Rick Perry should have remembered that rich people -- even the ones that give money to politicians -- are really sensitive before he started talking about "vulture capitalism." They do not like being made to feel guilty about making a whole bunch of money. Perry has made sure to say every time he attacks Mitt Romney's private equity career that he's a huge fan of capitalism, and he's even stopped talking about it so much in stump speeches, but he still lost a top Republican donor over the comments Thursday. "I've been fighting for this cause most of my life," investment fund executive Barry Wynn told the Associated Press' Brian Bakst and Jim Davenport. "It's like fingernails on the chalkboard. It just kind of irritated you to hear those kind of attacks." Wynn presumably backed Perry for more reasons (taxes? abortion? death penalty? military?) than that he thought Perry admired his career. But the populist sting was just too much, and now Wynn's officially a Romney supporter. The top-notch investor surely was in no way motivated to make the switch by the fact that it looks like Romney's going to win.
Last fall, when President Obama began his jobs tour, a few wealthy political donors were hurt by Obama's populist message. Ted Leonsis, who owns a bunch of Washington sports franchises and donated to Obama, wrote a bitter complaint about his treatment that went viral among conservatives: "It blows my mind when I am asked for money as a donation at the same time I am getting blasted as being a bad guy!" Class warfare is only more hurtful when it comes from the presidential candidates of the party opposed to "envy economics."
After days of conservative complaints, Perry stopped mentioning Bain in his stump speeches Thursday, ABC News' Arlette Saenz reports. He only mentioned it when Fox News' Martha MacCallum aggressively questioned him on the subject. And instead of justifying his attacks by saying he was speaking up for the 99 percent, Perry used the electability hedge. "It's a matter about vetting a candidate,” said Perry told fox. "I mean, I didn't hear anybody questioning when they were attacking me for things that I’ve done. So the fact is this process is about winnowing out individuals who and testing whether or not they’re a flawed candidate or not. And I will tell you that when people can point to where you made a quick profit and kicked people out of their jobs, that is an issue that’s got to be addressed."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.