CEOs answer to a board of directors, who answer to shareholders, and the customers and employees -- if unhappy -- won't stick around. CEOs are the most answerable people at most companies.
Sure, they can do whatever they want to, but they are held accountable for everything that happens.
How many of those let go by Romney still like him?
I don't know, or care. When I was laid off by a wealthy man who bought my company -- Ken Langone -- I held no grudge, and I actually think well of the man. He shouldn't try to do what is best for me, but what is best for the company.
(It was what was best for me, probably, as I had been at that company for almost 11 years, and I needed to leave to grow more.)
But, lots of people did hold a grudge against Langone for those layoffs. So what? That doesn't make them right, or him wrong.
Does he still maintain links to them? All critical for a politician.
Not really. The number of people he has employed is tiny compared to the number of people who answer his calls today.