RNC launches ‘I Stand With Cory’ petition

The Republican National Committee is looking to capitalize on Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s (D) criticism of the Obama campaign’s attack on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, urging supporters to sign a petition saying they “stand with Cory.”

“Yesterday New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker, a surrogate spokesman for the Obama campaign, called the president's attacks on the free market ‘ridiculous,’ ” the petition reads. “That's right Mr. President, we aren't going to let you destroy free enterprise. Stand up for America. Stand up for job creators.”

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On NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Booker criticized an Obama campaign ad that attacked Romney's tenure at private-equity firm Bain Capital, calling the campaign ads “nauseating.”

Booker released a Web video on Sunday clarifying the remarks, but in an email to supporters, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the Obama campaign had “pressured” Booker into walking back his criticism.

“Do you know what Obama does with people who stand up for job creators?,” the email reads in part. “He silences them. That’s right. By Sunday evening the Obama campaign had pressured Booker into taking back his support of the free market. This is how far President Obama has sunk — running an all-out assault on job creators. And in his own Democratic Party, anyone who dares defend them, must be silenced.”

In a conference call on Monday, the Obama campaign pushed back at the notion it was attacking private equity, saying that like Romney’s former GOP presidential rivals who criticized Bain for “vulture capitalism,” it was attacking the way Bain conducted its business.

“Why did Romney and his partners succeed even if the company fails?,” Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt asked.

Despite the intra-party flap, the Obama campaign is pressing forth with its attacks on Romney’s record at Bain, releasing a new video on Monday attacking Romney for the bankruptcy of a paper-manufacturing company, Ampad, that went bankrupt in 2000.

Some former employees of the company were on the Obama campaign conference call, saying they lost their jobs because of the Bain acquisition.