The Fact Checker: Political Ads, 1 Pinocchio

The latest Super PAC attack against Mitt Romney

“Mitt Romney. He made millions off of companies that went bankrupt while workers lost promised health and retirement benefits.

“His own tax return from last year reveals he made $21 million, yet paid a lower tax rate than many middle-class families.

“Now Romney’s proposing a huge new $150,000 tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent, while cutting Medicare and education for us.

“Mitt Romney. If he wins, we lose.”

— Voiceover of a new television ad by Priorities USA Action

This television ad, by the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action, poses a unique challenge for this column because each of the statements uttered within its 30 seconds has a ring of truth. Of course, it paints each of these facts in the most negative light possible, without any balance, but that’s their prerogative.

The ad also repeatedly shows an image of a youthful Romney with dollars stuffed in his pockets — a 27-year-old photo that was shot as part of a promotional effort for a relatively new company, Bain Capital, that Romney headed at the time. The ad at one point even photoshops an image of an older Romney, a rather cheesy maneuver that recently was mocked by our friends over at Flackcheck.org.

Here’s some context for the claims made in the ad.

“He made millions off of companies that went bankrupt while workers lost promised health and retirement benefits.”

That’s the dark side of Romney’s business career at Bain Capital, which he would argue on balance helped create jobs for workers. (We had earlier taken Romney to task for claiming he created 100,000 jobs without mentioning the ones that had been lost.)

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