Barack Obama, Romney says at every opportunity, is not that man. "The president has the most anti-business, anti-investment, anti-jobs administration I think I've ever seen," Romney said recently on Fox News. "Some of these liberals say they like a strong economy, but then they act like they don't like business," Romney added during a campaign stop in Colorado.
Both sides can debate the administration's policies for the rest of the campaign. But there's no doubt there is a profoundly anti-business streak in the president's background.
New evidence comes in the just-released biography "Barack Obama: The Story," by David Maraniss. Obama spent little time in business, but he did have a job at a company called Business International for about a year after he graduated from Columbia University in 1983. The book contains new details about the future president's brief stint in corporate America.
Obama was a low-level editor in Reference Services, working on reports describing economic conditions in various foreign countries. By all accounts, he disliked the work, not just because it was pedestrian and boring, but because it was in business.
"He calls it working for the enemy," Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, wrote after a phone conversation with her son, "because some of the reports are written for commercial firms that want to invest in (Third World) countries."
Writing to a former girlfriend, Maraniss says, Obama also "expressed a distaste for the corporate world." And in his engaging but unreliable memoir "Dreams From My Father," Obama described his time at Business International this way: "Like a spy behind enemy lines, I arrived every day at my mid-Manhattan office. ..." Obama wrote that he took the job only after his applications to several civil rights organizations were ignored.
Obama subsequently quit Business International, became a community organizer, attended law school, briefly practiced public interest law, taught a college class and got into politics. He had several jobs, but never again in business.