Reactions to Bill Clinton’s Bain Capital bombshell are beginning to come in. Appearing on CNBC this morning, Mitt Romney thanked the former President for his kind words about the company saying, “I’m happy President Clinton called my record superb.”
In his appearance on CNNlast night, Clinton made a point of saying that the work done at BainCapital was “good.” He also referred to Romney’s record as “sterling.”This directly undercuts a line of attack the White House had beenpushing with attack ads that described Bain Capital as a “vampire.”
Clinton’s remarks don’t seem open to misinterpretation, but that hasn’t stopped the White House from trying to spin them.Asked for reaction by CNN, an unnamed White House spokesman tried tofocus on one line in which Clinton criticized some private equity tactics.However, this misses the thrust of Clinton’s remarks, which were decidedlypositive toward Bain and Romney’s work history. Here’s the exchange from last night:
Clinton: When you try, like anything else you try, you don’t always succeed. Not every movie you made was a smash hit.
Guest Host Weinstein: That’s for sure.
Clinton: So, I don’t think we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work. This is good work.
Clinton’s decision to break ranks is alreadycreating new wrinkles the White House will need to iron out. Appearingon CNBC this morning, Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) was asked about Clinton’s remarksand had this to say (video below):
I think PresidentClinton is correct. Private equity is a very important aspect of growingour economy. Obviously there’s good practices in private equity; thereare bad practices. You criticize bad practices but not the wholeenterprise itself.
The White House is going to have a tough time spinning its way out of this.