“This is not a distraction. This is what this campaign is going to be about.”
That’s what President Obama said during a press conference in Chicago minutes ago, when he was asked what he thought about Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker’s critique of the campaign ad about Mitt Romney’s time as CEO of Bain Capital.
If you missed it, Booker made news by going off message on Meet the Press.
“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides,” he said. “It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity, stop attacking Jeremiah Wright.”
President Obama praised Booker but then he went on to staunchly defend his campaign ad, which accuses Bain Capital of destroying a steel company in Kansas City. In it, some workers say Bain was running a sweat shop and that Bain loaded the company with debt only to declare it bankrupt and run away with the worker’s pensions and health insurances.
“I think there are folks who do good work in [private equity],” Obama said. “But understand their priorities are to maximize profit … and [that] won’t be good for communities.”
Obama, who spoke after a NATO summit, said if Romney was running on his record as a business executive, then his record at Bain was fair game.
“If you’re message is, ‘I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,’ then you’re missing what this job is about,” said Obama.
The president said that unlike the job of an private equity firm, which is to make money for investors, the U.S. presidency is about governing for the good of everybody.
Obama said his job was to find out “how … we create an economy where everybody … has a shot at success.”