Skip to comments.Democrats balk at Obama campaign’s sustained attack on Bain Capital ('move forward')
Posted on 05/23/2012 2:22:50 AM PDT by Libloather
Democrats balk at Obama campaigns sustained attack on Bain Capital
By Cameron Joseph - 05/22/12 08:35 PM ET
Some influential Democrats on and off Capitol Hill are refusing to give President Obama political cover for his attacks on Mitt Romneys record at Bain Capital.
Despite pushback from more than a half-dozen Democrats, the Obama campaign on Tuesday defended how it has scrutinized Romneys business background.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a widely respected member of Congress, stopped short of criticizing the president, but made it clear that the campaign should pivot.
Its done, she said. Go on to other things now.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told The Hill, I think the average American hopes that this campaign will focus on competing visions for how to strengthen our economy, help create jobs and move the country forward.
Pressed on whether he thought Obamas campaign had operated within those guidelines, Coons paused.
Im not going to comment on President Obamas ad, he said, shaking his head vigorously.
Coons and Feinstein are not alone. Other Democrats who are less than enthusiastic to Obamas Bain ad include former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, ex-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (Tenn.) and Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker. Rendell called negative ads disappointing, while Booker called the specific ad nauseating.
Those negative reviews fit with the GOPs playbook of portraying Obama as one of the most polarizing presidents. But Democratic operatives say Obamas 2012 campaign tactics must be different than 2008, when he ran on the slogan of hope and change. Drawing a contrast between the president and Romney is the key to winning a second term, they maintain.
While Obamas campaign is not retreating, the White House was put on the defensive Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Obama said Romneys private-sector experience was what this campaign is going to be about.
During the White House briefing, press secretary Jay Carney faced a string of questions on the issue.
Romney is running as a businessman who can do for America what he did for private equity, Carney told reporters. I think Americans would expect that credential deserves some scrutiny.
The comments echoed those made by other senior administration officials on Tuesday who said that Romney hasnt been touting his record as governor but highlighting his experience as an industry executive in an election where the economy has taken center stage.
The senior administration officials said that while people on MSNBCs Morning Joe set might have a problem with their handling of Romneys business background, voters think its highly relevant.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday backed the president up, saying, I believe that Gov. Romney, who holds himself out to be this great businessman, should have his record looked at. I have no problem with this.
Other Democrats also defended Obama. Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Bain was absolutely a legitimate focus. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) made similar comments.
In an indication of how rocky the day was for Obama, however, one surrogate for the president generated controversy in his defense of the ad against Romney.
Rep. James Clyburn (S.C.), the third-ranking House Democrat, said Romneys business practices amounted to raping companies and leaving them in debt for his own profit.
The Obama campaign quickly distanced itself from those remarks, telling media outlets it strongly disagrees with Congressman Clyburns choice of words they have no place in this conversation.
With less than six months to go before the election, both parties are focusing intently on fundraising. Some Democrats are privately worried that Obamas effort to highlight Bain will scare off big donors.
The Hill reported earlier this year that over the last three cycles, Democrats have accepted far more than the GOP in political donations from executives at Bain Capital.
While Obamas team has presumably accepted a possible fundraising backlash from private-equity donors, many congressional Democrats dont want that well to dry up.
Over the last several weeks, Democratic lawmakers have noted that Obamas campaign has not yet committed to transferring money to Democratic congressional campaign committees.
When a reporter on Tuesday asked Carney if it was hypocritical for Obama to rip his opponent while holding Wall Street fundraisers for his campaign, Carney responded that those individuals are not running for president.
Romney has pushed back hard, claiming that Obama is demonizing the private sector. His campaign sent around edited clips of Booker, Ford and former Obama auto czar Steve Rattner, who all indicated Obama had crossed the line.
It also sent out a clip of Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) saying Bain was a very successful business. But it didnt include his next comment that public service requires a different skill set and that Romneys time at Bain is a valid topic of debate.
Warner told The Hill that the release showed a pattern of the Romney campaign [using] partial quotes. Warner, who made millions of dollars in the telecommunications industry, walked away before he could be asked any follow-up questions.
Rendell on Tuesday said he thought Romneys time at Bain is fair game. But if it were his campaign, Rendell added, he would have crunched the numbers and found out if Romney created or lost more jobs at Bain.
I wouldve run the ad, but I wouldve run it a little differently, and I wouldve tried to get the net number before thats the key, he said.
Following his Sunday appearance on NBCs Meet the Press, Booker walked his comments back. He also cried foul about being used by Romneys campaign, saying GOP officials were plucking sound bites out of that interview to manipulate them in a cynical manner.
Ford said he agreed with the core of Bookers original statements. Former Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.), who regularly rebukes his party and has spoken of joining the GOP, said the ad followed a lazy, sloppy trend of discrediting professions instead on focusing on how a given professional carried out his ethical responsibilities.
Feinstein tells the rookie Hussein to STFU? Isn't that racist?
It’s evolving into two parties...Democrats angry over Bain, and Democrats living in reality.
Is this satire? Obamma killed more jobs with the Keystone Pipeline ALONE than Romney could have done in 50 years at Baine.
I could agree with your statement and be pretty darn sure without research that you were spot on, not to mention the completely exposed insanity regarding our national energy policy.
What national energy policy?
So, looks like some Dems have their hand in this, or similar, cookie jars.
Had to stop reading right there...
My guess is that Obma is starting to get into Democrats pockets.
About the only thing that could turn them from their Messiah would be to hurt them in their pocketbooks.
..if anyone thinks the rats aren’t looking at more and more evidence of fraud and Constitutional abuse ...and their not hearing it from their constituents, wait another month or two....the usurper is toxic!
We now hear Hilda for President rumblings coming from some MSM resources
The Obama campaign defended how it has scrutinized Romney's business background?
I guess next we'll be hearing that Trayvon Martin was simply doing some extra careful scrutinizing of George Zimmerman's face. He then went on to raise questions about the back of Zimmerman's head. He then proceeded to probe the background of Zimmerman's eye sockets.
I'd like to see the The Hill publish a list of items from Barack Obama's background that the MSM has failed to "scrutinize."
Probably more like: Democrats angry over Bain (real Democrats), and Democrats living in reality (Democrats willing to put on the facade of rationality in order to have a chance at being reelected).
Let’s compare Bain’s success rate with that of DOE. How many taxpayer funded businesses have failed under Obama’s green energy initiatives? 23?
Its evolving into two parties...Democrats angry over Bain, and Democrats living in anger about anyone else succeeding in life.