Dome: Bain Capital's role in Sealy Mattress under scrutiny

FROM STAFF REPORTSOctober 7, 2012 

Bain Capital’s role in Sealy Mattress is getting more attention after news last week that the bedding company is being acquired by Tempur-Pedic. An expert in the area says Mitt Romney needs to answer questions about Bain’s role in the High Point company.

Under Romney, Bain bought out Sealy in 1997. Unlike other Bain deals, Sealy didn’t pose a political threat. The company moved jobs in North Carolina from Ohio but it didn’t go bankrupt or collapse like GST Steel – the North Carolina-based company that President Barack Obama used to hammer Romney. But now, given the sale, private equity expert Josh Kosman argues Bain’s investment in Sealy – which it sold in 2004 – needs to be cast in a new light, suggesting its ownership helped lead it down this path.

He writes in Salon: “Thus Sealy joins Burger King and others on the list of Bain-acquired companies that collapsed soon after Bain cashed out – hardly surprising, since private equity is mostly about squeezing businesses as hard as possible, not creating long-term value.

“That’s a big problem, because private equity firms own companies employing one of every 10 Americans in the private sector – 10 million people. I hope one of the debate moderators asks Romney how Bain helped Sealy.”

Romney will be back

Mitt Romney is expected to return to North Carolina before Election Day.

His campaign hinted at the news – later confirmed by Republican officials – in an email to North Carolina supporters Friday.

The message said up to six volunteers who knock on the most doors (300 minimum) before Tuesday will get to meet Romney and receive VIP seating at his next campaign event in the area.

No word on whether President Barack Obama will return to the state before Nov. 6. His campaign has dispatched Vice President Joe Biden and first lady Michelle Obama in recent weeks.

McCain to visit N.C.

John McCain and Lindsey Graham will campaign for Mitt Romney in North Carolina this week.

The former presidential candidate and South Carolina senator will hold military-themed events in Cary and Fayetteville on Tuesday to talk up Romney’s policies. Graham then will appear later in the day at a Wilmington event.

Bowles to stay put

Erskine Bowles tells the Wall Street Journal he isn’t interested in a high-level position in President Barack Obama’s second-term presidency if Obama is re-elected.

“I’m staying in North Carolina,” Bowles told the newspaper’s Washington Wire blog. “This is home for me.”

Bowles, the former U.S. Senate candidate, UNC system president and chief of staff to Bill Clinton, is more focused on his federal debt initiative, designed to push Republicans and Democrats toward a compromise on the pressing issue.

Biden’s words in robocalls

Vice President Joe Biden’s comment at a Charlotte event that the middle class has been “buried” the past four years is now fodder for a conservative robocall campaign taking aim at Democrats.

The conservative Congressional Leadership Fund is launching the campaign, Politico reports, and Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina’s 7th District is among the Democrats being targeted.

Calls are being made in 15 House races and include a line about Biden: “Vice President Biden said the middle class has been buried the last four years. He’s right.”

Biden has said he blames GOP policies for the middle class’ struggles.

Staff writers John Frank and Austin Baird

Send tips to dome@newsobserver.com.

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