Media pushes story of Obama’s attacks on Romney’s business experience
By Patricia Campion
When Newark Mayor Cory Booker called the president’s attack ads against Mitt Romney “nauseating” on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday night, it was a Democrat gaffe made in Republican heaven. But, you have to hand it to the folks at NBC. They sure know how to load a good story bullet and shoot themselves in the foot.
By Monday morning, having determined Booker’s comments to be “unexpected and rather confusing,” Steve Benen had slapped his clumsy denial/obfuscation post on The Maddow Blog.
“I’ve seen no evidence of Democrats attacking private equity,” Benen wrote.
Perhaps if Benen stopped sucking his thumb long enough to speak to Stephen Schwarzman, CEO and co-founder of the Blackstone Group, he’d learn a thing-or-two about what it’s been like at private equity firms since Barack Obama became president.
“It’s a war,” The Daily Beast quoted Schwarzman saying in July 2010 regarding the increasing taxes Obama was imposing on private-equity firms. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”
Additionally, if he wasn’t so busy applauding Obama’s $447 billion jobs plan in 2011, Benen would have realized that the president planned to pay for it by ending the carried interest tax, essentially raising the taxes on private-equity-fund managers from a capital gains rate of 15 percent to an ordinary income tax rate of 35 percent.
Evidently, Benen prefers editing the information that goes in to his own brain as well as what information he wants others to receive.
Then there’s Benen’s assumption that Booker’s “walk-back was no doubt welcome news” to the Obama campaign. It seemed more of a personal exhale. And his supposition, that “it may be a while before Booker lives this one down,” that was more like a private wish.
According to Booker, during his interview with NBC’s Rachel Maddow Monday night — while the “more cynical folks” in Obama’s camp “probably wanted the president to go on the attack” — Obama had only “kind words” to say to him.
Still, feeling compelled to personally absolve Booker for his “mistake,” Zachary Roth of NBC’s Lean Forward improvised “a quick rundown” of what Booker said to Maddow and translated what he was “really trying to say on Meet the Press.”
Curiously, in reading the missives by Roth and Benen, it becomes apparent. It isn’t so much what Booker said that grinds their backsides but rather that the Romney campaign capitalized on what he said.
Sadly, NBC’s chosen come-back – casting Booker as another Romney “victim” – is flawed.
“Here they are plucking soundbytes out of that interview to manipulate them in a cynical manner, to use them for their own purposes,” Booker said dutifully to Maddow’s lead. “I’m very upset that I’m being used by the GOP this way.”
But what about the Obama campaign’s soundbyte plucking?
As evidenced by Politico, Booker had released a You Tube video to clarify his comments. However, when the Obama campaign released a 35-second version Booker’s near four-minute original, they kept his expressions of praise and support for Obama but omitted his reiterations of being “frustrated” by the “nauseating” attack ads.
Then there is this. The more those like Benen at NBC try to paint Romney as some malevolent money monger who flipped businesses for profit, while “treating thousands of laid-off workers as collateral damage,” the more Democrats there are coming out in Romney’s defense.
Bain was “very successful,” the Washington Examiner quoted Virginia’s former venture capitalist Democratic Rep. Mark Warner saying. They “did what they were supposed to do.”
Buzz Feed reported that — while he admires Booker for telling the truth – Pennsylvania’s former Democrat Gov. Ed Rendell finds Obama’s Bain Capital attack ads “disappointing.”
ABC even quoted Obama’s former economic adviser, Steven Rattner, calling Obama’s attack ads “unfair.”
“Bain Capital’s responsibility was not to create 100,000 jobs or some other number. It was to create profits for its investors,” Rattner explained. “It did it superbly well, acting within the rules, acting very responsibly.”
Of course there’s Alexander Burns of Politico. He crammed Booker and any other “pro-Bain” Democrat into his liberal blender on Tuesday gleefully hit frappe.
Honestly, what is it with the “more cynical folks” like Benen, Roth, Maddow and Burns? Why are they so hell-bent on making Booker do a daily perp-walk for daring to say he’s tired of hearing politicians — including Obama — attacking each other rather than focusing on the real issues facing our country? Why do they seem so unwilling to let this story go, sending it back through their agenda wringer until it is cleansed of all genuine honesty?
Consider this. When Laura Conaway posted a “rush transcript of key bits from his conversation with Rachel” on The Maddow Blog, she omitted Booker’s lingering opinion that his side — “which can sometimes go too far” — and the other side, should “stop the negative campaigning.”
So, really — when you think about it — who’s manipulating who?
Better yet, is it Booker — or you — they’re manipulating?
Patricia Campion is a freelance journalist and blogger in Tampa. Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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