The liberal Mother Jones magazine took another crack at team Romney on Thursday, posting a video from nearly three decades ago that showed a young Mitt Romney describing an investment strategy to "harvest" companies at a profit.
The clip comes after the same magazine caused a stir on the campaign trail with hidden-camera footage from a fundraiser in May in which the Republican candidate said the "47 percent" who don't pay taxes believe they are "victims" and will back President Obama no matter what.
As with the last video, the Obama campaign furnished an outraged reaction shortly afterward on Thursday.
The focus of the reaction and the Mother Jones piece was the word "harvest." The remarks in question purportedly were from a 1985 talk, which was included in a 1998 CD-ROM marking Bain & Company's 25th anniversary.
The released clip was edited, so the larger context of Romney's remarks wasn't immediately clear. But in describing the successor firm Bain Capital, Romney said: "Bain Capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in startup companies and ongoing companies, then to take an active hand in managing them and hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit."
He went on to discuss how his team had the experience that allowed them to identify "potential value and hidden value" in potential investments -- getting "actively involved" to help them "realize their potential value."
In its response to the video, the Romney campaign stressed the job-creation aspect of the candidate's work.
"In addition to starting new businesses, Mitt Romney helped build Bain Capital by turning around broken companies, creating and saving thousands of jobs. The problem today is that President Obama hasn't been able to turn around our economy in the same way," spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.
But Mother Jones and the Obama campaign used the clip to argue that Romney viewed Bain solely as a vehicle through which to milk companies for cash.
Obama's campaign rolled out a statement Thursday afternoon from a former employee of Ampad, a company that went bankrupt after Bain involvement.
"Today's video confirms what I and other workers fired by Mitt Romney's Bain Capital already know: that Romney's business experience was never about creating jobs," Randy Johnson said. "Romney's own words prove that his focus was putting profits before people from the very beginning, 'harvesting' companies to make a 'significant profit' for himself and his investors."
The statement echoed language in the Mother Jones article itself, which said Romney "saw businesses as targets of opportunity that could be harvested for the benefit of his investors, not as long-term job creators or participants in a larger community. "
The clip was quickly picked up in the broader media. And it follows a study by the conservative Media Research Center that found the big three broadcast networks last week devoted 13 times as much airtime on their evening and morning shows to covering the "47 percent" remark than they did covering another clip of controversial remarks by President Obama.
That 1998 audio clip showed Obama appearing to embrace the concept of "redistribution."
The term "harvest" actually has a technical definition in the investing world -- though it did not appear to be what Romney was referencing. A so-called "harvest strategy" is one in which investors use a mature business as a cash cow to fund other enterprises.