company for the sole purpose of using its assets as collateral for a loan, used the loan to pay themselves a dividend greater than the amount of the loan, and then did everything in their power to screw non-Bain investors as the whole thing collapsed in bankruptcy. The company was profitable and successful before Bain bought it. They left it in ruins.

      Awing1 in reply to Aarradin. | January 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      KB, a company bought a year after Romney left. Good argument.

      Yes. Capitalism has it’s own forms of cancer that need to be expunged. Socialism had Hitler and Communism (at least as far as we could tell, it was always just over the horizon) had Stalin.

Sigh. Obama is winning the Republican primary.

Romney: “We did.” *wink*

And I’m not going to sit here while Republicans critical of Newt Gingrich’s years as the Democrats designated “go-to guy” at Fannie Mae (whose job was to help get around Republicans) badmouth the emerging statist system of the United States of America.

So I just wonder how Mr Buffet runs his business, He basically does the same thing Bain did. He buys companies have them pay management fees? The hero of the left is no more than a leach on business, granted most of the businesses he buys are very profitable at the time but the model is the same, very rarely does he buy a turn around business, that is to much of a risk.

    Aarradin in reply to carlMa. | January 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    There’s a huge difference:

    Warren Buffett invests in successful companies and then just holds the stock. He also invests in troubled companies he thinks he can make successful and usually manages them well enough to make them profitable.

    Bain capital buys successful companies to gain control of them. Once in control, they have them take out millions in new loans for the sole purpose of paying Bain dividends. They then let them collapse in bankruptcy due to the debt burden and the fact that their cash has been looted to pay dividends.

    I like Mitt’s politics infintely better than Warren Buffett’s. But, I’ve been following Buffett’s activities as an investor for over 20 years now and I have to say he has an admirable and impressive record. Bain Capital’s record, on the other hand, is disgusting and contemptible.

      carlMa in reply to Aarradin. | January 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Actually, they do not just buy stock they buy plenty of private companies and have them pay dividends back to the holding company in the form of managment fees, not much different than what bain did. This dividend can be as high as 18+ percent of all revenue. So that company, instead of reinvesting.

Bain may have done some laudable things, but it also did a couple of things that are really bad. First it engaged in Capital Raids, the looked for healthy companies that were undervalued cash cows, they then loaded it up with debt for dividends swap and ran the companies into the ground. In particular KB toys as the most egregious act.

The other point was they took bailout money. In other word Romney is on the real bad side of the 2 most messed up polities of the past decade. So forget about it, he is very easy to vilify.

then you get to the point that he is a horrible politician. He barely won 1 election with over 20 years of running and then proceeded to destroy the Republican Party in Mass. He was run office because he was so unpopular. Does this sounds like a great idea to have this guy in the Whitehouse? He’ll destroy the Republican Party while he’s there giving the dems whatever they want just to be liked.

I will not support or vote for this man, because he is worse than losing to Obama. In another 4 years of Obama, the Republican Party will be so strong, Obama will be a puppet president. I prefer that, than to lose the Republican Party, because in 4 years we will get another Obama in there

    Awing1 in reply to imfine. | January 10, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    KB Toys was bought after Romney left, and Bain did not take any taxpayer funds that I have seen.

      imfine in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      It’s kinda hard to leave him off the hook, when the acquisition happened righ after he left and while he remained an equity partner. He was THE FOUNDER of the company. The company is Romney.

      Bailout, read and weep, GS Technologies

        Awing1 in reply to imfine. | January 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm

        I’ve seen people trying to blame him for deals that he was apart of that went bad years after he left, but for a deal that he wasn’t even apart of? That’s just ridiculous.

        As for GS, they received an insurance payment from the PBGC, a GSE that is funded by premiums, NOT TAXPAYER DOLLARS. Check and mate.

          imfine in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 3:06 pm

          He built a company that does (amoung other things) capital raids. Just months after he left it did a capital raid, while he remained a partner. It’s not a leap of logic to say if he is receiving equity payments from capital raids that he trained his firm to do he should share in the infamy. What’s your problem with that?

