(WASHINGTON) — President Obama’s re-election campaign is doing some damage control after a top surrogate Sunday sharply criticized a major Democratic assault on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat and high-profile Obama supporter, said in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press that he is “very uncomfortable” with an anti-Bain, anti-Romney ad campaign launched aggressively last week.
“If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record they’ve done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses. And this, to me, I’m very uncomfortable with,” Booker said.
The Obama campaign has been trying to portray Romney and Bain as a band of corporate raiders out to maximize profits at the expense of workers and their families — not create jobs.
“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides,” Booker said. “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. ”
The Republican National Committee pounced on Booker’s comments, swiftly blasting them out by email with a video clip meant to highlight dissention within the Democratic ranks.
Shortly thereafter, Booker took to Twitter to try to clarify his remarks, saying in successive messages that he is tired of what he called a negative, divisive tone in politics — a sentiment he believes Obama shares.
“So I’ll clarify my comments on MTP [Meet the Press]. Yes, Obama must be re-elected. But we as a Nation owe it to him & ourselves 2 reject politics as usual,” he wrote.
But apparently Booker — or Obama campaign aides — felt that he didn’t go far enough. Later Sunday evening, Booker and the campaign circulated a brief impromptu web video of Booker further clarifying his comment directly to camera from behind an office desk.
“Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign. He’s talked about himself as a job creator and therefore it is reasonable, and I encourage it, for the Obama campaign to examine that record and to discuss it,” Booker said in the video, clearly backpedaling from his earlier comments.
“I have no problem with that,” he said.
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