Romney seeks political capital from Bain years

In a new campaign advertisement aimed at boosting his popularity in the US presidential race, Mitt Romney is highlighting his role in mobilizing all of Bain Capital's professionals in a 1996 search for a senior partner's daughter.

Mitt Romney, a challenger for the Republican nomination in the US presidential election, has for the first time in his campaign thrown a spotlight on an unusual and highly personal incident that happened during his time in charge of the private equity firm Bain Capital.

Mitt Romney

In a new ad to boost his long-time business partner’s campaign, Bain partner Robert Gay details how the Republican presidential candidate shut down the private equity firm for 24 hours in 1996 and sent all 56 of its employees to New York City to search for Gay’s missing 14-year old daughter.  Romney also recruited 250 employees from other major Wall Street firms including Goldman Sachs, Price Waterhouse, Bankers Trust and Morgan Stanley. Gay's daughter was located several days later at a house in New Jersey.

The incident has been reported previously, but Romney himself has until now been reluctant to highlight it on the campaign trail. Overall, Romney has been careful in portraying his years at Bain Capital out of concern that rivals will portray him as a ruthless corporate raider. A decade ago his bid for a US Senate seat unravelled after opponent Ted Kennedy started running campaign ads with workers laid-off from a Bain-owned company.

Gay has since left Bain. In the ad, he claims that Romney helped “save” his daughter.