Manchester (England, NOT New Hampshire): Great fun to be had now that the Republican primary season has finally descended into deep muck raking and dirt slinging.
But the rash of lurid headlines on both sides of the Atlantic impugning Mitt Romney's business career (not to mention Mr Gingrich's private life) again beg the question, "Is there such a thing as bad publicity?"
You might think that with CNN screaming, "What did Romney do at Bain?", and even the Financial Times reporting, "Pressure grows on Romney over Bain record", that the Boston strategy house might be feeling a little bruised.
As ever with collateral damage innocent parties get hurt. The headline writers have got the wrong Bain of course — the accusations over Romney's past refer to the private equity fund he founded, Bain Capital.
Good to have cleared that up. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
On the other hand...this association of Romney with Bain & Company is not completely inadvertent, and it does give us an excuse to dip into management consulting pre-history .
Romney started business life at Boston Consulting Group. He was headhunted to Bain in 1977. In 1983 Bill Bain asked Romney to start a new investment company which would provide a laboratory for the firm's consulting methods — Bain Capital was born. Though the two firms did share offices initially, and Bain did take a cut of Bain capital profits for a while, the two were never formally affiliated.
In 1990 Romney did return to Bain & Co. briefly, as CEO. The rest — investment in Staples, Burger King et al, assets of $66 billion, and even a bit of free advertising for Bain & Co — is private equity history.
Whether Bain & Co. will see its alumnus in The Whitehouse though is quite another matter.