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Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 in Politics | 22 comments

Former Obama Official Defends Romney on Bain Capital

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WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney is running into headwinds in his own party for, of all things, being a successful capitalist. Newt Gingrich, in fact, has walked his charges back, while his Super PAC has not. The other news on Newt Gingrich is that he is now leading Mitt Romney by only 2 points. From The Hill:

Romney is the favorite of 23 percent of South Carolina voters, narrowly edging Newt Gingrich’s 21 percent, according to the latest poll from Insider Advantage. Rick Santorum pulls 14 percent of Palmetto state voters, while Ron Paul rounds out the top four with 13 percent. Jon Huntsman’s seven percent and Rick Perry’s five percent trail the pack. – Poll: Romney slipping in South Carolina, holds just 2 point lead over Gingrich

However, Tuesday on “Morning Joe”, Steve Rattner, a former Obama administration official, known as the Obama Administration’s Car Czar and Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury, defended Mitt Romney on Bain Capital, saying it’s not at all what either Gingrich or Perry are implying.

It’s not going to make Obama the re-election campaign very happy, because Democrats are depending heavily on their own negative Bain Capital campaign, which says the same things as anti-Romney conservatives.

“Fair is fair. … But I think these attacks are unfair. I think Mitt Romney, not only had a very successful career throughout business, but Bain Capital is a terrific, first class firm. Managing money mostly for foundations, for endowments, for pension funds on behalf of exactly the people Rick Perry thinks he’s trying to harm, and they had a great record with 80 or 90 investments, all of which made a lot of money for their investors… and he did it in a perfectly honorably, appropriate way. … – Steve Rattner, on “Morning Joe” (comes at around 3:11 in video above)

I’ve written several tough pieces on Stephen Rattner, most recently when he said he might write a check to Scott Brown, because Elizabeth Warren was “on the wrong side of a lot these issues.” But this is someone who is considered a Wall Street whiz, whose wife, Maureen White, has raised millions for Democrats, and someone who is going to vote for Obama in November.

Let me also say something about Mitt Romney’s Mormonism in conjunction with his ethics, business and personal. There has never been a hint of impropriety in his life. This guy comes off stiff for a reason. He is, but he’s also deeply righteous, which is rooted in his religion, with the ethics of faith part of his business life as well. Like all fundamentalist faiths, Mormonism is very rigid, which also acts as the set backdrop for Romney’s entire life. But there is a reason I’ve labeled him Mr. Ice (Barack Obama is Mr. Cool), which also comes out of his Mormon faith that is rooted in rules not compassion, which will be fully seen once everyone reads the new Vanity Fair article, The Dark Side of Mitt Romney.

Come November, if Mitt Romney is the nominee and still has problems, it will be a lot larger than Bain Capital.

Think of candidate Barack Obama and what he weathered on Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, but also his thin record.

Bill Clinton made it through bimbo eruptions that made “60 Minutes,” after a lounge singer produced the tapes and bragged of a long-term affair.

Anyone counting on Bain being the knockout blow on Mitt Romney is engaging in wishful thinking. It’s more likely to come through gaffes like “I like firing people…” which besides making him sound like a mean SOB, hits people emotionally that Romney doesn’t care about them, making Mitt unlikable.

Statements like this won’t help either, from Greg Sargent:

QUESTIONER: When you said that we already have a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy, I’m curious about the word envy. Did you suggest that anyone who questions the policies and practices of Wall Street and financial institutions, anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country, is envious? Is it about jealousy, or fairness?

ROMNEY: You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on 99 percent versus one percent, and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent, you have opened up a wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God. The American people, I believe in the final analysis, will reject it.

Mitt Romney’s wrong. It’s not about envy, it’s about fundamental fairness and a playing field that people feel guys like him stack against them. If anything, this country’s long overdue for a little class warfare, if that’s what you want to call an argument meant to stir people that the middle class is being carved away.

Taylor Marsh is the author of the new e-book, The Hillary Effect – Politics, Sexism and the Destiny of Loss, which is now available in print on Amazon. Marsh is a veteran political analyst and commentator. She has reported from the White House, been profiled in the Washington Post, The New Republic, and has been seen on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English and Al Jazeera Arabic, as well as on radio across the dial and on satellite, including the BBC. Marsh lives in the Washington, D.C. area. This column is cross posted from her new media blog.