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Obama's Tightrope Walk On Private Equity Obama's Tightrope Walk On Private Equity

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Obama's Tightrope Walk On Private Equity

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President Barack Obama mingles before the meeting on Afghanistan during the NATO Summit, Monday, May 21, 2012, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Here's the most important figure to remember during the sudden debate over the merits of the private equity industry: $102 million. That's the total amount the securities and investment industry - in other words, Wall Street - has contributed to federal candidates through March of this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Here's the second most important figure to remember: Nearly $40 million of that has landed in the pockets of Democratic candidates. That kind of financial muscle helps explain the backlash against President Obama as he takes on Republican Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, and the tightrope Obama is walking as he tries to keep the money flowing even as he dismisses Romney's job as no qualification to be president.

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