Anderson Cooper Rips Apart LaBolt's Bain Hypocrisy

ANDERSON COOPER: Joining me tonight, spokesman Ben LaBolt. How can president Obama attack Mitt Romney on his time at Bain highlighting only times when Bain cost company jobs and at the same time hold high-priced fundraisers with the head of another private equity firm that's done work with Bain, the Blackstone Group, or hire people who have worked in other private equity firms in his own administration?

BEN LABOLT: Well, you know, Mitt Romney hasn't been -- he hasn't been forthright with the American people about what he did during his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist and what his goals were. He's been campaigning across the country telling people he was a job creator. But he’s never been able to substantiate a number of jobs that were created. That's because he -- his partners have admitted that the goal was wealth creation for themselves.

COOPER: Right. But that's what private equity is --

LABOLT: It wasn't a focus on the middle class families across the country. It was wealth creation.

COOPER: Private equity is about wealth creation for investors. And I know that's not what he's saying, but that's what it is about. But I don’t understand why is it okay for the president's private equity supporters to bankrupt companies and put people out of work but it's not okay for Mitt Romney's equity firm to do that?

LABOLT: The president has support from business leaders from across industries, who agree with his vision of building an economy that's built to last—where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, where everybody from main street to wall street plays --

COOPER: You said yourself -- you yourself said that's not what private equity is about yet the president is receiving money from private equity firms. Isn’t that hypocritical?

LABOLT: --who believe to put in place the protections to ensure we never had a financial crisis like in 2008 and middle class families are not held hostage. Gov. Romney would take a very different approach. He would repeal those protections. The fact is --

COOPER: You're not answering any of the questions. I’m trying to figure out what is difference between Bain and Gov. Romney’s experience in private equity and private equity firms the president is taking money from.

LABOLT: Well, here are the facts, Anderson. Gov. Romney has based his candidacy for the Oval Office on his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist. he says that's the record we should evaluate, that that's the type of economic philosophy he would bring into the Oval Office. And we took a look at the record. We took a look at the fact he loaded up companies with debt across the country. This case of Ampad in Indiana, a plant in Marion, Ind., 250 workers lost their jobs—Romney and his partners came in. they loaded the company up with debt, laid off all of the workers, forced them to reapply for their jobs, security guards bolted the doors, they went through the --

COOPER: I get it. People were laid off.

LABOLT: Their benefits were stripped down.

COOPER: Yeah. But supporters -- but Cory Booker, your own supporter said on "Meet the Press," "If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record they've done a lot to grow businesses." do you not agree with that?

LABOLT: You know what Mayor Booker also said?

COOPER: But do you not agree with that? You're picking and choosing what companies you the focus on with Bain Capital.

LABOLT: We're not questioning Romney's right to run a business the way he saw fit. And we’re not questioning the private equity industry generally.

COOPER: But you are. What you're describing is private equity in general --

LABOLT: The lessons in values and experiences that Gov. Romney took from that and whether he'd apply the same lessons and values to the Oval Office. It's not focused on economic security for the middle class.

COOPER: Cory Booker also labeled the descent on both sides of this campaign into personal attacks as nauseating. Romney’s described the president in unflattering terms, there’s no doubt about it—he calls him a liar at times. But don't these ads that you're running -- don't they attack his personal values? You know, you have people saying he's the opposite of Robin Hood. You have one where one person says you can tell by the way he talks and acts he doesn't care about the middle-class and lower-class people. Isn't that personal?

LABOLT: You know what Mayor Booker also said was in a discussion of Romney's tenure was legitimate.

COOPER: Yes, that's what he said in the 35-second, edited-down version that you tweeted out. But in the longer version and in his original comments that's what he said. Isn't -- do you deny that you're engaging in any kind of personal attacks on Mitt Romney? Or is it okay to do that? I’m not saying it's not.

LABOLT: Gov. Romney believes that any discussion of his record is automatically negative campaigning, which I think tells you something about his record. He's put this forward as his economic record. We'll talk about the president's economic record. We were losing 750,000 jobs a month when he came into office; businesses have created more than 4.2 million jobs. Manufacturing was in decline; it's resurgent. The auto industry was on the brink; GM’s the number one automaker in the world again. We'll talk about the president's record and we'll talk about Gov. Romney's record.

COOPER: Ben LaBolt, I appreciate you being on. Thanks.

LABOLT: Thanks.