Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick (D.) said Thursday he never bought into the 2012 Obama campaign's demonization of Bain Capital, the private equity firm cofounded by Republican Mitt Romney.
"Yes, I [worked] at the place that was demonized in the 2012 presidential election," Patrick said, before MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace interrupted to say it was his party that did it.
Patrick, the newest entrant into the 2020 Democratic primary field, smiled and reminded her he was co-chair of the campaign, saying, "I didn't buy into it then, and I still don't."
"There is a place for private equity in the private economy. There is a place for business in our lives, but it is also true that capitalism generally has a lot to answer for," Patrick said.
President Barack Obama repeatedly criticized Bain's business practices in 2012 to paint Romney as a heartless corporate raider. Patrick, along with then-Newark mayor Cory Booker (D.), expressed seeming discomfort with the attacks despite his alliance with Obama, calling Bain a "perfectly fine company." Patrick joined Bain in 2015 after completing two terms in office.
Wallace pressed him on his tenure with the firm, noting Democrats had moved to the left and wondering how he could explain his position to primary voters.
"I love that the party has moved to the left," Patrick said. "I love that we are the party of the woke. I believe that we also have to be the party of the still-waking, and I have always conducted my personal life and my business life and my life as a civil rights lawyer, my life as an advocate … that way."
Patrick replaced Romney as Massachusetts governor in 2007, serving two terms. After saying last year he wouldn't run for president in 2020, he jumped into the race this week, with the Iowa caucuses less than three months away.