Why is the president trying so hard to split hairs in his Bain attacks? Just look at where the campaign cash is going.
Here's the most important figure to remember during the sudden debate over the merits of the private equity industry: $102 million. That's the total amount the securities and investment industry -- in other words, Wall Street -- has contributed to federal candidates through March of this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Here's the second most important figure to remember: Roughly $40 million of that has landed in the pockets of Democratic candidates. That kind of financial muscle helps explain the backlash against President Obama as he takes on Republican Mitt Romney's record at Bain Capital, and the tightrope Obama is walking as he tries to keep the money flowing even as he dismisses Romney's job as no qualification to be president.
Most of the Democrats going public with their concerns have personal ties to private equity: Steve Rattner, Obama's former "car czar," a veteran Wall Street financier; former congressman Harold Ford, who has worked at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley since leaving Congress; and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who has received -- the Washington Post reported -- contributions from financial firms and has relied on them to help reform schools in his city.