President Obama’s campaign is out with a tough new ad, “Steel,” attacking former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s record on job creation.
The two-minute ad focuses on GS Technologies, a steel mill in Kansas City, Mo., that was bought by Romney’s private equity firm Bain Capital and went bankrupt soon after.
The ad paints Romney as out of touch with the needs of the local workers and concerned only with Bain’s own profits.
“We view Mitt Romney as a job destroyer,” says one former mill worker in the ad. Another calls Bain “a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us.”
The spot will air in five key states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Iowa and Colorado. It will run for only one day, May 16, on the evening news. The campaign has also launched a Web site, RomneyEconomics.com, with a six-minute version of the ad.
The Obama campaign has launched a $25 million ad buy this month.
“Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as Governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
The Romney campaign also released its own web ad, “American Dream,” focused on a successful steel company invested in by Bain:
Bain bought GST in 1993. According to a January profile of the takeover by Reuters, less than a decade later, the plant closed, and 750 workers lost their jobs. The workers were denied their severance and health insurance, and their pensions were cut. A federal pension agency had to bail out the underfunded pension plan. Yet Bain profited.
“Bain Capital invested in many businesses,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams told Reuters. “While not every business was successful, the firm had an excellent overall track record and created jobs with well-known companies like Staples, Dominos Pizza and Sports Authority.”
Romney co-founded Bain, but he left in 1999 to run the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. The steel company went bankrupt in 2001. “He set this in motion,” argued Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter on a conference call with reporters.
The ad is Obama’s first to attack Romney’s business record, but it’s not the first criticism of Romney’s Bain tenure during the presidential campaign. In the Republican primary race, former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry took similar lines of attack.