The video from 1985 creates a new distraction for the Republican just days before his first debate against Obama.
Mother Jones, the magazine that published a secretly-made tape of Mitt Romney's May remarks to donors, released another video that shows the Republican nominee in 1985 characterizing Bain Capital as a partnership created to invest in companies, help manage them and "harvest them at a significant profit."
Mother Jones said the video was on a 1998 CD-ROM marking the 25th anniversary of Bain & Co., the consulting firm that Romney left to co-found Bain Capital. In the video, he said: "Bain Capital is an investment partnership which was formed to invest in startups and ongoing companies, then to take an active hand in managing them and, hopefully, five to eight years later, to harvest them at a significant profit."
President Obama's campaign responded with a statement from Randy Johnson, a former worker at American Pad & Paper, company based in Marion, Ind., that was once owned by Bain that closed in 1995. "Romney's business experience was never about creating jobs," Johnson said. "Romney's own words prove that his focus was putting profits before people from the very beginning."
Ryan Williams, a Romney spokesman, said that Romney's work at Bain resulted in job creation. "In addition to starting new businesses, Mitt Romney helped build Bain Capital by turning around broken companies, creating and saving thousands of jobs," he said. "The problem today is that President Obama hasn't been able to turn around our economy in the same way."
It's unlikely that the video -- www.startribune.com/a1762 -- will cause nearly as many headaches for Romney as the last one unearthed by the magazine in which he said that 47 percent of Americans are "victims" dependent on federal largesse. Still, it provides Obama's team with more ammunition as they seek to portray him as a greedy capitalist who put profits above all else.
It creates a new distraction less than a week before his first debate against Obama and comes as recent surveys show Obama with the edge in swing states that strategists in both parties say will decide who wins the White House on Nov. 6.
Romney "needs to change the whole dynamic," said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute of Public Opinion. "Right now, the trends are not going his way."
At a fundraiser at the Union League Club in Philadelphia, Romney said his race in Pennsylvania is uphill, but that he can still win. "We really would shock people if early in the evening of Nov. 6 it looked like Pennsylvania was going to come our way and actually did come our way. That can happen," Romney told about 200 donors who paid as much as $50,000.
Later, in a clear tonal shift, he said that he had been "premature" in casting judgment on his Democratic rival in the hours after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. As the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were unfolding earlier this month, Romney said Obama's administration was making an "apology for America's values."
Romney was much more measured Friday, saying: "I think with the investigation ongoing it would be premature to describe precisely what the administration did correctly or incorrectly. ... Time will tell."
The Los Angeles Times contributed to this report.