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White House brushes aside Rendell criticism over Bain attack strategy

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The White House faced another barrage of questions Tuesday about whether President Obama’s campaign attacks of Mitt Romney’s experience at Bain Capital are fair after former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell spoke out against the strategy.

Mr. Rendell weighed in Monday on Team Obama’s attacks on Bain Capital, arguing that even though the issue is fair game, the campaign has gone too negative.

“I think they’re very disappointing,” Mr. Rendell told Buzzfeed about the negative ads the Obama campaign has released in recent weeks. “I think Bain is fair game, because Romney has made it fair game. But I think how you examine it, the tone, what you say, is important as well.”

The comments came after Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a rising star in the Democratic party and a longtime Obama booster, criticized the Bain attacks on Sunday and then attempted to back-pedal that evening.

In response to a reporter’s question, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president is not angry at Democrats who have spoken out against the attacks on Bain and said criticism of Mr. Romney’s tenure at the private equity firm and instances in which the firm’s decisions led to plant shutdowns and job losses are fair game.

“[Mr. Romney is] not running his record as the former governor of Massachusetts,” Mr. Carney said. “He’s running as a businessman who can do for America what he did in private equity, and Americans can expect that that credential could use some scrutiny. That’s what’s at question here.”

When asked how the president squares his decision to hold a recent fundraiser at the home of the president of a major private equity firm with his criticism of Bain, Mr. Carney said the president appreciates support from Americans “from every walk of life.”

“These folks aren’t running for president. They don’t believe their expertise in their line of work wholly qualifies them to sit in the Oval Office,” he said. “[Mr. Obama] appreciates support from Americans from every walk of life and every area of the economy.”

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About the Author

Susan Crabtree

Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at scrabtree@washingtontimes.com.

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