Romney's Role With Bain Capital, Does It Help Or Hurt His Pursuit Of White House

By Jeff Neumeyer

January 18, 2012 Updated Jan 18, 2012 at 7:27 PM EDT

INDIANA, (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Two different perspectives from this area on how a Mitt Romney business venture reflects on his fitness to be elected President of the United States.

A former Huntington resident says he speaks from personal experience as a critic of Republican Presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.

Meanwhile, the retired CEO of an Allen County steel company praised the positive influence of Romney’s private equity firm called Bain Capital.

Those are not the sentiments of Randy Johnson, who has traveled the country, raising concerns about what Romney’s involvement with Bain Capital says about his qualifications to become Commander-in-chief.

Johnson's beef with the former Massachusetts Governor actually has to do with the period of time before Romney was governor, when he ran a venture capital firm that Johnson claims had a negative impact on the Marion Indiana plant he worked for.

Johnson has appeared on numerous shows, including MSNBC with Martin Bashir, and went to Iowa and New Hampshire to take Romney to task.

Back in 1994, Johnson worked for a Marion manufacturer purchased by AM-PAD, a subsidiary of Romney's Bain Capital firm.

Romney's company is credited in some circles with infusing money to rescue operations at risk of going under, but Johnson claims rather than saving jobs, Bain Capital hurt his employment situation.

Randy Johnson/Affiliated With United Steelworkers: " They brought in Pinkerton guards and walked us out of the building, and said if you want to work for us, you'll have to fill out applications, which we did, but only 205 out of 258 hourly people were hired back. From 1992 to the year 2000, Bain Capital made $102-million off of AMPAD and let it go bankrupt. So, I'm out now explaining that to people."

The retired head of Steel Dynamics Incorporated, with about 6,500 workers in the U.S., including two large steel plants in Northeast Indiana, has a different take on Bain Capital.

Keith Busse/Retired SDI CEO: “ Our experience with him was really very good. He was in on the birth of SDI, made some critical decisions to help give us life, or breathe life into the company.”

But attacks like those put forth by Randy Johnson are now being echoed more and more by some of Romney’s main opponents in the Presidential race.

Newt Gingrich on Wednesday in South Carolina called Romney's private equity firm "exploitive".

Romney supporters say Bain Capital is a classic example of free enterprise at its best.

But Gingrich and other leading GOP Presidential candidates will be portraying its history in a bad light in the remaining four days before the South Carolina Primary.

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