Trading Obama, Clinton for Romney

Photograph by Thomas Lee/Bloomberg

Jonathan M. Nelson, chief executive officer of Providence Equity Partners Inc.

Jonathan Nelson, the billionaire co-founder of Providence Equity Partners, supported Hillary Clinton and contributed to Barack Obama in the 2008 election. But as the private-equity executive told Bloomberg TV’s Cristina Alesci, Nelson is backing Mitt Romney this time around, saying he can’t support a candidate who attacks how he makes a living.

Dozens of investment managers have continued to support Obama for re-election while his campaign attacks Romney’s business record at Bain Capital– paying upwards of $35,800 each to hear from the president at New York fundraisers.

Not Nelson, whose Rhode Island firm owns companies including Univision Communications and the cable-TV network of the New York Yankees. He has given $2,500 to Romney and $5,000 to the Private Equity Growth Capital Council, the industry’s main lobbying group in Washington. In 2008, Nelson gave Obama and Clinton $2,300 apiece.

Buyout executives who have continued to support Obama include Tony James, president of the Blackstone Group, who threw a $35,800-a-plate dinner for Obama in May that featured several of James’s colleagues from the investing world.

Meanwhile, when asked about his criticism of Romney’s career and its qualifications for the presidency, Obama has said, “This is what this campaign is going to be about.”

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