The shelf life of President Obama’s Bain Capital strategy appears to be rapidly shrinking.
Less than two weeks after Newark Mayor Cory Booker caused the Obama campaign plenty of heartburn by calling on it to “stop attacking private equity,” the biggest name in Democratic politics (outside of Obama) has lodged his own torpedo.
Bill Clinton, in an appearance on CNN last night, said that Mitt Romney has a “sterling business career” and that the campaign shouldn’t be about what kind of work Romney did.
“I don’t think we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work; this is good work,” Clinton said, adding: “There’s no question that, in terms of getting up, going to the office, and basically performing the essential functions of the office, a man who’s been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold.”
Clinton urged the Obama campaign to instead focus on contrasting its vision for the country with Romney’s. His comments came at the tail end of a day in which another Obama surrogate, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), called Bain a “a perfectly fine company.”
Obama’s campaign has shifted its message from attacking Bain’s handling of certain companies to talking broadly about how being in the private equity business doesn’t prepare one to be president. But Clinton’s comments appear to undermine both arguments.
He’s saying both that Romney’s business career is an asset, and that when it’s combined with his term as governor, there’s little doubt that he’s qualified to be president.
In the end, the result of the Obama campaign’s focus on Bain has been little-to-no traction in the polls and what has become a highlight reel of Democratic heavies praising both Bain and Romney’s business career.
One has to wonder how much longer it will continue.
Updated at 7:46 p.m.: Clinton has offered an addendum to his comments on CNN.
“I said, you know, Gov. Romney had a good career in business and he was a governor, so he crosses the qualification threshold for him being president. But he shouldn’t be elected, because he is wrong on the economy and all these other issues.
“So today, because I didn’t attack him personally and bash him, I wake up to read all these stories taking it out of context as if I had virtually endorsed him, which means the tea party has already won their first great victory: ‘We are supposed to hate each to disagree.’ That is wrong.”