“This is not a distraction,” President Obama said yesterday when a reporter asked him to defend campaign ads that Democratic Mayor Cory Booker had described as “nauseating” the day before. “This is what this campaign is going to be about.” The ads in question attack Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, but Obama was at pains yesterday insisting the ads were not an attack on the entire private equity industry:
I think my view of private equity is that uh it is … it is set up to maximize profits. And that’s a healthy part of a free market. That’s uh part of uh.. ya know… the role of a lot of business people. That is not unique to private equity. And as I think my representatives have said repeatedly and will say today, I think there are folks who do good work in that area. … But when you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, your job is not simply to maximize profits.
If the only intended message from Team Obama’s attacks on Bain is that the job of a private equity executive is different than the job of the President of the United States, then that is 100% true, and also obvious to the point of triviality. Of course they are different jobs. But that is not the message Obama’s Bain videos are sending. Just listen to the ads:
“It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.”
“Bain Capital walked away with a lot of money that they made off of this plant. We view Mitt Romney as a job destroyer.”
“To me, Mitt Romney takes from the poor and middle class and gives to the rich. He is just the opposite of Robin Hood.”
These are not the statements of a campaign subtly suggesting that experience in the private equity industry insufficiently prepares someone to be president of the United States. These are statements that are saying either: 1) Romney was a uniquely evil capitalist who cannot be trusted to be president, or 2) that all capitalists are evil and unqualified to be president.
That is the reality that Cory Booker was responding to. Either the Obama campaign is 1) launching Rev. Wright-style character attacks on Romney, or 2) they are attacking the entire private equity industry. Until Obama comes clean on this, expect to see more Democrats waffle on the Bain question.
Poll: A new Washington Post/ABC News poll released today shows Obama leading Romney among registered voters, 49 percent to 46 percent. By a 2-to-1 margin Americans say they are worse off now, under Obama, than they were four years ago.
Around the Bigs
Bloomberg, Worst Market Since Reagan Greets Obama Before Election: With only six months before the election, the stock market is giving President Barack Obama the worst returns since Ronald Reagan was seeking a second term.
The Wall Street Journal, Catholics Sue Over Health Mandate: The University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York and 41 other Roman Catholic institutions sued the Obama administration in federal court Monday, the latest push against a requirement in the health-care-overhaul law that employers cover contraception in workers’ health plans.
The Wall Street Journal, OECD Slashes Euro-Zone Growth Forecast: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Tuesday slashed its forecasts for growth across the euro zone for this year and next, and warned that the area’s debt crisis could pull it into a vicious downward spiral without the right policy action.
The New York Times, Chairman of N.R.C. to Resign Under Fire: Gregory B. Jaczko, whose three-year tenure as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been marked by bitter battles with colleagues and with Congress, announced Monday that he would step down as soon as a successor was confirmed.
In The Wall Street Journal, Stanford University Graduate School of Business professor Ed Lazear explains that tax hikes, not spending cuts, are the real economy killing austerity measures.
AEI‘s James Pethokoukis posts a graph showing what economic growth looks like under Romney-style capitalism vs. Obama-style capitalism.
At The Corner, Veronique de Rugy explains why more spending won’t save Europe.
ThinkProgress is attacking Cory Booker for taking over $650,000 from “Bain and Financial Industry” in 2002.
Steve Benen explains why Republican attacks on Obama’s lack of private sector experience won’t work.
The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein thinks Cory Booker did a great job as an Obama surrogate on Meet the Press.