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article imageOp-Ed: Did Mitt Romney profit from Chinese slave labor?

By Bill Schmalfeldt     Aug 24, 2012 in Politics
We do not have the full context of this tape as of yet. It is definitely Mitt Romney talking. It was definitely secretly taped during a fund raiser. And he is definitely talking about a Chinese plant he and Bain Capital were considering for purchase.
I've given this a great deal of thought before posting it, because the original sourcing is suspect. What follows is the script of this YouTube video, which was originally claimed to have been posted by an MSNBC show host. This host has since denied having anything to do with this video and is working to have it taken down. But whoever posted it, it seems like an actual video of an actual Romney speech given at a fund raiser. The "credits" at the end say it was taped in a private mansion during a $50,000 per plate fundraiser. We downloaded the video from the phony MSNBC host account and uploaded it to our own. We link to our own copy of the video here. Here's the script. Emphasis added.
"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.
Because people want so badly to come work in this factory that we have to keep them out. Or they will just come in here and start working and, and try and get compensated. So we, this is to keep people out. And they said, actually Chinese New Year as the girls go home, sometimes they decide they've saved enough money and they don't come back to the factory.
And he said, so, on the weekend after Chinese New Year there will be a line of people hundreds long, outside the factory, hoping that some girls haven't come back. And they can come to the factory. And, and so as we were experiencing this for the first time, going to see a factory like this in China some years ago.
The Bain Partner I was with turned to me and said, you know, 95% of life is settled if you are born in America. This is uh, this is an amazing land and what we have is unique and fortunately it is so special we are sharing it with the world."
Now, at this point, there is a heated discussion online about this video which I suspect we will be hearing a great deal more about in the days to come. We're not sure at this point whether or not this was the factory that Bain purchased, discussed in this Mother Jones story.
We present this video without making any judgment and offer it as a curiosity. It is clearly Romney speaking. He is clearly speaking about a factory he and a Bain partner were considering for purchase. In addition to his taxes, Mitt needs to be asked about this video.
1. Did you purchase the factory?
2. Did you do anything to improve the working conditions?
3. What was the point of your story? Were you doing a bit on "how good we have it" or were you bragging about buying a company where you got work done at slave-labor wages?
Judge for yourselves and share your thoughts.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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