ROCHESTER, N.H. -- When Newt Gingrich blasted Mitt Romney's business record at Sunday morning's debate--accusing him of leveling massive layoffs in greedy pursuit of personal riches--he probably never imagined the accusation would actually endear his opponent to some voters. But as it turns out, there are plenty of Republican voters in New Hampshire who have had to fire people--and they resent the implication that all layoffs are evil.
BuzzFeed encountered a few of them at Romney's rally here today.
George Trojan, a self-employed contractor from Dover, NH, said Gingrich is grasping at straws when he casts Romney's record of layoffs as inhumane.
"The bottom line is if you're not making money, that's what it's all about," said Trojan after watching Romney give a speech here. "It's cut and dry. It's tough, but the adults understand."
Trojan's wife, Christine, added that cutting the workforce is sometimes "a necessary evil."
"The reality is, with my husband, if we're not making money and he's not busy, you just don't work as many people," said Christine, who noted that they are not wealthy. "You've gotta do what you've gotta do."
Lou Gargiulo, a New Hampshire State Representative runs a real estate and property management business in New Hampshire, echoed the sentiments, and chalked up some voters' concern over Romney's Bain record to a lack of experience running a business: "I understand making a payroll and a lot of people don't."
Of course, critics would argue that there's a big difference between cutting a couple workers on a construction job when times are tough and gutting unionized factories to make millions in profits. But that doesn't change the fact that when Gingrich preaches against the evils of Romney's workforce reductions, some small business owners are taking it personally.
McKay Coppins is a senior writer for the BuzzFeed News politics team, and the author of The Wilderness, about the battle over the future of the Republican Party.
Contact McKay Coppins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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