Term Sheet

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Private equity just wants to be loved

February 29, 2012: 9:44 AM ET

Private equity is unpopular. Deal with it.

I've spent the past two days in Berlin, where hundreds of private equity executives are gathered for the annual SuperReturn International conference. The whining is so thick you could cut it with a wurst.

In the hallways and networking salons, attendees -- particularly American ones -- keep expressing their profound dismay over how they feel "demonized" by President Obama. Not critiques of policy, but of rhetoric.

Cue the tiny violins.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that PE pros are worthy of demonization (you know I love you, dear readers), particularly given that the industry was merely a bit player in the 2008 financial collapse. But finance is hardly the only industry to be painted with a broadly negative brush. Just ask your lawyer. Or any of my "mainstream media" colleagues. Seriously, have you ever looked at the comments left on my posts from readers who think I work for CNN (note: I'm employed by Fortune).

Tim Carney of The Washington Examiner today tweeted "I had a Wall Street lobbyist say his banker colleagues didn't mind Dodd-Frank, but were furious about Obama 'demonizing' them."

So sticks and stones won't break your bones, but words will really hurt you? Toughen up.

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About This Author
Dan Primack
Dan Primack
Senior Editor, Fortune

Dan Primack joined Fortune.com in September 2010 to cover deals and dealmakers, from Wall Street to Sand Hill Road. Previously, Dan was an editor-at-large with Thomson Reuters, where he launched both peHUB.com and the peHUB Wire email service. In a past journalistic life, Dan ran a community paper in Roxbury, Massachusetts. He currently lives just outside of Boston.

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