On Sunday’s broadcast of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Newark, N.J. Democratic Mayor Cory Booker pushed back at efforts by President Barack Obama’s campaign to malign former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the time he spent at Bain Capital.
Booker first suggested that the Obama campaign needed to avoid letting others define what his presidency has accomplished. However, the attacks on Romney for his time as head of Bain Capital, he said, made him “uncomfortable.”
“[A]s far as that stuff, I have to say from a very personal level, I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker said. “It’s just, to me, we’re getting to a ridiculous point in America. Especially, I know — I live in a state where pension funds, unions and other people are investing in companies like Bain Capital. If you look at the totality of the record of Bain Capital, they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. This, to me, I’m very uncomfortable with.”
Booker explained that the Obama campaign had advised him to talk more about the issues that often provide fodder for the president’s opponents, such as his economic policies and ObamaCare.
“I talk to the White House quite often,” Booker said. “I’m a surrogate for the Obama campaign. The messages they’re sending me out to talk about is nothing about this. They talk about very clearly the average Americans, middle-class Americans, in fact over 90 percent of Americans have seen tax cuts under this president. Small businesses, like the ones that are in my city, have benefited tremendously from incentives for investment, rewards for creating job, rewards for hiring veterans. So, on issues that matter in the communities, I see the Obama administration having stepped up and needing to get their voice out more, even ObamaCare as people talk about — when you poll, ObamaCare doesn’t do well. When you poll the aspects of it, people in this country support that legislation.”
But it was both sides’ efforts to demagogue other issues, including Romney’s role at Bain and Obama’s association with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that Booker took strong issue with.
“The last point I’ll make is 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. Stop attacking Jeremiah Wright. This stuff has got to stop because what it does is it undermines to me what this country should be focused on. It’s a distraction from the real issues. It’s going to be a small campaign about this crap, or a big campaign in my opinion about the issues the American public cares about.”