Mitt Romney's wealthy donors are "essentially buying tax relief" rather than looking to help get the country's finances in order, White House spokesman Jay Carney charged during a combative exchange in his daily briefing on Monday.
Carney had been asked by Fox News Channel's Ed Henry to explain how, after weeks of assailing Romney's background in private equity, Obama felt comfortable going to New York to scoop up cash from, among others, Wall Street financiers.
"I wasn't aware that any of them were running for president," the spokesman quipped.
Henry pressed him, suggesting that Carney had described the practice of private equity as "evil."
"No, those are your words. I never said that and you know it," Carney said. "There's nothing wrong with profit. You can succeed very well in that field by maximizing profit," but "job creation is incidental." The Obama campaign has portrayed Romney as an economic "vampire" during his time at Bain Capital, citing vast profits the company made from a Kansas City steel mill that went bankrupt. The attack aims to neutralize Romney's core economic argument: That as a fabulously wealthy businessman, he is the better candidate to diagnose and cure the country's anemic job growth.
The president was bound for New York City to hold three "campaign events" — frequently euphemisms for fundraisers. But Carney suggested that rich donors to Obama are better people than rich donors to Romney.
He praised "folks who are supporting the president -- including folks who know that supporting the president and the president's success would mean that they would have to pay a little bit more as part of a balanced approach to get our deficit and debt under control." Obama uses "balanced" to mean a blend of tax increases on the rich and cuts in government spending.
"Another approach would be to support a candidate financially -- or support a super PAC enormously, with great amounts of finances -- knowing that they're essentially buying tax relief, that victory in that case would result in a windfall," Carney said. Romney's economic plan includes a call to lower taxes on very rich Americans, on grounds that they will make the investments that will ultimately boost job growth.
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