Cory Booker may just have done a favor for President Obama -- or at least for voters who like clarity in their politics and would like to have the candidates spell out for them what they think the campaign is all about. The Newark mayor, a rising star in his party, annoyed many Democrats when he said on Sunday that the Obama campaign's attack on Republican Mitt Romney's actions was among those ads he finds "nauseating." But when Booker's comments came up in the only domestic note in a press conference otherwise dedicated to foreign policy and summits, the president was ready to pounce.
And he certainly was not backing down from an attack the White House sees as critical to his electoral fate. In fact, the president left no doubt that Romney will not get away, as he did in the primaries, with casting his years at Bain Capital as time spent creating jobs. And, as a bonus, the answer provided voters with the clearest explanation yet from the incumbent of what he thinks a president is supposed to do.
Twice in his response, the president insisted that questioning Romney's days at Bain is "not a distraction," adding emphatically, "This is what the campaign is going to be about." He was scornful of Romney's contention that somehow Bain is out of bounds. Noting that Romney is promising to "fix" the economy, he said, "And if the main basis for him suggesting he could do a better job is his track record as the head of a private equity firm, then both the upsides and the downsides are worth examining."