Obama's Strategy: Bash Bain by Day, Take Private Equity Money by Night

Yesterday, we described the growing sentiment amongst the Washington political class that Obama is completely botching the beginning of his 2012 campaign.

One of the main problems has been President Obama’s incessant attempt to make Romney’s time at Bain Capital a key focus of the race. In recent days the Obama campaign has begun airing commercials taking aim at Romney, portraying him as a corporate raider that guts companies for profits.

“What Bain Capital never did was focus on job creation, that’s not what Bain Capital does. It loads up companies with debt, it takes money out of those companies and pays those investors,” said Obama adviser Robert Gibbs on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Lest you mistake this for a sideshow to the real meat of the campaign, i.e. Obama presenting his plan for economic revival, sadly, it’s not. Don’t believe me. Here’s Obama putting to rest any doubts at a press conference in Chicago – “So to repeat, this is not a distraction. This is what this campaign is going to be about.”

Yea, that’s not going over so well among some of his fellow Democrats. The Hill reports that “influential Democrats on and off Capitol Hill are refusing to give President Obama political cover for his attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital.”

Among them are Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who said that it’s time for the Obama campaign to pivot. “It’s done,” she told The Hill. “Go on to other things now.”

Others like Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) tried to give the president a hint that the voters were going to want a more positive economic message. “I think the average American . . . hopes that this campaign will focus on competing visions for how to strengthen our economy, help create jobs and move the country forward.”

And then others like Newark, NJ Mayor Cory Booker were more explicit in their disapproval. “Nauseating,” Booker said in response to the Obama campaign’s ad.

Democrats attempting to distance themselves from Obama may not be the biggest of news. If we learned anything from the 2010 midterms it’s that Democrats tend to trip over Obama’s coattails more often than they are able to ride on them. The key question is what voters think.

And the Obama barrage against Bain seems to be failing against that front as well. CBS News reports:

“In the past two weeks, the Obama campaign has rolled out several attacks on Romney and his time at Bain Capital.

. . . But so far, it’s not working.

Instead of a bump in public opinion for the president, recent polls show Romney’s approval ratings on the rise — and sharply so in the key swing state of Florida.

With the attacks failing to resonate, the Obama campaign is hitting even harder.”

Perhaps Obama just doesn’t get it. Romney has been laser-focused on the economy and how his background as an executive – both at Bain and as the governor of Massachusetts  – gives him the experience to turn the United States around. Sure, Obama is trying to tag Romney with a whole bunch of mean names like “anti-worker” and “venture capital vulture,” but the strategy is backfiring – Americans are seeing Obama for what he is, namely, anti-business.

Or perhaps Americans are seeing through Obama’s Bain jabs to see just how hypocritical the president is. Following Obama’s attacks on private equity The Hill did a little digging and found that Obama got more than $3.5 million from donors who work in private equity – twice the amount Sen. McCain received. Obama’s private-equity pretense becomes all the more ridiculous considering the Obama campaign launched its attack the same day the president held a fundraiser at the home of Hamilton James, president of private equity firm Blackstone.

The lesson? Obama loves capitalism when it’s pouring money into his campaign, but that’s about the only time.