Comcast exec downplays Baker backlash

Cohen said "only a couple" newspapers editorialized on the development. They have included the L.A. Times, the New York Times, and his hometown paper The Philadelphia Inquirer

"The New York Times just used it as an entryway to launch into a diatribe about the revolving door," he said. 

He said he doesn't expect the development to "become a national story" and rise above the level of "chatter" in D.C. telecom circles. 

Comcast's decision to hire Baker has become a national story in at least one sense: The major wire services, cable news and the national newspapers have all blanketed it in coverage.

He said Comcast "bent over backwards to comply" with all of the rules regarding Baker's departure.

He said Baker's talent made her difficult to pass up, and he commended her as smart, creative and honest, with a knack for working across party lines. 

He said "the headline should be" that Comcast is hiring her in spite of the fact that she will face considerable restriction on her lobbying activities, including a ban on working the executive branch. 

"We hire for the long haul," he said, noting Baker would be able to lobby more freely in "two or four years" depending on when President Obama is out of power. 

He noted that Baker is free to lobby Capitol Hill and to serve as a "thought leader in our office." 

He chocked aspects of the backlash up to "unsubstantiated, unverified allegations." 

"I think there's a pretty good set of rules in place," he said, arguing that if Comcast met the ethics standards articulated in regulations, neither the company nor Baker had done anything wrong. 

Baker "is one of those people that actually takes ethical responsibilities seriously," he said.

He alluded to "some critics" who say Obama's ethics standards are too onerous, but said he does not subscribe to that view.