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Becky Bowers
By Becky Bowers August 31, 2012

Mitt Romney says Michelle Obama 'praised' Bain company Bright Horizons

Mitt Romney said one of his Bain Capital companies has been so successful it's been praised by First Lady Michelle Obama.

Romney’s Aug. 30, 2012, speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa extolled Bain Capital, the private equity and venture capital firm that fueled his wealth, as "a great American success story."

"Some of the companies we helped start are names you know you've have heard from tonight. An office company called Staples, where I'm pleased to see the Obama campaign has been shopping.

"The Sports Authority, which of course became a favorite of my boys.

"We helped start an early childhood learning company called Bright Horizons that First Lady Michelle Obama rightly praised.

"And at a time when nobody thought we'd ever see a new steel mill built in America, we took a chance and build one in the cornfield in Indiana. Today, Steel Dynamics is one of the largest steel producers in the United States. These are American success stories."

What did Michelle Obama say?

Featured Fact-check

Let’s Move!

We asked Romney’s campaign, and did some searching of our own.

The first lady didn’t offer a blanket endorsement of Bright Horizons, a major provider of employer-sponsored child care that’s been named one of Fortune magazine’s "100 Best Companies to Work for in America."

Rather, she singled them out for a mention in a June 2011 speech in Washington, D.C., as a new partner for her healthy-kids initiative, Let’s Move.

Her comments were publicized a year later in a Daily Caller article headlined "Michelle Obama praised Bain Capital-backed child care company," as well as by ABC News and Fox Business News with Neil Cavuto.

She was "singing the praises of a company called Bright Horizons last year" saying it was "it was beyond just first-rate," Cavuto said.

The coverage focused on a YouTube video that showed the first lady mentioning Bright Horizons . She had visited a child care center — not one managed by Bright Horizons, but rather an unrelated center called CentroNia — to announce "Let’s Move Child Care." Providers such as Bright Horizons had agreed to sign on with Partnership for a Healthier America to focus on nutrition and exercise in their centers.

Michelle Obama said:

"The Partnership for a Healthier America is working with private providers like Bright Horizons. That’s the nation’s second largest private child care provider, and they’re going to implement this checklist at nearly 600 child care centers across the country. So we already have commitments that are going to affect hundreds of thousands of children today. Again, that’s why we’re excited to be able to launch this. That's why these partners here today are so important, because we wouldn't have this announcement if we didn't have the folks ready to step up and invest and get the ball rolling and be the models, as CentroNia is, to show that we can do this, and it can work."

In a related Bright Horizons news release, she was quoted as saying, "If our kids get into the habit of getting up and playing, if their palates warm up to veggies at an early age, and if they’re not glued to a TV screen all day, they’re on their way to healthy habits for life. That’s why I’m so excited about Let’s Move Child Care – because I know that childcare facilities and home-based providers can be a real building block for an entire generation of healthy kids."

Our ruling

Romney said the first lady "praised" Bright Horizons. She did say that she was "excited" to launch an initiative that included the child care provider, calling Let’s Move partners "so important." Those are favorable comments about the company. We rate his claim True.

Our Sources

CQ Newsmaker Transcripts, "Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida," Aug. 30, 2012 (subscription only)

Email interview with Ryan Williams, spokesman for Romney campaign, Aug. 31, 2012

Bright Horizons, "About Bright Horizons," accessed Aug. 31, 2012

CentroNia, "Who We Are," accessed Aug. 31, 2012

Partnership for a Healthier America, "PHA and Bright Horizons Announce Groundbreaking Child Care Commitment to Prevent Childhood Obesity," June 8, 2011

Let's Move, "Introducing Let’s Move! Child Care: Tools for Child and Day Care Centers and Family-Care Homes," June 8, 2011

Let’s Move, "First Lady Michelle Obama Unveils Lets Move! Child Care," uploaded to YouTube June 8, 2011

ABC News, "Bain's Businesses: Romney's Company Owns Everything From Child Care to Pizza," July 18, 2012

Daily Caller, "Michelle Obama praised Bain Capital-backed child care company," July 18, 2012

Fox Business News, Cavuto, July 18, 2012

Nexis, "CAVUTO for July 18, 2012," July 18, 2012 (subscription only)

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Mitt Romney says Michelle Obama 'praised' Bain company Bright Horizons

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