Mitt Romney's pitch to voters relies heavily on his executive experience. He doesn't spend much time dwelling on his time as the chief executive of Massachusetts (a more fitting selling point for someone seeking the presidency) but rather concentrates on his experience in the private sector as chief executive at Bain Capital. Romney claims himself to be a "job creator." "In the business I had, we invested in over 100 different businesses and net-net, taking out the ones where we lost jobs and those that we added, those businesses have now added over 100,000 jobs," he said over the weekend.
There's no reliable way to vet that number unless Romney or Bain release supporting documents (which they have of course refused to), but the AP's Calvin Woodward offers good reason to be skeptical. "His campaign bases its claims on recent employment figures at three companies—Staples, Domino's, and Sports Authority—even though Romney's involvement with them ceased years ago," Woodward writes. "By that sort of charitable math, President Barack Obama could be credited with creating over 1 million jobs even though employment overall is down about 2 million since he came to office."
The Wall Street Journal reports on the success of the 77 companies Bain invested in during Romney's era; their findings give further reason to doubt Romney. It was happy days for Bain's investors during Romney's tenure, with $2.5 billion in gains derived from $1.1 billion invested. But things didn't work out quite so well for the businesses themselves; 22 had closed or filed for bankruptcy within eight years, no doubt shedding many jobs in the process. Until Romney substantiates his claim on the number of jobs he created, we won't know if Bain's investment in companies resulted in net job creation or pink slips. In the meantime, the only thing we know for certain is that Romney's personal bank account rose somewhere between $190 million and $250 million thanks to these investments.