Obama's new 'Steel' ad picks up themes of vanquished Romney GOP rivals – that Mitt Romney is not a job creator but a job killer. But Romney was no longer with Bain Capital when the Kansas City steel mill went under.
President Obama’s reelection campaign has a new ad up that portrays Mitt Romney as a heartless, job-destroying financier. It’s an attack on Mr. Romney’s record as head of Bain Capital that’s similar to some of the stuff Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, and other ex-GOP presidential hopefuls produced during the primary campaign.
Will this line of assault work for Mr. Obama, where it didn’t for Mr. Gingrich, et al.?
Well, the context is different – Obama is trying to reach the whole electorate, as opposed to conservative Republicans in a few states. The timing is different, too. Obama’s ad has come out months prior to the general election. Romney’s primary opponents were trying to influence GOP state voters only days or weeks before they went to the polls.
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But before we dive into this, let’s look at the ad itself, shall we? At first glance, it’s brutal.
The spot, labeled “Steel,” focuses on a Kansas City, Mo., specialty metals firm that Bain acquired in 1993. The company, GST Steel, eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
Most of the two-minute ad is taken up with the personal tales of veteran GST steelworkers. They accuse Bain of vacuuming as much cash out of the firm as it could, then leaving the company for dead.
“It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us," says 31-year steelworker Jack Cobb in the Obama spot.
The ad accuses Bain of closing the company pension plan and seeking the elimination of retiree life and health insurance.
“Those guys were all rich. They all had more money than they’ll ever spend. But they didn’t have the money to take care of the people who made the money for them,” says 30-year company veteran Joe Soptic in the ad.
Ouch. The main point of this, in political terms, is obvious: The Obama campaign is trying to define Romney to crucial segments of the US voting population, as early as it can.