President Barack Obama is heading into the den of private equity tonight with an urgent plea: Please re-elect me.
His visit to New York apartment of Tony James, the number two at Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm, comes on the same day that Obama’s campaign has released a new ad that assails Mitt Romney’s experience in private equity.
The two-minute spot blames Romney for chasing profit while losing jobs at a now shuttered steel mill in Kansas City, Missouri.
Tickets for the dinner are the standard $35,800. Sixty guests are expected.
Obama typically gives brief remarks and then goes table to table, for some light chit-chat, when JP Morgan’s $2 billion trading loss could come up. But the president will have to be careful in talking about private equity. Obama’s host has previously warned the president against demonizing the industry.
“The truth is that private equity creates jobs and is necessary for a healthy economy,” James told Bloomberg last February. “Last year we created 4.6 percent new jobs organically in America. By contrast, last year the U.S. economy created 1.8 percent new jobs.”
The chairman of Blackstone, Stephen Schwarzman, was an early Wall Street backer of Romney’s, in part, because they teamed up on some 80s buy-outs. One of those deals returned 24 times profit for Blackstone, but led to some jobs losses in the rail industry.