Did Anderson Cooper do it again? A few weeks ago I wrote about Anderson Cooper taking on a Moveon.org editor and their face claim that the GOP is waging a "war on women" (Link). This time Cooper takes on Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt about Team Obama using Mitt Romney's time at Bain capital against Romney while Obama accepts donations from private equity firms. I don't care what side you're on; truth is the most important thing. Regardless of Cooper's normal political platform (many claim he is left, but probably not as strong left as most), it is good to see him fighting the fight for truth. Watch the video, and see for yourself.
The article highlights:
"One criticism of the Bain attack has been the notion that it’s hypocritical for the President to attack Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, yet raise money from private equity donors like Blackstone Group president Tony James, and Obama bundler Jonathan Lavine, currently a managing director at Bain. It’s an obvious line of attack that’s been kicking around for a week now, and was the subject of Anderson Cooper‘s first question to Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt on tonight’s AC360."
It seems, as the write-up correctly states, that LaBolt's rebuttals are simple talking points that are hypocritical in nature and, well, frankly a large stretch of the truth. It seems the Obama campaign wants to hammer home the tie between Mitt Romney and this faux evil they have made out of Wall Street and private equity firms. They know the majority of American population has little knowledge of how private equity works, but they can paint a ridiculously scary and negative picture about the finance field as a whole. Obama does this with the whole "millionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries" lie, too (Link).
To expand the claim that Obama's campaign receives donations from private equity, check out this article highlighting that some of Obama's biggest donors in 2008 were private equity firms: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/228795-obama-raised-35m-from-private-equity-in-2008. Sure, it's 2012, but this article highlights just how strong Obama was then while the jury is out on private equity donations for this general election cycle.
Knowing the anti-private equity tirades might hurt him, Obama and the left have apparently changed their stance slightly. Just as The Hill's analysis states that private equity is a large Obama backer, I don't think Obama wants to bite the hand that feeds him. At first, the Obama campaign painted private equity as "vampires" and "corporate raiders." Now the argument seems to be that PE is essential and necessary, but in keeping with the negative attack on Mitt, the former governor's success in PE doesn't equate to success in the White House. It seems this is a classic case of trying to have it both ways.
Has anyone else noticed this? If not, here is a quick synopsis:
Obama's team (Obama for America) pushed out Romney Economics (http://www.romneyeconomics.com) - a scathing set (HUGE stretches with regards to truth, and chop video clips at best) of campaign websites and videos against Romney's time at Bain, but now it (and the Obama campaign in general) has softened its tone and claims basically, "oh, yah, private equity is just fine... Mitt Romney is just unqualified."
Check out Joe Biden's speech here: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/05/biden-private-equity-is-no-more-of-a-wh-qualification-124217.html
"Your job as president is to promote the common good. That doesn't mean the private equity guys are bad guys. They are not," he said in a campaign speech in Keene, N.H. "But that no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber. And, by the way, there are a lot of awful smart plumbers."
This is coming from the "team" that made sure Mitt Romney was labeled a vampire in their recent campaign videos: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/obama-ad-calls-mitt-romneys-bain-capital-firm-a-vampire/2012/05/14/gIQA25BdOU_blog.html?wprss=rss_campaigns
So which is it... is Romney a vampire and private equity is bad? Or is Romney a "good guy" and private equity is good... when Obama needs donations? If Team Obama wants us to believe that private equity is good, but a guy that did very, very well at it is bad, I'd seriously hope that Team Obama doesn't think Americans are really that easily pushed over.
Is it okay, as Anderson Cooper points out, to "attack Mitt Romney on his time at Bain, highlighting only times when Bain cost companies jobs, and at the same time hold high priced fund raisers with the head of another private equity firm that’s done work with Bain, the Blackstone Group, there are people who have worked at other private equity firms in his own administration?”
What do YOU think?