Those surrogates in speaking truth about private equity, aboutthe free market, are a pretty brilliant piece of advertisementthere that was put together, said former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Sean Hannity s Fox News show Monday. Well, presidential campaigns are giant, slow-moving weathersystems, and in the end, Booker s comments will be just a slightdrop in air pressure over a few square miles, or a wind thatruffles a grove of trees. In other words, its effect on Obama svote will probably be undetectable. |
That s true for other flapletsas well, such as the Etch A Sketch reset for the general election comment from a Romney adviser. That said, an effect can be real even if it is undetectable. And atthe moment, Booker appears to have damaged the Obama campaign sefforts to define Mr. Romney in the early weeks of thegeneral-election race. Plus, he s done so at a time when pollsshow the gap between the two contenders narrowing.
In defending private-equity firms, Booker has made it harder forthe Obama team to assert that Romney s Bain record is fair game.Worse, he s also made it easier for Romney to frame the Bainattacks as an attack on free enterprise, instead of Bain sspecific record. Obama on Monday insisted that he s not going after venturecapitalism in general, but Romney s stewardship of Bain. Romneyhas made his business experience the centerpiece of his electoralargument to the American people, said Obama, and it s fair to lookat that experience in detail. When you re president, as opposed to the head of aprivate-equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximizeprofits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country hasa fair shot, Obama said in Chicago at a NATO press conference.
But Romney is responding as if Obama is putting capitalism itselfin the dock, and he s using Booker s comments to help make hiscase. President Obama confirmed today that he will continue his attackson the free enterprise system, which Mayor Booker and other leadingDemocrats have spoken out against, said Romney in a statementMonday. At issue here is the Obama campaign s effort to define Romneybefore Romney has a chance to define himself. Reelection races aregenerally about the incumbent s performance, and given the weakeconomy, Obama would be better off if his opponent s record cansomehow be dragged into the electoral conversation. Right now, Obama and Romney are tied on probably the preeminentquestion of the election: who is better to handle the economy.That s the finding of one new major poll, anyway.
The Washington Post / ABC News survey finds voters split, 47 percent to 47 percent, over which ofthe November contenders can best handle economic issues. Overall, Obama maintains a narrow 49 to 46 percent edge, according to the Post/ABC poll .
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