During an appearance on CNN on Thursday night, Bill Clinton weighed in on presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's former private equity firm, Bain Capital, which has come under scrutiny in the campaign.
"I don't think we ought to get into a position where we say this is bad work," Clinton said. "This is good work."
He continued, "I think, however, the real issue ought to be, what has Gov. Romney advocated in the campaign that he will do as president? What has President Obama done and what does he propose to do? How do these things stack up against each other? That's the most relevant thing."
Clinton characterized Romney's career as "sterling."
HuffPost's Ryan Grim and Hunter Stuart reported last week:
Romney has been reluctant recently to delve too deeply into his private equity background, as the Obama administration has hammered the GOP candidate for profiting even while workers were left jobless -- in some cases, obligations for such workers' pensions were then met by the government, and the cost foisted on the taxpayer. On Wednesday, Romney declined twice to say whether he welcomed a full discussion of the nature of private equity. Instead, he accused President Obama of not understanding how private enterprise works. "Having been in the private sector for twenty-five years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created – that someone who's never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn’t understand," Romney told Time magazine.
(Scroll down for Tony Soprano's explanation of Bain Capital.)
Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker (D) recently raised eyebrows after he walked back remarks calling the Obama campaign's attack on Romney's recored at Bain "nauseating." In the aftermath, he signaled a different stance, saying he viewed the approach as "reasonable."
So far, those high profile Democrats who have objected to scrutinizing Bain or private equity as a part of the presidential campaign have themselves been closely tied to the moneyed industry. That includes former President Clinton, who dabbled in private equity before facing public criticism and beating a hasty retreat.
Harold Ford, an earlier defender of Bain, is an executive with Morgan Stanley. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who stuck up for the company, has worked in subprime lending. And Booker is heavily dependent on philanthropy from private equity barons to keep his city afloat, as his friend Bill Maher noted after the controversy erupted.
WATCH: Tony Soprano Explains Bain
Below, Obama surrogates to keep an eye on this election cycle:
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell
Newark Mayor Cory Booker
N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.)
Former President Bill Clinton