          Pension Gaurranty corp gets only a fraction of what it needs from premiums, the rest comes from taxpayers, that’s why they call it a GSE. It might be more impressive if Romney didn’t overcharge the firm “consulting fees” and dividends for the privilege of being driven into the ground by him but he did so I can’t give him the creative destruction break.

          Check and mate

          Awing1 in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 3:09 pm

          It doesn’t count as a checkmate when you just make up stuff to support your position.

          Awing1 in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 3:24 pm

          Also, “just months”? If you’re still talking about KB, that occurred 22 months after Mitt left (Mitt left February of 99, deal announced December of 00), that’s nearly two years. I’d consider that a long time, KB likely wasn’t even on their radar when Mitt left.

          Considering nothing like KB has emerged as occurring during Mitt’s tenure, how can you say he “trained” the company to do them?

          imfine in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 4:09 pm

          You’ve really drunk the Romney koolaid haven’t you? But I’m glad to see your not actually defending the capital raids and that Kb toys was in fact raided destroying a $400 million company firm for a quick $100 mill. That wasn’t ven taking a company apart and dividing its assets, it was just an almost malicious destruction of a major company, like setting your warehouse on fire to collect the insurance. Thy just passed the loses to the suckers who lent them money.

          It’s really absurd to hear you say this. This wasn’t the first time Bain did this, and it’s Crazy to think he didnt know hat was going on with so much of his personal fortune and friends in bain. Well it’s coming out and when it’s all out there, his campaign is over. newt just got $20 mill to rip Romney apart, and Romney is going o get a taste of his own medicine.

          Personally I would rather focus on that abominable Romney care or his disastrous political track record, but what the hell this will do

          Awing1 in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm

          It’s really absurd to hear you say this. This wasn’t the first time Bain did this, and it’s Crazy to think he didnt know hat was going on with so much of his personal fortune and friends in bain.

          You say this isn’t the first time Bain did this, yet you have no examples. If KB really occurred in the way it has been portrayed, the only reason it could have occurred is because Bain had no history of raiding in this way. The banks that loaned the money to Bain without the proper covenants for such a highly leveraged deal only would have done that if they were extremely confident in Bain’s abilities and integrity, an image they built up during Romney’s tenure.

          When he left Bain in 1999, he remained an equity partner, but not a “managing partner”, as you and so many have put it. He would not have been privy to the current deals of the company, and he certainly would not have been involved in individual deal strategy. Those types of things are highly confidential, even among the managing partners, and are hardly the type of thing Mitt would have talked about with friends who were still involved with the firm. Arguing that he would have suggests you have no understanding of how financial firms work.

          imfine in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

          I think you are kinda getting the English all messed up, an Equity Partner can be rephrased, “He remained an owner”. Given he founded the place, retained substantial payments from it, appointed its leadership, its pretty safe to say they he knew what was going on and it would be your position to prove he didn’t. As the WSJ Journal pointed out we are just now stretching the surface of what as Newt alluded to in his latest interview. Given what we know what happened at companies like GS tech this stuff sounds like standard fair for them.

          Awing1 in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm

          An equity partner does not necessarily have any control over a firm, a retired equity partner, which is specifically what Romney was post February 1999, is one such person. It’s like owning non-voting shares in a private company, you have a stake, but no say and often no information.
          You’re making the claim that Romney knew about the investment and management strategy for a deal that represented less than 1% of the firm’s $3.1B in funds at the time of investment, two years after retirement, despite such information being legally privileged, and you think the onerous should be on me to somehow magically disprove it? If this is what you’re basing your criticism of Romney on, I suggest you take a good hard look at your life.

          imfine in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm

          Your the one making the claim buddy. He was not only the owner but the founder of Bain capital. You would have us believe that he was just sitting there running an honest PE fund and as soon as he put his foot out the door all his buddies of the last 15 years went wild and threw caution to the win and decided to screw over some lenders. Certainly a leveraged deal worth at 10% of the company would have been brought to the attention of all the owners, even if he wasn’t managing. Even at 1 percent it would likely be done because of all the legal complexities of a deal that size. He may have even voted on it, because it was a significant outlays of funds. More to the point when you have a senior guy like this on board, he’s typically still in the loop because they still want his advice. Your grasping at straws because you see his nomination crumbling before your eyes. No one is going o believe this fairy tail you’ve spun.

