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Bill Clinton criticizes Obama’s Bain attacks, praises Romney’s ‘sterling business career’

Former President Bill Clinton suggested in a television interview Thursday that he believes President Barack Obama's re-election campaign should stop trashing Mitt Romney's work in the private equity industry.

In an interview with CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," Clinton, a top Obama surrogate who is set to raise cash with the president next week, directly contradicted Democrats who have attacked Romney's business record, suggesting it does qualify him for president.

[Related: N.J. mayor tired of apologizing for Bain comment]

"I think he had a good business career," Clinton told guest host Harvey Weinstein, a movie mogul who is one of Obama's top fundraisers. "There's no question that in terms of getting up and going to the office and, you know, basically performing the essential functions of the office, a man who has been governor and had a sterling business career crosses the qualification threshold."

Adding that he has "friends" in the private equity business, Clinton suggested it was dangerous for Democrats to go after Romney's record at Bain Capital—adding that in private equity, "like anything else you try, you don't always succeed" in saving companies or making them more productive.

"I don't think that we ought to get into the position where we say this is bad work," Clinton said. "This is good work."

Instead, the former president argued that the Obama campaign should turn its focus to the "real issue" of what Romney will do as president and how it stacks up against Obama's record. He told CNN that he believes Obama will win re-election when that comparison is made.

"The Obama proposals and the Obama record will be far better for the American economy and most Americans than those that Gov. Romney has laid out," Clinton said. "And that's what the election ought to be about."

Clinton is the latest high-profile Democratic surrogate to criticize the Obama re-election campaign's focus on Romney's record at Bain Capital. Last week Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker came under fire from Democrats for saying he was "uncomfortable" with the Obama campaign's Bain attacks.

Obama aides have insisted their strategy is not attacking private equity companies but rather focusing on Romney's claim of creating jobs while working at Bain Capital.

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