Exclusive - The Vetting - Obama Praised Private Equity When He Needed Cash
President Barack Obama has attacked Gov. Mitt Romney's record in the private equity industry as CEO of Bain Capital. But ten years ago, as he struggled to raise funds for his long-shot U.S. Senate campaign, then-State Senator Obama decided to embrace the private equity industry and its wealthy Chicago political donors. At one point, Obama even sponsored a resolution in the Illinois Senate calling calling private equity firms like Bain "the best opportunity for long-term economic vitality" and for "the creation of jobs."
Obama's campaign ads dismissively compare Romney's work at Bain to that of a "vampire" draining jobs and money from vulnerable companies and workers. After pushback from a handful of pro-free market Democrats in late May, the President himself publicly defended his campaign's attacks on private equity firms like Bain.
But records from Obama's time as a state senator in Illinois, along with recollections of those who worked with him, present a very different stance. They indicate that Obama worked hard to position himself as a strong supporter of the venture capital industry. Obama attended industry social functions and used his position in the state senate to propose bills consistent with the legislative goals of the venture capital industry in the state.
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