Perry Loses Key SC Backer after Attack on Romney

By BRIAN BAKST and JIM DAVENPORT | January 12, 2012 | 10:32 AM EST

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts at a Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on Dec. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. (AP) — Presidential candidate Rick Perry's criticism of Mitt Romney's business past has cost him the support of a prominent South Carolina Republican.

Investment fund executive and top GOP donor Barry Wynn told The Associated Press Thursday that he's leaving the Perry fold to endorse Romney. Wynn says he was irritated by Perry's attacks on Romney's time at the helm of the private equity firm Bain Capital.

As Wynn put it, "It's like fingernails on the chalkboard."

Perry struck hard this week at Romney's work at Bain Capital. The firm sometimes turned big profits even as companies it invested in went under and people lost their jobs.

By Thursday, Perry had backed away from that line of attack after days of calling Romney a "vulture capitalist."