It’s hard to argue with this position. I think the attacks have gone to broad.
Then again, I think that Newt missed the point. Here’s the real kicker, I’ve agreed with many of your original posts on Bain as well.
I think there’s a valid way to critique Bain, in the conetext of a republican primary. (and many of the above linked posts hit that.) I’m just not sure that’s been done yet by any of the canditates or their proxy PACs. (Which is sad.)
On the flip side though, this hurts attempts to reuse these tactics later. So I guess either way I’m happy?

My guesses …

My guess is that most voters see Wal-Mart as their idea of creative destruction, not Bain.

My guess is that Bain probably was a force of good in some cases and bad in others. What the true answer is … voters will not know … they’ll be getting opposing answers, just as in most complex cases … and will go with their gut … that Bain type creative destruction is inferior to Wal-Mart type creative destruction.

So, appearances are important here … if nothing else, Newt’s attacks will help Mitt sharpen his answers to the point he can convince voters what he did was ultimately beneficial … because, just as the sun rises in the icy, frigid east and sets on the gloriously warm, chaparral-scented west coast (where a run on the beach is in order today), Obama & Co. will be a creative destruction campaign wrecking ball with manic James Carville in the operator’s seat. Romney had better have clear, easily understood answers five moves ahead on the chess board, if he does end up the nominee.

LukeHandCool (who is suddenly overcome by the urge to go and rent “Animal House,” if for no other reason than to watch the fetching Mary Louise Weller as Mandy Pepperidge. Who can forget the Belushi on the ladder scene?)

Why do so many commenters keep saying Romney accepted a bailout while at Bain? The only thing I’ve seen that’s even close to a bailout is the $44 Million GS Technology’s pension received from the PBGC, an insurance agency of the federal government that GS Technology and it’s predecessor Worldwide Grinding Systems would have had to pay into before then. Since when is that a bailout? And besides that, it occurred two years after Romney left Bain, how would he have “accepted” that “bailout” for a firm he no longer managed?

    retire05 in reply to Awing1. | January 10, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    What you want to ignore is that although Romney was no longer at Bain in an active way, he continued to reap the benefits from the vulture capitalist company he designed and the dividend checks just keep flowing into his bank account.

Romney’s involvement at Bain doesn’t bother me and never has. It was privately invested money spent on other private companies and never involved taxpayer funds unlike everything Obama has done.

Sure, we need to know what happened and examine Bain’s practices and Romney’s involvement. That is called vetting and it is exactly what a primary season is for.

I only wish the MSM would have spent 5 seconds vetting Obama and his suspicious, Marxist, radical connections.

But for other candidates to intentionally twist the truth is outrageous. It is a matter of character and far too many of them have displayed far too little character in this instance. It makes me wonder about the GOP even more…

I say we put ’em all on double secret probation.

Equating Bain Capital’s actions with an indictment of the capitalist system is flat-out wrong.

Bain was not a shining example of pure business ethics. It was still more real-world business experience than Obama ever had.

The adult thing to do would be take the honest criticism. To paint the criticism as being anti-capitalist is just not right and it is very much unfair to capitalism.

Jay Nordlinger posted a very thoughtful piece on The Corner yesterday (ht, Jazz Shaw, here) entitled Conservatives vs. Capitalism.

In it, Jay made some very salient points about the effort to undermine Mitt Romney’s campaign, via these attacks on capitalism.

It is well worth a careful read.

A sample:

. . .
Over and over, Romney defends and explains capitalism. And he’s supposed to be the RINO and squish in the race? That’s what I read in the conservative blogosphere, every day. What do you have to do to be a “real conservative”? Speak bad English and belch?

In the Saturday debate, Santorum knocked Romney for being just a “manager,” just a “CEO,” not fit to be president and commander-in-chief. This was odd for a couple of reasons: First, Romney did have a term as governor of Massachusetts (meaning he has executive political experience, unlike Santorum). And second: Since when do conservative Republicans denigrate private-sector experience?

