The Washington Times - May 21, 2012, 12:58PM

President Obama’s campaign opened another line of attack against Mitt Romney for his record at Bain Capital Monday despite criticism over the weekend from Newark Mayor Cory Booker, an Obama ally, that bashing Mr. Romney over his record at the private equity firm is unfair.

The Obama campaign released a new web video Monday accusing Mr. Romney and other partners at Bain of reaping a $100 million profit through its role in restructuring Ampad, a paper company, in the mid-1990s that included shuttering a paper manufacturing plant in Marion, Indiana. Closing the plant cost 250 workers their jobs, and Ampad went on to lose a total of 1,500 jobs.

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Randy Johnson, a former Ampad worker, said the plant closing devastated the working-class community of Marion, and Mr. Romney never tried to avoid the across-the-board layoffs.

“These were quality jobs that you could raise your family on and not work two or three jobs,” Mr. Johnson told reporters on a conference call organized by the campaign Monday.

“Mr. Romney has based his candidacy on his 10 years as a corporate buy-out specialist and said his goal at the time was job creation when the goal was really maximizing profit for himself and his partners,” said campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.

The Romney campaign is pointing to comments Mr. Booker, a rising star in the Democratic Party circles who is often touted as gubernatorial candidate, made Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” slamming negative campaigning on both sides — the Obama campaign’s “nauseating” attacks on Romney for his time at Bain, as well as outside GOP groups attempts to resurrect the criticism of Mr. Obama’s incendiary spiritual adviser Rev. Jeremiah Wright from the 2008 campaign.

The negative attacks are “nauseating to the American public,” Mr. Booker said in the interview. “Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright.”

The Republican National Committee Monday morning seized on the comments in a fundraising missive and tried to launch an online “I Stand with Cory” petition against Mr. Obama’s negative attacks on the “free market.”

But by Sunday night, Mr. Booker was already trying to walk back his remarks, releasing a four-minute video supporting Mr. Obama and arguing that Mr. Romney’s career at a private equity firm should be scrutinized.

“I used the word ‘nauseating’ on Meet the Press because that’s really how I feel, when I see people in my city struggling with real issues,” he said.