After calling the Obama campaign’s repeated attacks on Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital “nauseating” during an interview Sunday, Newark mayor and Obama campaign surrogate Cory Booker released a video where he clarified his stance while reiterating his distaste with negative campaigning on both sides.
Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt subsequently distributed two heavily edited versions of the video that only included Mr. Booker saying “it is reasonable and, in fact, I encourage it, for the Obama campaign to examine” Mr. Romney’s business record because he has made it “a centerpiece of his campaign” and criticizing Mr. Romney as “not being completely honest” about his career. This morning, The Politicker sent Mr. LaBolt an email asking why he edited the video and what his response was to Mr. Booker’s call for both sides to stop the negative campaigning.
“Mayor Booker released the full video which was widely distributed – we highlighted the portion of the video in which he addressed whether or not a discussion of Mitt Romney’s private sector record was appropriate,” Mr. LaBolt wrote. “He made clear that it is – that it’s the central premise of Romney’s candidacy and that Romney had not accurately represented that record.”
We emailed with Mr. LaBolt after an Obama campaign conference call where the issue was discussed. On that call, Mr. LaBolt defended the campaign’s criticism of Mr. Romney’s work at Bain.
“We’re not questioning the purpose of the private equity business as a whole or Romney’s capacity to run a business as he saw fit,” he said. “We’re questioning what the values and lessons are from that experience and whether the economic philosophy that he demonstrated while he was a corporate buyout specialist is one that Americans would like to see in the Oval Office.”
Mr. LaBolt also pointed to the segment of Mr. Booker’s video that he highlighted as evidence Mr. Booker believes the Bain criticism is legitimate.
“As you know, Mayor Booker expanded upon his comments yesterday and he pointed out, in a similar fashion that we have today, that Romney has based his candidacy on his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist,” said Mr. LaBolt.
For some reason, we were unable to get in the queue to ask about the video during the call even though, at one point, Mr. LaBolt said they had no more “outstanding” questions. In his emails with us today, Mr. LaBolt answered our question and said he wasn’t sure what happened and they “took every questioner we saw pop up.”