Newark mayor Cory Booker has made a national name for himself for shoveling constituents’ snow, saving a neighbor from a fire, and even starring in a parody video portraying him as a super hero. Now, he’s got a new claim to fame: defender of Mitt Romney’s private equity firm, Bain Capital.
Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Booker criticized the Barack Obama re-election campaign’s attacks on the firm Romney led until 1999 (he still maintains a financial stake), as well as Republican attempts to resurrect the controversy over Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, which were revealed in a New York Times story this week.
“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides. It’s nauseating to the American public. Enough is enough. Stop attacking private equity, stop attacking Jeremiah Wright,” Booker toldNBC’s David Gregory. “This stuff has got to stop, because what it does is it undermines, to me, what this country should be focused on.”
Booker was referring to a series of videos the Obama campaign released last week, in key swing states, which feature former employees of companies Bain Capital bought, restructured, and either sold or closed down, costing people jobs.
In one video, a former employee of a Missouri steel mill bought by Bain describes what happened when the private equity firm took over.
“They made as much money off of it as they could. And they closed it down,” steelworker Joe Soptic says in the video. Another worker, Jack Cobb adds: “It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.”
Booker, whose state is home to many Wall Street workers, who live across the bridge from New York City, called attacks like those a “distraction from the real issues.”
And regarding the campaign, Booker, who said he is working with the Obama re-election effort, had a harsh assessment.
“It’s either going to be a small campaign about this crap, or it’s going to be a big campaign, in my opinion, that the American public cares about.”
TheGrio.com is a division of NBC News.