Top spokesmen for the Obama and Romney campaigns tussled over Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s criticism of Democrats’ attacks on Bain Capital as “nauseating” in back-to-back appearances on MSNBC Monday.
“In this particular instance, [Booker] was just wrong” Axelrod told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “There were specific instances here that speak to an economic theory that isn’t the right theory for the country.”
Axelrod added that “I love Cory Booker,” and joked that “He’s a great mayor. If my house was on fire, I’d hope he was my next door neighbor,” a reference to a recent episode in which Booker rescued a constituent from a burning building.
Axelrod reiterated that Bain Capital was fair game given Romney’s focus on his private-sector record.
“Gov. Romney offers his business experience as his principal and really his chief credential for running for office. He never talks about his years as Massachusetts governor and I think for good reason because they weren’t stellar years,” Axelrod said. “This is his argument: ‘I was a businessman. I can lead the economy.’ So it behooves us to ask exactly, ‘What did you do?’ Some of these cases are disturbing and deserve to be looked at.”
Appearing afterword, top Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom praised Booker’s denunciation of Obama’s attack ads from his “Meet the Press” appearance Sunday, ignoring Booker’s follow-up video in which he criticized Romney’s claim that he created jobs at Bain.
“I agree with Mayor Booker, who said that these attacks against Bain Capital and free enterprise are nauseating,” he said. “I think people deserve better from the president. After all, he promised if he didn’t get this economy turned around in three and a half years he’d be a one-term president, and Mitt Romney is here to collect.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.