Did Cory Booker sandbag Obama by calling the Bain attacks 'nauseating'?
The Newark mayor went on Meet the Press, purportedly to help President Obama's re-election effort. He may have done more harm than good
Newark, New Jersey's action-hero mayor, Cory Booker (D), went on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday in support of President Obama, but left as the Mitt Romney campaign's favorite Democrat. While saying Obama deserves to be re-elected, he also criticized the Obama camp's attacks on Romney's career at Bain Capital. Booker said he was "uncomfortable" with both the Obama ads highlighting Bain's toll on workers and GOP plans to attack Obama over the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. "This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides." But he mostly focused on Bain: "I'm not about to sit here and indict private equity. If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they've done a lot to support businesses — to grow businesses." (Watch video below) What was Booker thinking, and how badly did he hurt Obama?
Booker threw Obama under the bus: With just a few "careless remarks," Booker managed to undo a brilliant week of Obama messaging on Romney's destructive "vulture" capitalism, says Karoli Kuns at Crooks & Liars. Republicans are already using Booker's words to try to make Bain off-limits. But this is nothing like the "bogus" Wright revival. Romney's tenure at Bain is "one of the few quantifiable ways voters can see how he intends to approach employment issues and corporations," and why the middle class should be very wary.
"Cory Booker sandbags Obama campaign on Bain messaging"
Actually, he was decrying negative campaigning: Booker wasn't defending Romney's tenure at Bain, and that's probably why he "spent Sunday afternoon attempting to clarify" his remarks, says Dylan Byers at Politico. In a series of Twitter posts and a four-minute video, Booker says that, contrary to what he said earlier, "Romney's business record was fair game, and that he was simply frustrated by negative campaigning." So now both Obama and Romney's campaigns are touting edited video clips of Booker saying opposite things, stripping all the nuance from Booker's larger point.
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This is about Booker's future, not Obama's: The damage is done, and Team Romney has its "dream talking point," says Steve Kornacki at Salon. "But that hardly means [Booker] made a mistake." As vital as it is for Obama to prove that "Romney's real expertise is in making investors rich," not creating jobs, Booker needs Wall Street's cash to run for Senate in 2014, or New Jersey governor, or the White House. He's betting that "the average Democratic voter's memory of his outburst will fade long before 2014 — but that the average Wall Street donor's won't."
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