President Obama (interviewed on Thursday) on CBS This Morning:
Charlie Rose: ….a political office. What, how do you take the measure of his business experience?
President Obama: I do not think at all it disqualifies him. But I also think it’s important if that’s his main calling card, if his basic premise is that, I’m Mr. Fix It on the economy because I made a lot of money, then…
Charlie Rose: But that’s not what he’s saying.
President Obama: Well, no, that is to, to some degree what, what he says is he understands the economy and the private sector.
Charlie Rose: And they built businesses and [crosstalk]…
President Obama: And, well, they invested, they invested.
Charlie Rose: …made them better. But invested and made them better is what they did.
President Obama: Exactly. So, so, that’s his premise. I think it is entirely appropriate to look at that record, uh, and see whether in fact his focus was creating jobs, uh, and he successfully did that and when you look at the record there are questions there that have to be asked. And [crosstalk]…
Charlie Rose: Like what, like what?
President Obama: Well, uh, look, uh, you know, as I said, uh, when some people questioned why I would, uh, challenge his Bain record, uh, the point I made there in the past is, uh, if you’re a head of a large equity firm or hedge fund, um, your job is to make money. It’s not to create jobs. It’s not create, to create a successful business. It’s to make sure you are maximizing returns for your investor. Now, that’s appropriate, that’s part of the American way, that’s part of the system. But that doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to think about the economy as a whole because, as president, my job is to think about the workers, my job is to think about communities where jobs have been outsourced and so it is not that he is disqualified because of what he’s done. It is if that’s your main claim, since he doesn’t talk about the fact that he’s governor of Massachusetts for four years very much [crosstalk]…
Charlie Rose: Or ran the Olympics.
President Obama: Or, or, then I want, uh, us to make sure that, uh, we know what your theory is about how to grow the economy. And, and that is a question that I think most Americans want to know as well. This is, uh, the nature of running for President.
And President Clinton, today, on NBC’s Today:
….Savannah Guthrie: Recently the, the Democrats have been emphasizing Mitt Romney’s personal investments, the fact that he has some accounts in Switzerland, in the Caymans, and I wonder whether you feel this is a legitimate line of attack against Mitt Romney, if you think this is relevant to his fitness to be president?
President Clinton: Oh, yes, I do, I think for one thing, just as relevant as the going over my record as Governor got when I ran for President. I had been governor for a dozen years. And because he’s put it at the forefront. He said basically, I, I’d be a better president ’cause I know how to create jobs ’cause that’s what I did. And, um, he’s gonna take credit for running a successful Olympics, for example. So when, when all your work life before you run for President is relevant. And I, I think that will be relevant. I am a little surprised that he only released a year’s worth of tax returns. That’s kind of perplexed me because this is the first time in, I don’t know, more than thirty years that anybody running for president has only done that. Uh, you know, it’s typical I think, we, we all release ten, eleven years. And I think Senator McCain released, uh, released over twenty years of tax returns. That I think has been, that struck me as a little odd.
Savannah Guthrie: Well, this has to do with whether or not he placed his own money in legal tax shelters overseas.
President Clinton: The public ought to know that. The voters can make up their own mind about whether they think it’s a good thing to, uh, for a person who wants to be President to minimize his own tax liability by putting the money in overseas tax shelters. And they can decide whether they believe that or not.
Savannah Guthrie: Lastly, I know you’re headed to Africa…
Heh. Message discipline.