CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A parade of blue-collar workers and business executives tried to undercut Mitt Romney's business experience Wednesday, casting him as an executive "without a moral compass."
Three former employees who worked for companies controlled by Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney helped start, spoke on the second night of the Democratic Party's national convention. They painted the Republican presidential nominee as a man who sought profits at all cost.
"I don't think Mitt Romney is a bad man," said Randy Johnson, who once worked for an Indiana company Bain acquired. "What I fault him for is making money without a moral compass. I fault him for putting profits ahead of working people like me."
Romney's business experience is the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Polls show him leading Obama on who voters believe is best to manage an economy hampered by high unemployment.
Romney campaign spokeswoman Michele Davis said "convention speakers can't distract Americans from President Obama's failed record on jobs."
Two prominent businessmen, CarMax Inc. co-founder Austin Ligon and Costco Wholesale Corp. co-founder Jim Sinegal, also took the stage in Charlotte and sought to refute Republican criticism that Obama is anti-business.
"As a businessman who focuses on facts, not political rhetoric, I think the choice in this election is clear," Ligon said. "President Obama has shown he has the vision to support average consumers and taxpayers. He understands that the consumer is the engine of economic growth — that businesses can't prosper and grow without them."
Sinegal hosted a July fundraiser for Obama at his waterfront Seattle home. Nearly 200 people attended the event, which brought in $1.75 million for the president's campaign.
Ligon has contributed more than $70,000 to federal candidates, records show. Much of that cash has gone to support Obama's re-election effort, with $62,400 combined this election cycle given to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint-fundraising committee with the Democrats, and to the party itself. In early 2008, he also wrote a $2,300 to Sen. John McCain's presidential run.
Associated Press writer Jack Gillum contributed to this report.