Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, shown in a file photo, said on MSNBC, "Im… (Mel Evans / Associated Press )
WASHINGTON -- The fallout from Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s criticism of the Obama campaign’s use of Bain Capital against Mitt Romney continues, with Booker objecting to "being used by the GOP" to help the Romney campaign.
Booker, who said that frequent Obama campaign attacks on Romney were “nauseating” during a Sunday appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” has been trying to refine and refute his remarks. In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Monday, he expressed dismay over becoming the center of a Republican National Committee "I Stand With Cory Booker" petition.
“Here they are plucking sound bites out of that interview to manipulate them in a cynical manner, to use them for their own purposes .. I’m very upset that I’m being used by the GOP this way,” Booker said.
“To say ‘I Stand With Cory Booker’ – I have not seen a Republican national candidate, with maybe the exception of Jack Kemp a long time ago, willing to stand with me in places like Newark, New Jersey; Camden, New Jersey; Paterson – places that often the GOP seems to want to imagine don’t exist,” he later added.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) provided what might be the most carefully measured response to the whole affair, toeing the line between party loyalty and his own background as a millionaire venture capitalist prior to his career in politics.
Warner, in an interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, praised the concept of Bain as a cog in the economic machine, but added that he was nonetheless “comfortable” with President Obama’s use of it on the campaign trail.
“I think Bain Capital was a very successful business. I think they got a good return for their investors. That is what they were supposed to do,” Warner said.
Obama, during a news conference for the NATO conference in Chicago on Monday, reiterated his support for his campaign’s attempts to use Bain against Romney.
“My opponent, Gov. Romney – his main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience. He’s not going out there touting his experience in Massachusetts,” Obama said. “He’s saying, 'I'm a business guy. I know how to fix it.' And this is his business. When you’re president as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.”
Attacks on Romney for his role at Bain Capital have been persistent throughout not just the presidential, but the primary campaigns as well, most recently highlighted by a new ad from pro-Obama "super PAC" Priorities USA that uses remarks by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and other GOP figures to attack the former Massachusetts governor.
"I happen to think that companies like Bain Capital could've come in and helped these companies if they truly were venture capitalists, but they're not. They're vulture capitalists," Perry said in January.
Those ads, combined with the Obama campaign’s release of a nearly-six minute video titled “Romney Economics: Job Loss and Bankruptcy at Ampad,” and the Romney campaign’s persistent characterization of Booker’s comments as throwing Democrats into damage control mode with a “Big Bain Backfire,” neither side is looking to cash out of this debate. With Bain Capital serving as a central component of both campaigns' narratives, look for this to be just the beginning of the presidential showdown over the firm.