President Barack Obama pivoted to politics during his press conference at the NATO summit in Chicago this afternoon, defending his campaign ads attacking Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital.
“This is not a distraction,” Obama told reporters. “This is what this campaign is about.”
“The reason this is relevant to the campaign is because my opponent, Governor Romney, his main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience,” he added. “He is not touting his experience as Governor of Massachusetts. He is saying he is a business guy, and this is his business.”
The President remarks came in response to a question from Bloomberg correspondent Hans Nichols, who asked the President to define his position on private equity, and respond to Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s criticism of the Obama campaign’s Bain attacks.
“My view of private equity is that it is set up to maximise profit, and that is part of the free market,” Obama said. “I think that there are folks that do good work in that area…but understand that their priority is to maximise profits and that’s always good for businesses and families.”
Although the press conference was ostensibly about the NATO summit and general foreign policy, Obama seemed ready for the questions.
“When you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximise profits,” he said. “Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country gets a fair shot.”
Watch the video below, courtesy of MSNBC:
UPDATE, 5:42 p.m.: Romney responded to Obama’s remarks this afternoon, issuing a statment accusing the President of not accepting “moral responsibility” for his economic policies.
Here’s the full statement, via the Romney campaign:
“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. 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.”
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