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Fri May 25, 2012, 01:30 PM

Joe Klein: Obama stumbles? Why the President's Right to Talk About Bain

The meme of the day in journo-world is that President Obama has stumbled at the outset of the general election campaign. The evidence for this? Well, uh, there isn’t very much, really–except that a few Democrats have criticized his campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital and that Obama’s fundraising is merely humongous, instead of obscenely humongous. The two phenomena are linked, of course: Obama isn’t getting the usual haul from Wall Street because he has outrageously–outrageously!–tried to regulate the bankers who did so much to crash the economy in 2008. The handful of Democrats squawking are people who either (a) get money from private equity firms or (b) have retired and joined Mondo Casino. But there is another side to this story:

I suspect that these Bain attacks are working. Indeed, I suspect the reason that the Obama campaign–and the President himself in an extraordinary moment at the NATO press conference last week–is so adamant about pursuing this tactic is that it (a) lays the predicate for the anti-Romney campaign to come and (b) has been extremely effective with focus groups. And so, what we may be seeing here is the exact opposite of a stumble.

But are the attacks fair? No and yes. The job losses associated with the private equity brand of capitalism are, in fact, the least important long-term aspect of the story. It’s true, contra Krugman today (although Paul is absolutely right about his larger point, the bogus nature of the bankers’ narrative), that a great many American companies had become stagnant and bloated in the 1970s and that transitions had to be made to keep them profitably, especially in the area of information technology, and these transitions wiped out a lot of middle management jobs but made those companies more productive. Consultants like Bain suddenly became prominent and profitable because they helped companies through this transition.

Romney took Bain to the next logical step–investing in companies that Bain improved. There was nothing wrong, and much that was right, about this in each individual case. Romney is telling the truth as he sees it: sometimes these investments didn’t work out, but often they did and the profits were huge. It’s also true that sharkier sorts, seeing the profits that could be wrung up in debt for equity swaps, jumped into the market in a far less responsible way than Bain had and engaged in the vulture capitalism–we’ll always be grateful to Rick Perry for that term–that has helped to hollow out the economy.

Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2012/05/25/obama-stumbles/?iid=sl-main-arenapage

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Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 01:34 PM

1. I am so sick and tired of the MSM repeating false memes like this. Politico wrote an article

claiming Obama "stumbles out the gate" and it's being repeated over and over and over on MSNBC and probably everywhere else in the "news." I can't wait for the debates.

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Response to jenmito (Reply #1)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:02 PM

2. The Bain attacks must be working.

If what the President is doing is classified as "stumbling" I hope he stumbles his way right back to a second term.

Mr Prez is telling the truth. Some people can't handle the truth.

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Response to jenmito (Reply #1)

Fri May 25, 2012, 02:03 PM

3. Me, too! Klein's refers to and links Politico's article in his blog post. Go, Joe!

Politico's definitely trying to peddle this crap. They are, as Arianna wrongly said about Obama's bin Laden ad, 'despicable!'

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Response to jenmito (Reply #1)

Fri May 25, 2012, 05:37 PM

5. Politico has always leaned to the right.

They can't be trusted.

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Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 04:14 PM

4. Keep rolling right over the top of these people Mr President. No fear. THAT is where we have

stumbled by letting the MSM set the tone and the tenor of the campaigns. Kerry paid attention to this type of nonsense and the Bushes rolled right over him like a tank.

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Response to demgrrrll (Reply #4)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 06:07 PM

8. Well, thankfully Obama values and respects Kerry

than most here ever do.

Thankfully Obama appointed some Kerry people to run his 08 campaign.

The GOP loves it when we eat our own.

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Response to politicasista (Reply #8)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 02:45 PM

12. Wow, do I every resent your comment. I walked my legs into the ground for Kerry put my heart

and soul into the campaign for 6 months, walked door to door, called, I can't begin to tell you how hard I worked to get him elected.
that does not mean he and his campaign made the right decisions about how to respond to critical remarks. Does your experience compare?. Why didn't you ask for clarification of my remarks before you decided what my thought process entailed.

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Response to demgrrrll (Reply #12)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 04:55 PM

14. Ok, it just seemed like

it was a slam on the Senator in praise of the POTUS. Some (not all) here (and in social land) have been throwing shade at Gore and Kerry and boasting how "Obama won't take sh-t" and does things better than Kerry and Gore ever did.

Ok, the POTUS is a dynamic Dem/candidate, but what did Gore and Kerry do to Obama? Nothing. They are trying to help, not hurt Obama and some don't want to see that, but if Obama is attacked, then it must be some other Dem's fault. IDGI

No dis to all you did for Kerry and good for you. Just making an observation of what it here from time to time.

If this post was offensive, apologies, that wasn't the intent. Peace.

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Response to politicasista (Reply #14)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 06:29 PM

15. No problem. We can all express ourselves freely here.

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Response to demgrrrll (Reply #15)

Wed Jun 13, 2012, 03:06 AM

16. Thank you n/t

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Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Fri May 25, 2012, 08:12 PM

6. Now that people don't trust their own eyes and ears . . .

The MSM just feeds them a skewed view. Wait for the debates and see how they spin that.

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Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Sat May 26, 2012, 01:24 AM

7. I completely agree with the point about focus groups. The Bain attack must have gone over

big time with them and that is why the Obama campaign is keeping it up.

Joe Scar has been talking this line of attack up all week, trying to make Booker some kind of saint. I keep thinking that he is desperate. Say ANYTHING!

There must be widespread PANIC among the repukes!

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Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 06:56 PM

9. The president is absolutely right to talk about Bain...

Fuck those corporate whore Dems who say otherwise.

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Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Thu Jun 7, 2012, 11:48 PM

10. The exposure of Bain Capital's fraudulent activities

are resonating in the swing states. Keep up the fight Mr. President!

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Response to Dawson Leery (Reply #10)


Response to flpoljunkie (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 03:22 PM

13. Obama camp should be talking about Bain and Mitten's jobs record day and night

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