There seems to be widespread agreement that the half-hour documentary attacking Mitt Romney’s Bain years that was released yesterday by the pro-Gingrich Super PAC was a very effective piece of political communication. Ed Kilgore, for instance, described it as a "heat seaking missle aimed directly at the white working class id.”
But what will South Carolina voters themselves see? Will this attack translate well in the 30-second and 60-second ads based on this documentary that the Newt Super PAC ad will run in the state?
My Post colleague Rachel Weiner has now obtained video of the two South Carolina spots from the Super PAC, Winning Our Future, and they’re up on You Tube. Here’s the 60-second version:
And here’s the 30-second version:
Rick Tyler, the GOP operative who works for Winning The Future, says the ads are part of a $3.4 million buy that includes other media. We should obviously treat that figure with serious skepticism until the money is actually spent, but if that’s true, that’s a significant buy for South Carolina.
The Romney campaign is vowing to retool its counterattack — apparently arguing that questioning his Bain years amounts to attacking free enterprise and the American way isn’t enough — and is planning its own ads featuring workers who are really psyched about what Bain did for them. It remains to be seen if this will pan out — the counterargument is a tough one to make. Indeed, the pro-Romney Super PAC’s first ad pushing back on the Bain attacks doesn’t even address the substance of the issues involved.
South Carolina GOP primary voters are obviously very conservative, and while blue collar S.C. Republicans might be somewhat receptive to this message, this isn’t an ideal test case to see whether these attacks could move the needle among the economically struggling swing state voters who will help decide the general election. Still, this seems to be the first paid ad campaign directly focused on Bain, so it will be interesting to track what kind of impact it has, if any.