The fallout from President Obama’s attack on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital continued Monday morning, as the Romney campaign released a memo to reporters that featured critical comments from Newark Super-Mayor Cory Booker (since walked back), former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., and former Obama administration car czar Steve Rattner. We’ve compiled the remarks into a single video, so you can easily see what’s there, and what is missing.
For the past week, Mitt Romney and his campaign have been crying “foul” over an Obama campaign ad that challenged Romney’s repeated claims that his tenure at Bain Capital demonstrates his ability to create jobs by focusing on the people thrown out of work by one Bain acquisition.
That’s important, because Romney has attempted to re-cast the ad as “character assassination” (ironically, it’s the least character-oriented attack in a long campaign of attacks on Romney’s character), while several people who are ostensibly on the President’s “side” have morphed it into an indictment of private equity.
The most recent was Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who, in a Meet The Press appearance, first drew a false equivalence between the President’s ad and the scuttled Joe Ricketts plan to sic an “extremely literate conservative African-American” on President Obama, calling both tactics (although most outlets, including this one, have reported Booker’s remark as though it was directed only at the President) “nauseating,” then saying “I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” and that he was “very uncomfortable with” the ad.
Mayor Booker later walked that back in a YouTube video (which has about 11,000 views right now; MTP has a total audience approaching 3 million) by pointing out that it is Mitt Romney who claimed his Bain experience makes him a job creator, which makes his record at Bain fair game for this kind of scrutiny.
That same observation is made, and ignored, by former Obama car czar Steve Rattner, who called the ad “unfair” even as he couldn’t help but point out that it was Mitt Romney who made the claim that his experience at Bain made him a job creator, when that’s really not the point of private equity at all.
Then, this morning, former Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., said he agreed with Mayor Booker’s original comments, and criticized Hizzoner for walking them back, adding “private equity’s not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances.”
What’s missing from all of these indictments of President Obama’s ad, including Mitt Romney’s?
Maybe I’m missing something, but not only can I not find the part of President Obama’s ad that says “private equity is a bad thing,” I also can’t find the part of these critiques in which anyone even tries to argue that Mitt Romney’s stint at Bain had anything to do with creating jobs, as opposed to creating wealth for Bain and its investors. Not even Romney or his campaign have tried to make that argument.
Politically, Mayor Booker’s comments are a major liability for the Obama campaign, even if they can somehow steer the conversation back to Mitt Romney’s discredited claims of job creation. Mayor Booker is a good man with a big political future ahead of him, but I don’t think his swerve off message was motivated by a self-interested desire to burnish his good-guy image, but by the fact that he actually is a good guy, and really wants a shiny, happy campaign about the issues. The fact that he can still think that way after running for Mayor in Newark speaks well of him, but there really aren’t always two sides to every argument.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com