- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 22, 2012

President Obama’s anti-capitalism attacks on Mitt Romney’s long career as an investor who bankrolled businesses and created jobs isn’t playing well in some Democratic circles.

Indeed, the Democratic backlash Obama’s campaign has been getting about its ads attacking Bain Capital, Mr. Romney’s successful venture investment firm, is the political equivalent of a “man bites dog” story.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a close ally of Mr. Obama and a rising star in the Democratic Party, called Mr. Obama’s ads “nauseating to the American people.”

Former Tennessee Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., another party leader who once headed the centrist-leaning Democratic Leadership Council, said he agreed “with the core of” Mr. Booker’s remarks defending Bain Capital’s numerous success stories.


“Private equity’s not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, private equity is a good thing in many, many instances,” Mr. Ford said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Even one of Mr. Obama’s own economic advisers winced at the sorry spectacle of the president’s campaign trying to argue that Mr. Romney’s private capital-investment company has been bad for the economy.

“I don’t think there’s anything Bain Capital did that they need to be embarrassed about,” said Steven Rattner, who was the Obama administration’s car czar and one of the president’s economic advisers.

To the contrary, what Mr. Rattner and others seem to be suggesting is that Mr. Obama ought to be embarrassed by ads that are attacking private investment that is the mother’s milk of business expansion and job creation.

“I have to just say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity [investment],” Mr. Booker said on Sunday’s “Meet The Press” when host David Gregory asked him about Mr. Obama’s ad.

The TV ad singles out one of Bain Capital’s investments in an Indiana steel company that ended up laying off 250 workers, but says nothing of dozens of companies Bain invested in that ended up creating thousands of jobs.

In the ad, a laid-off worker at the plant calls Mr. Romney a “job destroyer.”

Mr. Booker suggested this kind of sleazy distortion is both dishonest and reprehensible.

“If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses,” Mr. Booker said. “And this [Obama’s attack ad], to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.”

“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity,” he said.

Soon after Mr. Booker condemned the ad, the president’s chief campaign strategist David Axelrod must have come down on him like a ton of bricks: Shortly after that, Mr. Booker released a hastily made YouTube statement to “clarify” his remarks and reiterate his support for Mr. Obama, though he stood by his earlier comments.

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