Anderson Cooper Goes Cory Booker on Obama Campaign Spokesman
One almost has to feel sorry for Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. He showed up on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 yesterday probably expecting the type of softball questions that MSNBC hosts would toss at him. Instead, Anderson Cooper took a page from Cory Booker's criticism of "nauseating" attacks on private equity firms such as Bain Capital and kept asking LaBolt how the Obama campaign can criticize Bain while simultaneously raising funds from the same type of companies.
The clearly unprepared LaBolt spent the interview filibustering with a flurry of words that were designed not to answer the questions about the obvious fundraising hypocrisy by the Obama campaign. Watch LaBolt as he filibusters his way to the end of the interview without giving any answers:
LaBolt probably knew he was in extreme hot water while listening to Cooper introduce his segment with the Cory Booker reference:
ANDERSON COOPER: President Obama essentially double downed on the Bain attacks today, saying this is not a distraction from the campaign, this is going to be a centerpiece of the campaign. At the same time, critics say the attacks on Bain are hypocritical. As we pointed out a couple of nights ago, the same day last week that the previous Bain ad came out, President Obama was fund-raising at the home of this guy, Tony James. Mr. President is president of Blackstone. Blackstone is a private equity firm that is actually a lot bigger than Bain and like Bain has bought companies and cut payrolls. Now, in that ad, a laid-off worker likens the head of Bain to a vampire, the same night Mr. Obama sits down for dinner with the head of Blackstone. There's the contradiction. This weekend's events with Mayor Booker show why many within the president's own party think the Obama campaign's Bain strategy is very much a double-edged sword. Joining me tonight, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt.
At this point one can speculate that LaBolt's thoughts went something like, "Oops! What have I walked into?" And now Cooper asks his first question followed by LaBolt's first non-answer:
COOPER: Ben, how can President Obama attack Mitt Romney on his time in private equity at Bain highlighting only times when Bain cost company jobs and at the same time hold high-priced fund-raisers with the head of another private equity firm who has done with Bain, the Blackstone group, or hire people who have worked in other private equity firms in his own administration?
BEN LABOLT: Well, Mitt Romney hasn't been -- he hasn't been forthright with the American people about what he did during his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist and what his goals were. He's been campaigning across the country telling people that he was a job creator, but he's never been able to substantiate a number of jobs that were created. That's because he -- his partners have admitted that the goal was wealth creation for themselves.
Cooper tries again with another question but LaBolt continues non-answering him:
COOPER: Private equity is about wealth creation for investors. And I know that's not what he's saying, but that's what it is about. But I don't understand why it's OK for the president's private equity supporters to bankrupt companies and put people out of work, but it's not OK for Mitt Romney's equity firm to do that.
LABOLT: The president has support from business leaders across industries who agree with his vision of building an economy that's built to last, where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, where everybody from Main Street to Wall Street plays...
The third time is a charm, right? Wrong when trying to wring an answer from the completely unresponsive LaBolt who is acting like he never even heard the question:
COOPER: You yourself said that's not what private equity is about, and yet the president is accepting money from private equity firms. Isn't that hypocritical?
LABOLT: ... who believe that the right thing to do was put in place those protections to ensure that we never have a financial crisis like we did in 2008 and that middle-class families across the country are not held hostage by risky financial deals.
Finally Anderson Cooper has a "revelation" about LaBolt's evasions and LaBolt responds with yet another non-answer:
COOPER: But you're not answering any of the questions. I'm trying to figure out what is different between Bain and Governor Romney's experience in private equity and the experience of private equity firms that the president is taking money from.
LABOLT: Well, here are the facts, Anderson. Governor Romney has based his candidacy for the Oval Office on his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist. He said that that's the economic record that we should evaluate, that that's the type of philosophy, economic philosophy that he would bring into the Oval Office. And we took a look at the record. We took a look at the fact that he loaded up companies with debt across the country. This case of Ampad, a plant in Marion, Indiana, 250 workers lost their jobs. Romney and his partners came in. They loaded the company up with debt, laid off all the workers, force them to reapply for their jobs. Security guards bolted the doors. They went through the...
You will look in vain in the rest of the interview for anything resembling an answer by LaBolt. Next time he should appear on Rachel Maddow's show for guaranteed softball questions.