Romney tells the story of what he saw when he took a tour of a factory in China: The factory was surrounded or enclosed by barbed wire and guard towers. There were at least 120 young women working long hours for a "pittance." Conditions were unsanitary with "little bathrooms" provided for every 10 rooms with 12 girls in each room.
95% of life is set up for you if you were born in this country. And, I remember going to ah, uh, sorry just to bore you with stories.
When I was back in my private equity days, we went to China to buy a factory there. It employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married.
And they work in these huge factories, they made various uh, small appliances. And uh, as we were walking through this facility, seeing them work, the number of hours they worked per day, the pittance they earned, living in dormitories with uh, with little bathrooms at the end of maybe 10, 10 room, rooms. And the rooms they have 12 girls per room.
Three bunk beds on top of each other. You've seen, you've seen them? (Oh...yeah, yeah!) And, and, and around this factory was a fence, a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers. And, and, we said gosh! I can't believe that you, you know, keep these girls in! They said, no, no, no. This is to keep other people from coming in.
..The Bain Partner I was with turned to me and said, you know, 95% of life is settled if you are born in America.
Mitt toured this factory in China as President of Bain Capital and with a Bain partner, and thus Talking Points Memo asks the logical question whether Bain Capital invested in this labor camp
. It is not unreasonable to think that Bain Capital took a tour of a factory before deciding whether to make an investment or purchase.
Left unclear, however, is whether Romney ended up investing in the facility himself. While the video has circulated for weeks, and drawn renewed attention in recent days, the Romney campaign has yet to deny that the candidate bought the factory.
The Romney campaign responded to TPM's inquiry with a no comment:
You know, that video’s old, you can call Bain and ask them what they did in terms of investing on it,” senior Romney adviser Ed Gillespie told reporters on Monday. “I don’t have any information on it.”
The Romney campaign told TPM Monday that Gillespie’s “no comment” would be its final word on whether Bain acquired the factory.
Notice Romney's campaign responses focus on whether Bain invested in this company or whether Bain acquired the factory, both suggesting that the investment or purchase would have happened after this tour described by Romney in this video.
CNN also tweeted that a "source familiar with Bain's investment history" said "Bain did not purchase the factory."
However, the question might be: Had Bain Capital already invested in this labor camp factory before Romney and his Bain partner took this particular tour of the camp? And, did Bain Capital maintain that investment after this tour of the inhumane conditions of this forced labor camp?
President Obama's campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt suggested this Chinese forced labor camp is a manufacturing company Bain invested in before taking this tour:
As Mitt Romney tries to convince Americans he is a modern day trade warrior, it’s clear that his hypocrisy knows no bounds. Before Mitt Romney started claiming he’d stand up to China and its unfair trade practices, he was profiting off of them. Governor Romney even maintained his investment in a Chinese manufacturing company that relied on outsourcing American jobs after seeing its poor work conditions, which he described as surrounded by barbed wire and packed with 12 women per dormitory room. When our competitors started a global race to the bottom, rather than placing a premium on creating American jobs and lifting the middle class, Mitt Romney dove in head first.