"Obama: Bain debate ‘is what the campaign is going to be about’"

From Politico:
Obama’s damn-the-torpedoes remarks were also aimed at some of his fellow Democrats who are increasingly anxious that their party’s leader is attacking a private equity firm for doing what such businesses were created to do: make cash within the confines of the law.
“My opponent, Gov. Romney, his main calling card for why he should be president is his business experience,” Obama told American and international reporters at McCormick Place at the conclusion of the two-day NATO summit focused on the seemingly weightier issues of Afghan withdrawal and Pakistan.
The deep blue of the NATO stage backdrop seemed, for a moment, to morph into the sky blue of Obama’s campaign sets.
“When you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. … So, if your main argument for how to grow the economy is ‘I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,’ then you’re missing what this job is about,” Obama said. “It doesn’t mean you weren’t good at private equity, but that’s not what my job is as president.”
Obama’s staff and Romney aides have been locked in an intensifying battle after Newark Mayor — and Obama ally — Cory Booker blasted the Obama campaign’s targeting of the venture capital firm as “nauseating” and a “distraction from the real issues.” . . .
Obama's comments about businesses taking the short term but him being concerned about the economy growing 10 years from now is just nuts.

From ABC News:
. . . As for the criticism that the Team Obama’s Bain attack is part of “nauseating” political discourse with which Booker has become “very uncomfortable,” Axelrod said, “on this particular instance he was just wrong.”
Booker is not the only Democrat to question the aggressive, negative portrayal of Romney’s work in private equity.  Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr. said today he agreed with “the substance” of Booker’s comments and “would not have backed out.”
“I agree with him, private equity is not a bad thing. Matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances,” the Democrat said in a separate appearance on MSNBC earlier in the day.
Former Obama administration economic adviser Steven Rattner made similar comments last week, calling a new Obama campaign TV ad attacking Romney’s role in the bankruptcy of a Bain-owned steel company “unfair.”
“Bain Capital’s responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number. It was to create profits for its investors,” Rattner said.  ”‘It did it superbly well, acting within the rules, acting very responsibly. … This is part of capitalism, this is part of life. I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about.” . . .
Democrat Virginia Senator Mark Warner (a former venture capitalist): 

Chuck Todd:  "Do you think that Bain Capital practiced good or bad ethics here in the way that they went about their business?"
Senator Warner: "I think that Bain Capital was very successful business.  I think they got a good return for their investors.  That is what they were supposed to do." 

Now what are we to make of Van Jones' comments here?  They sure sound as if Van Jones' comments on integrity implies that even he agrees with Booker.  Is that possible?  Also from the Washington Examiner:
“An urban mayor who nearly DIED saving neighbor from a fire, has earned right 2 demand integrity & courage from other leaders,” Jones tweeted on Tuesday in a message addressed to Booker’s Twitter handle. . . .
UPDATE: Here is an interview with an Obama campaign spokesman defending the campaign's attacks on Bain capital. From Mediaite (video available at bottom of page):

The Obama campaign spent the better part of the day of attempting to recover from Newark MayorCory Booker‘s near-scuttling of a major component of their reelection effort, Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, coming very close with President Obama‘s strong double-down at a press conference this afternoon. Then, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt took to Anderson Cooper 360 to undo as much of that as he could. . . .
[Obama's reframing of the Bain question to whether Romney has the experience to be president] nearly did the trick, using their most effective weapon: President Obama himself. . . . More importantly, he changed the headline to “Obama Doubles Down.” . . .
[Anderson Cooper asked Obama campaign spokesman LaBolt] “How can President Obama attack Mitt Romney on his time at Bain, highlighting only times when Bain cost companies jobs, and at the same time hold high priced fund raisers with the head of another private equity firm that’s done work with Bain, the Blackstone Group, there are people who have worked at other private equity firms in his own administration?”
. . . Five or six times, Cooper tried to get LaBolt to answer that one question, only to be met with uninterrupted talking points, or naked subject changes.

The rest of the interview went on along the same lines. Asked if he agreed with Mayor Booker that Bain had “done a lot to grow businesses,” LaBolt responded, “You know what Mayor Booker also said?” . . .
UPDATE2: A new poll by Rasmussen suggests that the Bain attacks aren't working so well for the president. 

Democrats have begun criticizing Mitt Romney’s business record, but a plurality of voters view the Republican’s business past as a positive.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 44% of Likely U.S. Voters believe that Romney’s track record in business is primarily a reason to vote for him. Thirty-three percent (33%) see his business career as chiefly a reason to vote against him. Twenty-two percent (22%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) . . .
Or how about this?
Voters now trust likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney more than President Obama on all five issues regularly surveyed by Rasmussen Reports, especially when it comes to money.
A new national telephone survey finds that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters trust Romney more than Obama when it comes the economy, while 39% trust the president more. Ten percent (10%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording,click here.) . . .

Just a copy of Booker's remarks:
"To me, it's just we're getting to a ridiculous point in America, especially that I know I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital," Booker said. "If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they've done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this, to me, I'm very uncomfortable with." 
Nice summary of quotes from different Democrats upset with Obama's attacks on Bain Capital.

UPDATE: Some more Democrats speak out:

Deval Patrick: Bain "Not A Bad Company"

Ed Rendell: "Either/Or" On If He Agrees With How Obama Campaign Being Run

Rattner on Bain

More info available here.

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Blogger Fyathyrio said...

Is there really any significant difference between what Bain Capital does and what the government did with the auto company bailout? In both cases struggling companies were purchased in whole or in part, struggling portions sold off, and the remaining portions streamlined for efficiency. How many workers lost jobs from the many dealerships forced to close under the gov't mandated requirements?


5/22/2012 12:00 PM  

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