Obama assailed for hitting Romney’s business record
WASHINGTON A RISING Democratic star has walked back his denunciation of an ad by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign that attacked Mitt Romney’s record as a venture capitalist.
Republicans jumped on the controversy on Monday, highlighting the remarks by Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker as evidence that Obama was leading an “assault on the free enterprise system.” Booker barrelled into the political storm on Sunday when he called the new Obama campaign ad ‘nauseating’ for targeting Romney’s time running private equity firm Bain Capital.
“If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses,” Booker, an avid Obama supporter told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Booker said he was “very uncomfortable” with recent attacks on Bain as well as tactics by a conservative group which had planned a racefuelled ad campaign against Obama. Romney repudiated that campaign after the plans were leaked.
“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides,” Booker said.
“Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking (Obama’s former pastor) Jeremiah Wright.” Booker swiftly went into damage control, taping a brief video in which he reaffirmed support for Obama and said he had merely expressed concern that such negative campaigning “is about to become an avalanche” and risks drowning out debate over substantive issues like the economy.
But the bell had been struck, and on Monday Romney’s team pounced on the comments as an example of Democrats uneasy with Obama’s attack on capitalism.
“President Obama continues his assault on the free enterprise system with attacks that one of his supporters, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, called nauseating” and a former adviser called “unfair,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement.
Obama’s policies, she said, “have failed every American who expected their president to focus on the economy and make things better.” Democratic former congressman Harold Ford Jr complicated matters by going on MSNBC on Monday to say that “I would not have backed off the comments if I were Mayor Booker.” “I agree with him, private equity is not a bad thing,” Ford said.
Obama’s ad shows former steel plant employees slamming Romney as a ‘vampire’ and ‘job destroyer’ for acquiring their factory, leading it to bankruptcy and walking away with hefty profits.
Democrats, like Romney’s defeated rivals for the Republican nomination, have painted the former Massachusetts governor as a poster boy for corporate excess, which many Americans blame for the country’s economic woes.