After some debate this week about whether Bain Capital is fair game in the wake of Booker-gate, Mitt Romney himself ruled his private equity record as being "in bounds" Wednesday. Romney has made Bain a central focus of his campaign, and in an interview with Time magazine’s Mark Halperin, Romney said he welcomes the discussion:
Halperin: So when the President says he wants to focus a lot of the election and debate on your career at Bain Capital, do you welcome that?
Romney: Well of course, I’d like to also focus on his record.
Pressed again by Halperin, “But you welcome scrutiny of your business record, is that right?” Romney replied, “The fact is that I spent 25 years in the private sector. And that obviously teaches you something that you don’t learn if you haven’t spent any time in the private sector.”
It’d be impossible for Romney to avoid completely talking about Bain, considering how central it is to his narrative about his ability to fix the economy, but some people on both sides of the aisle have called Obama's Bain attacks unfair.
But even some of Romney’s own surrogates -- perhaps veering a bit off message -- have sanctioned putting Bain in play. Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who was one of Romney’s key allies in the first-in-the-nation primary, told reporters yesterday, "I think the Bain record as a whole is fair game, and what you have to do is do an honest evaluation.” Former GOP presidential candidate turned Romney-backer Newt Gingrich agreed in an interview on CNN this week, though he cautioned Democrats that his own experience attacking Romney over Bain didn’t work out too well.