By Geneva Sands - 05/31/12 01:11 PM EDT
Gov. Deval Patrick (D), an Obama surrogate and Romney’s successor in Massachusetts, called Bain a "perfectly fine company" and said concerns about Romney's presidential qualifications stem from his inability to deliver as a public servant and a businessman.
Patrick blasted Romney for what he said were failed campaign promises — from creating jobs to reducing the size of government and imposing fiscal discipline in Massachusetts.
"The record, which is relevant, and indeed his only experience in public leadership, in government leadership, doesn't point to the case he's trying to sell to the American people," he added.
When pressed about the shifting Obama campaign tactics, Patrick downplayed the earlier focus on private equity.
"It's never been about Bain. It's about whether Gov. Romney has accomplished either in the private or the public sector the kinds of things he says he wants to do for the nation as president," Patrick said on CNN's "Starting Point."
The Obama team and campaign supporters spent weeks portraying Romney's tenure at the private equity firm Bain Capital as detrimental to workers and communities.
However, the focus on Bain sparked a backlash, even among some Democrats. The most notable Democratic critic was Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker (D), who called the attacks "nauseating" before later walking back his remarks.
Patrick told MSNBC that he believes the Bain strategy was "distorted" in some of the public discussion surrounding the private-equity firm.
"Bain is a perfectly fine company, they've got a role in the private economy and I’ve got a lot of friends there, and on both sides of the aisle. I don't think Bain is the point, the point is has he actually created jobs, as he says he has, in the private sector? And in the public sector I can tell you that the record is not very strong," Patrick said.
Following Patrick's appearance on MSNBC, the Romney campaign sent out an email and video pointing to the Massachusetts governor's response on Bain and its role in the private sector.
On MSNBC, Patrick also called Romney's role in passing Massachusetts healthcare reform "profoundly important."
Democrats have said the law was the model for the national healthcare law, which has been resoundingly rejected by Republicans.
Romney has promised that he would overturn the federal healthcare legislation if elected and said he supports states' rights to enforce healthcare mandates.
Despite his harsh words for Romney's record, Patrick said the Republican presidential hopeful was "always a gentleman," when asked on MSNBC about their personal relationship.
"The people who knew him well and personally speak very warmly of him," Patrick said.