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Barbara Lee attacks Romney on Obama’s behalf

Rep. Barbara Lee went on the attack against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney behalf of President Obama’s re-election campaign Tuesday, blasting Romney’s business record at Bain Capital.

Lee, D-Oakland, said America doesn’t need a president who got rich by putting the concerns of other wealthy investors over those of workers.

“Like President Obama, I believe we need to restore middle class security and create an economy built to last,” she said on a conference call with reporters. “Unfortunately, Mitt Romney’s economic policies would do even more damage to the middle class.”

Lee touted Obama’s Recovery Act economic stimulus, which she said focused upon infrastructure, research and development, clean energy and environmental programs to create 500,000 jobs in California; she said her district saw $2 billion invested for private-sector job growth.

She said she’s not attacking Romney’s right to run a business as he sees fit, but rather she’s questioning whether “the lessons and values Romney drew from his time as a buyout specialist” suit him to lead the nation’s economic recovery. “We don’t want an economy where workers are left behind.”

Lee’s teleconference is being packaged as part of the Obama campaign’s focus on the story of GST Steel of Kansas City. Bain bought a controlling interest in GST in 1993 and GST went bankrupt in 2001, two years after Romney left day-to-day management of Bain. But he didn’t formally leave the company until 2001, and he did so then under a retirement agreement in which he has shared in Bain’s corporate buyout and investment profits ever since.

Here’s the Obama campaign’s ad, launched yesterday:

(A six-minute version is available here.)

“President Obama and his billion-dollar attack machine are desperately trying to distract from their own failed record of wasteful spending and crony capitalism by launching an attack on free enterprise,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said yesterday. “The President should be more concerned with helping the twenty-three million Americans who are struggling for work. Mitt Romney has the experience and pro-growth plan to promote job creation and get our economy back on track.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    15 May 1967
    Beijing.
    Dear Miss Lee,
    Thank you for your kind wishes on Chairman Mao’s birthday. The Chairman regrets he is unable to respond personally to your letter. I can assure you that the Chairman agrees wholeheartedly with your wise view of American society.
    Allow me to summarize the Chairman’s thoughts that he wishes to transmit to you:
    China has neither landlords nor financiers,
    All costs and surplus value are equally shared by the workers and producers of all goods,
    No capitalist can achieve wealth without exploiting others and ignoring the will of the masses.
    The Chairman thanks you for your kind wishes.