Axelrod Chides Booker For Defending Romney

By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown
By: CNN Posted By Doug Brown

(CNN) – David Axelrod, the president's senior campaign strategist, scorned fellow Democrat and Obama supporter Cory Booker after the Newark mayor defended Mitt Romney this weekend.

"In this particular instance, he was just wrong" Axelrod said Monday in an interview with MSNBC.

Following a week of intense attacks from Obama's team over Romney's former private equity firm, Bain Capital, Booker on Sunday described the criticism as "nauseating" and called for an end to negative campaigning. The mayor also referenced scrutiny of Bain from some within Romney's own party.

"If you look at the totality of Bain Capital's record, they've done a lot to support businesses, to grow businesses, and this, to me, I'm very uncomfortable with," Booker said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Shortly after his interview, however, the rising Democratic star released a web video walking back his remarks and saying examination of Romney's corporate background was fair game.

"It is reasonable, and in fact I encourage it, for the Obama campaign to examine that record and discuss it. I have no problem with that," Booker said.

On Monday, Axelrod emphasized the mayor was "wrong" with his earlier comments. Asked if Booker was contacted by someone in the campaign or the White House over his original remarks, Axelrod said, "Well I think he probably heard from a lot of people who feel that it's a legitimate issue."

Axelrod said Romney frequently talks about his experience in the private sector and made the case that the firm should be a fair target in Romney's record.

"People admire success, they understand that business succeed and businesses fail, but what they don't like is when people at the top walk away with enormous riches and people down the line are left holding the bag," Axelrod said.

On Monday, Obama's campaign again went on the Bain offensive, releasing a new documentary-style video showcasing the stories of three workers laid off from Ampad, a paper plant that went bankrupt after being bought out by Bain.

Romney has repeatedly fended off jabs over Bain. Last week, he said Obama's campaign was committing "character assassination" and argued his former firm's job was to invest in companies and make them grow.

"There's this fiction that some have that somehow you can be highly successful by stripping assets from enterprise and walking away with lots of money and killing the enterprise. There may be some people who know how to do that. I sure don't," Romney said in Florida.

Bain also responded on Monday, releasing a statement decrying the recent ads and touting the firm's successes.

"Despite political attacks that emphasize the few companies that have struggled, the facts are that during Bain Capital's ownership, revenues grew in 80 percent of the more than 350 companies in which we have invested," the statement read.

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