So Newt Gingrich is borrowing from the Democrats' oppo-reserach book with his attacks on Mitt Romney's legacy as a leveraged buyout artist. Suddenly leveraged buyouts are "predatory" and "paper shuffling," Gingrich says, according to the NYT. Financed by billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, Gingrich's Super PAC will flood South Carolina with anti-Romney ads, portraying the former Bain Capital exec as a heartless raider who ruins companies by sucking money out of them. The PAC bought a short documentary, "House of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town" and plans to put it on the Web.
Politically it's logical place to strike at Romney. The problem for Gingrich, however, is that he seems to be a very late convert to business of criticizing LBOs, which have been around since the 1980s. (Typically in a leveraged buyout guys like Romney use a struggling company's assets as collateral for debt, which they use to buy it. Then they cut costs, use the savings to pay interest on the junk bonds that financed the deal and then resell it.)
The wholesomeness of LBOs has been part of the Republican gospel for decades. The idea is that making companies more efficient creates value that helps the whole economy. The practice has shown mixed results, to say the least. LBO artists like Ted Forstmann and Henry Kravis have been major Republican donors, including to Gingrich. If he really believes LBOs are predatory, then Gingrich is repudiating much of his party's record for the past quarter century.
Here's a link to the House of Bain trailer via Josh Marshall, who says it's basically the swift boating of Romney.
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