Term Sheet

The latest on private equity, M&A, deals and movements — from Wall Street to Silicon Valley

Romney betrays his business background

October 19, 2012: 4:14 PM ET

mitt-romneyPolitician Mitt makes promises that Bain Mitt would have never made.

FORTUNE -- Mitt Romney has been a politician for the past 13 years, but his sales pitch to voters relies heavily upon his private sector experience. Sometimes, however, the juxtaposition doesn't ring true.

For example, check out this exchange from Tuesday night's presidential debate:

Crowley: "If somehow when you get in there, there isn't enough tax revenue coming in, if somehow the numbers don't add up, would you be willing to look again at a 20 percent…"

Romney: "Well, of course they add up. I was — I was someone who ran businesses for 25 years and balanced the budget."

I totally understand why Romney said what he said from a campaign context, but it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

As any venture capital or private equity investor will tell you, there is a big difference between what you think you know from due diligence and what you actually learn once buying the company. Moreover, the ability to lithely adjust to changing circumstances -- sometimes internal, sometimes external -- is a vital private equity trait (and one, many would argue that Romney has applied to his political career).

Mitt Romney the private equity executive would never tell his investors or colleagues that the pre-deal math was a slam dunk to add up. So Mitt Romney the presidential candidate shouldn't tell voters that pre-election math is a slam-dunk, particularly if he then is going to use his business background to legitimize the assertion.

Sign up for Dan's daily email newsletter on deals and deal-makers: GetTermSheet.com

Join the Conversation
About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

Email a Tip | @danprimack | RSS
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by WordPress.com VIP.