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The Boston Obama press conference: Welcome to the circus

at 12:54 PM ET, 05/31/2012

Top Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod said Thursday that Mitt Romney’s stewardship of the Massachusetts economy shows how his career in private equity doesn’t prepare him to govern. But his message was drowned out by pro-Romney protesters.

“It wasn’t happenstance that Massachusetts struggled under Romney,” Axelrod said at a press conference in Boston, noting several negative statistics on the state’s performance during Romney’s four years as governor (more on that here). “He brought the orientation of a financial engineer” whose goal was to make money, added Axelrod.

“This may work in the world of leveraged buyouts and quick scores, but it’s not how you build for the future,” Axelrod said. “Romney economics didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.”

The press conference represented the Obama campaign’s effort to double down on defining Romney as a corporate raider. But that message has pivoted in recent days — thanks to Cory Booker — from focusing on employees laid off by Bain Capital to the idea that being in the private equity business doesn’t prepare one to be president. Obama allies insist the arguments anount to two parts of the same coin — that what Romney did at Bain and what he did as governor all speak to his instinct to defend his wealthy friends first and foremost.

The most notable aspect of Axelrod’s press conference, though, wasn’t what he had to say but rather the presence of pro-Romney protesters who occasionally drowned out the speaker and elicited several back-and-forths with Axelrod himself.

In contending with the protesters, Axelrod repeatedly gestured to them over the course of his remarks and told them that they were afraid of the truth.

“You can shout down speakers, but it’s hard to Etch-A-Sketch the truth away,” he said, referring to Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s ill-conceived Etch A Sketch comment during the primary season.

Axelrod also quipped: “These may be the only Romney voters in Massachusetts.”

 
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