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August 30, 2014, 4:10 am

Why Cory Booker’s remarks were wrong

Newark Mayor Cory Booker was wrong in likening Republican attacks on President Obama’s former relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright to Democratic attacks on Mitt Romney’s record on running a private equity firm.

“This kind of stuff is nauseating to me on both sides,” said Booker Sunday on “Meet the Press. “It’s nauseating to the American public.”

Booker also touted the president’s pro-business record and pointed out that nearly “90 percent of Americans have seen tax cuts under this president. He added that Mitt Romney “would have let the auto industry fail.”

But Booker should have known that as an Obama campaign surrogate he went way off message and gave the perception of appearing to defend Romney’s work at Bain Capital, a private equity firm he help found in 1984.

Later in the week, Booker attempted to backtrack from his initial message and posted a video on YouTube to clarify his earlier remarks.

Booker’s clarification made a lot more sense.

“Mitt Romney has made his business record a centerpiece of his campaign,” said Booker. “He has talked about himself as a job creator. Therefore, it is reasonable for the Obama campaign to examine that record and discuss it.”

Romney can not have it both ways. He can not tout his business experience as the central reason for voters to elect him as president and then cry foul when that record is examined and criticized.

He cannot accuse the Obama campaign of attacking the free enterprise system when it is clear that the attack is on Romney’s record as a venture capitalist.

It is fair for the Obama campaign to point out that Bain, the firm Romney led for a quarter-century, took over some companies only to close them or let them fail, costing jobs and hurting communities.

There is also the question of how does Romney experience as a CEO where he has to maximize corporate profits make him the best candidate for setting policies to help create jobs in a national economy? The evidence does not suggest that CEOs necessarily make great politicians, let alone great presidents. Former President George W. Bush is a graduate of Harvard Business School and successfully ran for president as an experienced businessman, but few would consider him to be a great president.

However the main argument against Romney is that he is proposing the same economic policies of deregulation and no tax increases on the rich that led to the economic crisis.