Special Guests: Tom Stemberg - Staples Co-Founder & Former CEO
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well (INAUDIBLE) is causing pain, and not just for Mitt. Now for Newt, the pro-Gingrich group behind that Romney attack ad refusing to take it down. Even though Gingrich has told the to ditch or at least fix the mistakes. My next guest says all of these attacks are way off base because Romney is a big reason why his company got as big as it was and he is so successful. Staples (INAUDIBLE) former CEO Tom Steinberg joins me now.
Tom, so, (INAUDIBLE) playing the unique role in that, could you explain?
TOM STEMBERG, STAPLES CO-FOUNDER AND FMR. CEO: Sure. I mean I had a business plan and nothing else. When Mitt Romney decided to back us and help us fund our business going in and stayed on our board for about 15 years and the rule that we now described as lead director. He demonstrated the kind of leadership that he went on to demonstrate running the Olympics, running the state of Massachusetts and I hope so, running the country.
CAVUTO: All right. So Tom, you know, the criticism in that - you know, for companies like yours and many others were a lot of people are laid off and (INAUDIBLE) just sort of, you know, kind of looting of the monies that were there and (INAUDIBLE) walked on. What do you say?
STEMBERG: That's just utter nonsense. The fact of the matter is Staples today has close to 90,000 associates around the world. A great company. (INAUDIBLE), the leading daycare center in the country has 19,000 employees in North America. Sports Authority 14,000 or 15,000 and these companies in many cases didn't just create a lot of employment, they created some real benefits for society. We have Bright Horizon that allows women to go to work knowing that children are well taken care of. They don't have to worry about them. At Staples, we are able to save small businesses tens of billions of dollars on top of creating tens of thousands of jobs. These are jealous people. I wish they would stick to the truth.
CAVUTO: Yes, you know, how this is going to play out in the national election in the fall if he is the nominee, Tom. And that is, that private capitalism is heartless, it's mean-spirited, and it doesn't look after the welfare of common workers. Evidence of those who lost their jobs (INAUDIBLE) could not fix up, so what do you say to that?
STEMBERG: You know what is ironic?
CAVUTO: Go ahead.
STEMBERG: You know what is ironic, Neil? If you look for what the president did, vis a vis the automobile industry, it is the exact same thing that Bane Capital and other private equity people did vis a vis their companies. He shut down a bunch of dealerships, he shut down a bunch of factories. All with the intent of making the remaining entity reliable.
That is exactly what one has to do from time to time. And that is how you preserve jobs which otherwise would go away.
And you know, in business - you know, if you're a CEO, you've got to find the most cost-effective place for your business to take place. So just recently, for example, my own company, Staples, closed down about 300 jobs and ironically move them of all places to Colombia, South Carolina. Why?
Because that is the best place to have them and that's the way the world works in capitalism. If you don't want to embrace capitalism and you want to move to the Soviet Union, be my guest. If you want to of be a capitalist, you will vote for Mitt Romney and hope he becomes president.
CAVUTO: So you know what this media onslaught will be like and I know governor Romney, Tom, has gone out and have his way to say "What I did in the fix ups that I orchestrated and the thousand of jobs that I saved, you would attest to a good many of them yourself, was - all that was done with private capital. Not a penny in tax payer money. Fix ups that were very, very expensive for the taxpayer and has yet to bear a result. Does that resonate? Do you think in a general election that will resonate?
STEMBERG: You know, most Americans get how business works. And I don't think the kind of left-wing rhetoric that will be sling across by the Obama folks will fly. And I do believe that at the end of the day the kind of integrity and leadership that Mitt Romney has shown, running the Olympics, taking it from a multi hundred million dollar disaster to $100 million profit, taking the state of Massachusetts which was to $3 billion deficit, turning it, in a tough economic environment to a surplus and leaving behind a rainy day fund, those are the kind of accomplishments that will want to be seen in somebody who is going to run this country, as opposed to someone who is new to the job and whose results in the first three years speak to the kind of an experience that he had and brought to the job.
CAVUTO: That's very well put, Tom. Thank you very much. Tom Steinberg in Newton, Mass. Good seeing you, sir.
STEMBERG: Thank you, Neil.
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