Axelrod fires back at Cory Booker for his defense of Bain Capital

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But Sunday on Meet The Press, Newark, New Jersey Mayor and Obama surrogate Cory Booker said such attacks should be off limits, calling them "nauseating." Team Obama forcefully responded to Booker by saying, in essence, With All Due Respect Cory, you're on your own on that one.

Speaking to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, David Axelrod said Booker was wrong to criticize the Obama camp's campaign against Romney.

"I love Cory Booker. He's a great mayor," Axelrod said. "If my house was on fire, I'd hope he was my next door neighbor." (Booker famously rescued a neighbor from a house fire.) But, he said, "There were specific instances here that speak to an economic theory that isn't the right theory for the country."

In Salon, political analyst Steve Kornacki speculates that Booker, a Democrat with national ambitions, wants to play nice with Wall Street so he can get their financial support when he runs for a U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey in 2014.

Booker?s actions on Sunday are best understood in that context. In sticking up for private equity, he was tending to a financial base that?s been there for him before and that he?ll need in the future. Running ads in the New York and Philadelphia markets is an expensive proposition, so Booker will need a ton of cash for a statewide run. And in rushing to clarify (but not exactly retract) what he said, Booker was trying to contain the damage with a Democratic Party base that likes Obama and has no problem with his attacks on Bain.

Right before the Florida Republican primary in late January, Florida Democrats trotted out a couple of people personally hurt when Bain Capital took over the companies where they were working.

Bain, of course, is the private equity firm that Mitt Romney ran from 1984-1999, and where he earned his reputation, for better or worse, as being a skilled businessman.

It wasn't the first time the issue had been used by Democrats against Romney. In fact, one of the people CL interviewed in late January, Randy Johnson, has been quoted as a critic of Bain as far back as 1994, the first time Romney ran for public office (losing a Massachusetts Senate battle against Ted Kennedy).

Johnson worked at American Pad and Paper. But after Bain took over, the company laid off workers, cut wages, slashed health care benefits and eliminated the retirement plan. After workers went on strike, Bain closed the factory and laid off 250 workers.

It's always been used as a talking point to bash Romney. In fact, Republicans Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich took up the same argument against Romney during the campaign season.

And as Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Monday with the release of a video on Monday, Johnson makes a compelling case, because of Romney's boasts that he's a proven job creator.

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