Where Does Mitt Romney’s Bain Jobs Figure Come From?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


You can almost set your clock to it at this point. If Mitt Romney gets a question about his record at Bain Capital at a GOP presidential debate, he’ll inevitably talk about how many jobs he created as chief executive of the venutre capital firm. At last Saturday’s debate in New Hampshire, he suggested he had created 100,000 jobs at Bain, and when pressed for evidence, said he had done the math himself. At Monday night’s debate in South Carolina, Romney upped the ante, telling Fox News’ Bret Baier that he had created more than 120,000 jobs. Apparently it’d been a pretty good week.

But for all his talk, Romney has still failed to produce any credibile answer for how he arrived at any of the various jobs figures he’s tossed out. As I explained last week, the best answer we’ve seen is that his top aide, Eric Fehrnstrom, added up the jobs growth of a few of Bain’s most successful spinoffs (Sports Authority, Staples, etc.), and that was it. No consideration of the various Bain investments that lost jobs. No allowance for the fact that Romney is effectively taking credit for every job Staples has ever created—dare I say he invented office supplies?—even though Bain provided just 10 percent of the seed money for the company. No calculation, in other words; just an arbitrary number. It’s no surprise it fluctuates so much.

Romney wasn’t pressed on the source for his newest figure by the Fox panel, but don’t expect him to get off so easy. President Obama’s re-election team has already set its sights on the 100,000 figure. On Monday, they took to Tumblr—yes, they’re on Tumblr—to taunt Romney’s inconsistencies in chart form (click to enlarge):

Via Barack Obama/TumblrVia Barack Obama/Tumblr

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.