About 800 times, Newt Gingrich told us to read a particular newspaper, to see what a capitalist meanie Romney was. What was the newspaper? The New York Times, of course. There’s a great slogan for our conservative visionary: “Read the New York Times!”
. . . .

Newt Gingrich came storming out of Iowa, hell-bent on revenge against the winning candidates (like Romney) who he claimed had caused his defeat, all the while having demonstrated both ill-preparation and under-funding. His most serious lack of preparation was macro, given his embarrassing exposure for failing to even make the primary ballot in his adopted home of Virginia.

So now, he and his supporters (including here) are attacking Romney for having been a good businessman — something none of his opponents ever attempted themselves — and we’re supposed to listen to this drivel?

Professor, you have now admitted (but only when asked) that Mitt did nothing illegal at Bain; that there is no need for further government regulation; and that, as to the “morality” . . . well, you did manage to side-slip that one by saying: “let the voters decide.”

In other words, this all amounts to bupkis. Wow.

Well, let me quote you . . . I’m outta here!

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Trochilus. | January 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    First of all, bye. Second of all, I consistently have said the issue was not legality. So the gotcha you think you got ain’t a gotcha.

      You just can’t win with some people.

      I think it is because of your lack of SEC Football sports coverage. I can’t imagine any other reason…

      With no ‘Like’button to express my opinion of your “gotcha” this is the best I can do —-> 🙂

      Exactly, Professor. So get back in the boat, stay afloat and lead us all back to victory!

      I agree. This is not about illegality. No one thinks it is.

      I remember when Clinton and Gore kept saying Clinton had done nothing illegal. I was so shocked. Is that the standard? It wasn’t illegal? We don’t care it it’s right, if it’s the best, if it’s fair, if it’s ethical? Only if it’s illegal? I don’t think so.

      I an hoping for someone who is committed to trying to do what’s right. Newt is that man IMO.

      It looks like Newt had to find that resolve in himself, had to get to that through some spiritual suffering. I know I did in myself. It’s no fun, but you come out of the process better, more sincere, less arrogant.

      I think Newt is running for president because he wants to help our country thrive again.

      Newt has a whole amazing plan and the American people are at the heart the plan, returning power to our local communities. It’s an exciting prospect.

      I hope people will find out what Newt is proposing. Here is a list of speeches CONVENIENTLY in one place if you are interested:

        Hope Change in reply to Hope Change. | January 11, 2012 at 12:26 am

        my above comment is responding to this: William A. Jacobson | January 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm
        First of all, bye. Second of all, I consistently have said the issue was not legality. So the gotcha you think you got ain’t a gotcha.

1. The Bain promos in the Romney era were intended to promise high returns to potential investors. Therefore, it made sense for Mitt and his gang to try to look like predatory, hearless bastids who would wring every last penny out of widows and orphans.

2. I’m all for extracting hidden value from enterprises. However, in a society with social and economic safety nets, an amoral operator can extract that value–or more than that value via leverage–while passing the risks and costs on to the taxpayers, or to unsophisticated or defenseless investors. (Consider the housing bubble.)

That, IMHO, is the legitimate question about Romeny’s Bain career. There’s more to it than subtracting jobs created from jobs lost.

    hstad in reply to gs. | January 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Nice opinion piece (sarc/on)! Where do you think Bain Capital got it’s money from? Pension funds that provide income to widows and orphans! I’m all for reviewing Romney’s career at Bain. But what I’ve read from you and Professor Jacobson is a lot of political buffoonery and opinions which provide no factual points to make an assessment of Romney’s tenure at Bain. When you provide some facts not opinion, I can then make an assessment as to which candidate I will vote for, until then, as they say, your opinion carries the same weight as everyone else – not much!

RE “Any criticism of Bain, much less a criticism of how our possible nominee ran the firm, is an attack on free markets and capitalism. Or so we are being told.

No, it’s not. I have been almost alone against the chorus of “Newt’s anti-capitalist”:

You’re not alone Professor….Rush Limbaugh’s radio show in now entering into hour three…thus far the entire show could have been scripted by you 🙂

Bain Capital has been “in” on 2 of the biggest 10 PE deals, HCA Inc. and Clear Channel Communications. HCA seems to have it’s nose above water, but they same can’t be said of Clear Channel.

