Obama in the ‘vampire’ den

Sep 12, 2012

FORTUNE -- On May 14, President Obama attended a fundraiser at the Park Avenue home of Tony James, president of private equity firm The Blackstone Group (bx). It came just hours after the Obama campaign had released a new TV ad that referred to Mitt Romney’s actions at Bain Capital as “vampire capitalism.”

The juxtaposition was just downright weird.

So while in Charlotte last week for the Democratic National Convention, I asked someone familiar with the situation if the timing was coincidental and, if not, what the campaign was thinking.

His response was that the timing was actually intentional – and only came after significant back-and-forth among Obama strategists. Apparently they felt that releasing it too early might cause fundraiser attendees to cancel, and doing it too late would lead to charges of stabbing friends in the back. Doing it on the same day as James’ event would be the best way to minimize the damage since, at least, people would know Obama was literally facing up to the people he had insulted.

Not sure it’s sound strategy, but that was the thinking.

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