Costco Founder Says Obama Better for Business Than Romney

President Barack Obama’s re-election will be better for businesses than a country led by Mitt Romney, Jim Sinegal, co-founder of Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST), said during a speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Companies need “a president who takes the long view and makes the tough decisions,” said Sinegal, who remained on the board of the largest U.S. warehouse-club chain after retiring as its chief executive officer in January. “That’s why I am here tonight supporting President Obama, a president making an economy built to last.”

Creating an environment to spur job creation has been a key issue in the campaign as the president’s supporters criticize Bain Capital Partners LLC, the private-equity firm founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, for investing in companies that cut jobs or went bankrupt. Republicans have blamed Obama for an unemployment rate above 8 percent since 2009.

Sinegal’s comments came after Tom Stemberg, co-founder of retailer Staples Inc. (SPLS), lauded Romney last week at the Republican National Convention for helping start the largest U.S. office- supply chain when he was chief executive officer of Bain Capital. He also criticized an Obama administration “that can’t create any jobs.”

“When it comes to jobs, new businesses, and economic growth, they just don’t get it,” Stemberg said in a speech on Aug. 30. The White House is “demonizing” Romney and Bain Capital, the private-equity firm that was an early investor in Staples, he said.

Romney, who also served on Staples’ board, has said that he helped create more than 100,000 jobs while he worked at Bain Capital. Staples, founded in 1985, employs about 88,000 people today.

Carmax Co-Founder

Austin Ligon, the co-founder and former CEO of Carmax Inc. (KMX), also pledged his support for Obama in a speech.

“President Obama understands what it takes to spark economic growth, because I have seen him in action,” said Ligon, who left Carmax, operator of more than 100 used-car outlets, in 2006. “He inherited a massive structural deficit from his Republican predecessor, an economy in free-fall, and, most important for me personally, an auto industry on the verge of collapse. The president’s decisive action led to the rapid and successful restructuring of two of America’s largest companies, GM (GM) and Chrysler.”

Obama will help businesses succeed by investing in education, transportation and affordable energy while pursuing “sensible immigration laws,” said Sinegal, who hosted a fundraiser for Obama in July.

“In Tampa last week, we heard all about job creators, but at our company, we recognize that job creation requires time and investment and commitment to the long term,” Sinegal said. “It requires companies that plant and grow, not executives who reap and run. That’s how we do our part to build an economy that lasts.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Townsend in New York at mtownsend9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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