ZeroHedge has up an old evaluation of the PE sector …

And while these companies life expectations are limited at best, regardless of how Hertz’ lawsuit against anyone who has a sell rating against the firm goes, the biggest threat is to the entire PE industry, which just like the CRE space, will be facing a massive refi threat into 2014. Between 2011 and 2014, there is roughly half a trillion in LBO debt maturing. Add that to the $1.5 trillion in bank debt due for rolling, and the roughly $3 trillion in CRE debt that is also supposed to be refinanced, and one can see how the next president will have his arms full as he/she will need to find a way to roll about $5 trillion in debt without the benefit of securitizations. Furthermore, since the economy will be on stimulus #10 by then courtesy of a drunk with power Obama, America will be on fast track to sovereign and corporate Armageddon.

… no wonder they need a PE expert as President.

Newt seems to be tempering down the rehtoric used in the “Winning our Future” video to something that makes a whole lot more sense IMHO. (See Update 2 in the previous post about this.) If he sticks with those critiques, I think he’ll do fine (and avoid the anti-capitalism attacks). If he ramps back up the “Romney doesn’t care about small people” language, he opens himself again to the critique (since it sounds like an attack the Dems would launch.)
TL;DR, What I’m seeing as a modest course change in STYLE of attack (rather than substance) is working (and exactly what is needed). Keep pressure on Bain for all the right reasons. (My critique this whole time has been more style than anything else.)

Forgive me, but a lot of the complaints about Mr. Romney and Bain seem to be very ‘inside baseball’.

A talented man rolls up his sleeves, goes to work, and does well in a hard-nosed business that is generally thought to be needed in a free-market system. Is that the message?

Yes, no one likes watching the sausage being made, but the net benefit of PE companies, etc., seems undeniable.

I recognize the political message, and Obama’s campaign certainly won’t be slow to jump on it. But the correct response I think is, “this is a needed business in a free-market system that freed up capital for other jobs in other businesses (e.g., Staples).”

And then if Obama keeps bringing it up it’s time to talk about HIS mismanagement of government, not Bain.

Eyes on the prize, folks, eyes on the prize.

The fact that Romney was engaged in legal behavior in a relatively free and open market heavily regulated buy the SEC and other regulatory agencies does not bother me in the least.

The candidates assaulting Romney over this are quite literally cutting their own throats should they succeed with this line of attack and if they fail, Obama can use all their positions to attack Romney should he win.

This is just plain stupid but that describes so much of the GOP behavior these days…

Can we get a picture of Mitt’s mug pasted onto Scrooge McDuck for the next cover of NRO?

Mitt is from the bad part of Wall Street that most Americans hate, not Main Street. Mitt is to capitalism what the Vikings raiders were to the free market.

Newt has voiced the suspicion that Romney at Bain was a corporate raider. True or not concerning Romney’s business behavior, does Romney display a raider’s mentality in politics? Are we witnessing a hostile takeover of a conservative party by a moderate/liberal, a leveraged buyout using the asset of the 25% or so of the GOP electorate that Romney attracts?

After the takeover of a party animated by Conservatism and revivified by the Tea Party, will Conservatism be advanced, or will the financial and intellectual assets of the party be stripped to serve a different agenda? As George H. W. Bush dissipated the Reagan legacy, will a Romney administration leave behind a dispirited, politically bankrupt shell of a party?

Henry Hawkins | January 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

“…will a Romney administration leave behind a dispirited, politically bankrupt shell of a party?”

That’s the best case scenario. Worst case is….

Obama 52%
Romney 48%

Bank on it. Pun intended.

StephenMonteith | January 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Newt isn’t trying to “do Romney a favor” by bringing this stuff up now; he’s not even claiming to. Newt is trying to become president, and he knows he can’t do that while he’s got a heavyweight like Romney standing in his way. If he’d run in 2008, or even 2000, then he might have won. But this is the year of the job creators, and Newt happens to be facing the best job creator the GOP has ever run for president, so the only way he can win is if he convinces Republicans that Romney doesn’t create jobs. And, as Rush points out, that’s the only way Democrats can win, too.

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