In a press conference today, Barack Obama argued that it was appropriate for his campaign to target Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital.
“This is not a distraction,” he said at the Chicago NATO Summit. “This is what this campaign’s going to be about.”
Although he acknowledged that some private-equity firms could be good, Obama emphasized that such firms were geared toward “maximiz[ing] profits.”
“When you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, your job is not simply to maximize profits,” Obama said. “Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. Your job is to think about those workers who got laid off, and how are we paying for their retraining. Your job is to think about how those communities can start creating new clusters so that they can start attracting new businesses.”
Attacking Bain, Obama argued, was fair since Romney was running on his business record. But he dismissed the idea that that business record helped qualify Romney to be president. “If your main argument to grow the economy is I knew how to make a lot of money for investors, then you’re missing what this job is about,” Obama remarked.
UPDATE: “President Obama confirmed today that he will continue his attacks on the free enterprise system, which Mayor Booker and other leading Democrats have spoken out against,” said Romney in a statement issued in response to Obama’s remarks.
“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 added. “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.”