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Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman Jr.’s campaign said Wednesday that jobs lost at a company managed by rival Mitt Romney counter his claims of being a job creator.

Mr. Huntsman’s campaign and allies said Mr. Romney’s venture capital firm oversaw more than 100 layoffs in New Hampshire but eventually reaped millions in profits.

An Associated Press report this week found that the Holson Burnes Group, controlled by Mr. Romney’s Bain Capital LLC, closed plants in New Hampshire and Gaffney, S.C., as it shipped other jobs overseas.

Former Claremont, N.H., Mayor Scott Pope a Huntsman supporter said Holson Burnes had told local officials the plant was closing in 2005 so it could expand operations in Mexico, long after Bain relinquished control of the company. But a bulk of Holson Burnes layoffs and furloughs occurred in the early 1990s under Bain’s ownership.

The AP’s review of financial and regulatory documents in the case of Holson Burnes contrasts with Mr. Romney’s statements during the GOP presidential campaign about his success creating jobs in the private sector. It showed that Holson Burnes trimmed its workforce by hundreds while Bain eventually earned a 20 percent return on its investment.

The economic fallout from Bain’s decisions struck hardest in New Hampshire and South Carolina, early primary states that will shape the Republican race and Mr. Romney’s White House prospects. Mr. Romney knows President Obama and other Republican contenders will be picking apart his tenure at Bain.

“President Obama and his friends on the left are continuing their attacks on the free-enterprise system, and by attacking free enterprise, they are willingly dividing Americans,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told the AP in response. “Mitt Romney has a quarter-century of experience working with entrepreneurs and real businesses in the real economy.”

WHITE HOUSE

Administration says Assad does not deserve to rule

The White House is renewing its call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, saying his regime does not deserve to rule.

The White House said in a statement Wednesday that Mr. Assad’s regime has no credibility and has “flagrantly violated” its commitment to end violence.

The statement said the Obama administration is deeply disturbed by continued reports of government-backed violence against the Syrian people. Witnesses said more than 200 people have been in killed in two days of violence this week.

The violence came after Mr. Assad agreed to allow foreign monitors under an Arab League plan aimed at stopping the bloodshed.

The White House warned Damascus that additional steps will be taken to pressure Mr. Assad’s regime if the Arab League initiative is not fully implemented.

UTAH

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