Former New Hampshire governor John H. Sununu (R), a top surrogate for Mitt Romney, said Tuesday that he believes the presumptive GOP nominee’s tenure at Bain Capital is fair game on the campaign trail – so long as one doesn’t “cherry pick” certain parts of the record.
“I think that the Bain record as a whole is fair game,” Sununu told reporters on a conference call organized by the Romney campaign.
He contended that Romney had a “good batting average” on the whole when it comes to his tenure at the helm of the private equity firm and accused the Obama camp of painting Bain Capital as “evil” by focusing in its campaign ads solely on the cases of failed companies.
Those attacks represent “an effort of President Obama to hide his failed presidency from America,” Sununu said.
Sununu’s remarks stood in contrast to those of another top Romney surrogate, Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock, who in a CNN interview Tuesday morning repeatedly declined to say whether she thought Romney’s Bain record was fair game.
“When you have Bain Capital, 80 percent of their companies were very successful, which is far better than the president’s record in investing taxpayer money in failed companies for his friends and contributors,” Comstock told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien.
Danny Kanner, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, responded in an e-mailed statement that Sununu’s “dishonest attacks ignore the reality of Mitt Romney’s record in the public and private sectors: His focus wasn’t on creating jobs, it was about creating wealth for himself and his investors, no matter the cost to workers, companies or communities.”
The ramped-up debate over Bain comes as the Obama campaign is continuing its assault on Romney’s private equity background. President Obama on Monday night defended his campaign attacks, arguing at a news conference in Chicago that the goal of private equity is to maximize profits, and “that’s not always going to be good for businesses or communities or workers.”
The Obama campaign’s message got somewhat muddled, however, when Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) on Sunday decried the Democratic attacks on Bain as “nauseating” and equated them with GOP ads focused on Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
In defending Romney on Tuesday, Sununu borrowed some of the language Democrats have used in criticizing the ads, arguing that they amount to an “attack that is in fact embarrassing, nauseating and disappointing Democrats.”
Sununu also directed some of his fire at Vice President Biden, who is holding an event in New Hampshire on Tuesday. Sununu said that Biden should explain to the students he is addressing in Keene why the Obama administration’s policies “screwed them so badly,” seizing on recent reports that as many as 50 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed.
This post has been updated since it was first published.