So much for Barack Obama’s nastiness about Mitt Romney’s career in developing private equity. It turns out in his ascent to power Obama was not shy about extolling the virtues of private equity if it served his purpose.
When he was a state senator in Illinois in 2003, Obama gave a speech before the Illinois Senate in which he sounded a lot like Mitt Romney:
Thank you very much, Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate. This bill forms a Private Equity Task Force. As many of you know, venture capital and private equity is one of the key mechanisms by which we finance new businesses in the State of Illinois. For a variety of reasons, Illinois has been lagging behind some of our competitor states in the formation of venture capital and its deployment in terms of seeding and funding new companies. This is an issue that has piqued the interest of various persons in the industry and so they have asked that we form this Private Equity Task Force to examine these issues. I would ask for an affirmative roll call.
Obama proposed creating a special task force on private equity while being clear he did so at the behest of those in the private equity business.
The task force was indeed created by Obama’s own Senate Resolution 89, a bill in which Obama made it clear that private equity was the key driver of the state’s economy:
The development of the private equity sector of the Illinois economy offers the best opportunity for long-term economic vitality, for the expansion of jobs, for the improvement of productivity and a quality standard of living, and for providing the greatest number of citizens with genuine opportunity.
When it was useful to him, Obama sounded like Romney. But that was before he was president and trashed the private sector. If he tried to sound like Romney now, he wouldn’t get away with it.