Updated: 5:53 p.m.
President Barack Obama doubled down on attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital at a press conference at the NATO summit in Chicago today.
“This is not a distraction, this is what this campaign’s going to be about,” Obama said, contrasting his record with Romney’s record as a businessman and their proposed policies.
“I’ve got to think about those workers in that video just as much as I’m thinking about folks who’ve been much more successful,” Obama said in a reference to his campaign ads attacking Bain’s record at two shuttered companies that resulted in laying off workers and closed plants.
Obama dismissed Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s comment that the president’s campaign attacks on Bain were “nauseating.”
Obama said that private equity is “set up to maximize profits” and said that is a healthy part of a free market.
But “that’s not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers,” Obama said.
“His main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience,” Obama said of Romney. “He’s not going out there touting his experience in Massachusetts. He’s saying I’m a business guy and I know how to fix it, and this is his business. And when you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, your job is not simply to maximize profits,” Obama said. “Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.”
Obama took yet another dig at Romney.
“If your main argument for how to grow the economy is, ‘I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,’ then you’re missing what this job is about,” Obama said.
Obama’s comments came after his campaign spent the better part of two days dealing with Booker’s remarks, with Booker partially walking back his remarks and the Obama and Romney campaigns jousting on the cable networks.
Earlier today, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul ripped the Obama campaign attacks as the “latest attempt by the Obama campaign to distract Americans from the president’s abysmal record on jobs and the economy.”
Romney issued a statement later in the day.
“President Obama confirmed today that he will continue his attacks on the free enterprise system, which Mayor Booker and other leading Democrats have spoken out against," Romney said. "What this election is about is the 23 million Americans who are still struggling to find work and the millions who have lost their homes and have fallen into poverty. President Obama refuses to accept moral responsibility for his failed policies. My campaign is offering a positive agenda to help America get back to work.”