CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday defended his criticism of presumptive Republican presidential Mitt Romney’s ties to the private equity firm Bain Capital, saying it was rightly part of the campaign debate because Romney himself was emphasizing his business background.
Obama said he has no problems with private equity firms in general. “There are folks who do good work in that area,” he said. “There are times when they identify the capacity for the economy to create new jobs for new industries.”
Obama’s re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee are running political television ads portraying the former Massachusetts governor as a corporate raider. The spots emphasize layoffs and bankruptcies at some of the companies bought by Bain, which Romney co-founded.
Still, at a news conference closing a NATO summit in Chicago, Obama said the main mission of private equity companies is to “maximize profits” for themselves and their investors.
“That’s part of the role of a lot of business people. That’s not unique to private equity,” he said.
But he said a president’s job is to worry about everybody, not just some.
Maximizing profits is “not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers,” the president said. “And the reason this is relevant to the campaign is because my opponent, Gov. Romney, his main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience.”
In a statement, Romney characterized Obama’s comments as more “attacks on the free enterprise system.”
“What this election is about is the 23 million Americans who are still struggling to find work and the millions who have lost their homes and have fallen into poverty,” Romney said. “President Obama refuses to accept moral responsibility for his failed policies. My campaign is offering a positive agenda to help America get back to work.”
Obama was asked about comments Sunday by Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker criticizing the president for his attacks on Bain. Obama called Booker an “outstanding mayor … helping to turn that city around.”
During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Booker said he found such attack ads “nauseating to me on both sides” and called them a “distraction from the real issues.”
Later, however, Booker released a YouTube video in which he said it is “reasonable” for the Obama campaign to examine Romney’s record since Romney himself has made it “a centerpiece of his campaign.” Booker said his earlier remarks were intended to express his “profound frustration” with negative campaigning and reiterated his own support for Obama.
Romney headed the Boston-based Bain in the late 1980s. He has said that the experience, plus his leadership in running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, had given him the business knowhow to enable him to create jobs and revive the struggling U.S. economy. His opponents, including former GOP rivals, have focused instead on job losses as a result of Bain takeovers.
“I think it’s important to recognize that this issue is not a, quote, ‘distraction,'” Obama said in Chicago. “This is part of the debate that we’re going to be having in this election campaign about how do we create an economy where everybody from top to bottom, folks on Wall Street and folks on main street, have a shot at success.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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