Obama Hits Mitt Where It Hurts

The latest advertisement from the Obama campaign—which will air in Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Virginia—is, so far, the most important one of the president’s re-election effort. Take a look:

This is a brutal attack on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, and far more effective than anything launched by the former Massachusetts governor’s Republican opponents in the GOP primary. The workers are given space to speak for themselves, and the result is a focus on the human toll of Romney’s career. The ad insinuates that this is what a Romney presidency has in store for America. When coupled with continued emphasis on Romney’s opposition to the auto bailouts, it presents Romney as a cold, cruel plutocrat.

Here’s why this is crucial. If President Obama has built his“ brand” around honesty and likeability, then Mitt Romney is trying to center his on competence; you may not like the former Massachusetts governor—you may not even trust him—but you know that he can fix the United States, and turn around the ship. It’s why he focuses so heavily on his career in venture capitalism, and why—as Politico describes—this morning, the Romney campaign is devoted to “steadily building up Romney as a safe and competent alternative to President Barack Obama.”

Indeed, the idea that Romney is competent is key to building a perception of moderation for the GOP nominee. In American politics—or at least, the coverage thereof—“moderation” is tied to affect. In truth, Howard Dean was a left-leaning centrist, but his loud opposition to George W. Bush made him an “extremist.” On the other end, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan wants to drastically reshape government with low taxes on the wealthy, and deep cuts to programs for the poor, sick, and infirm. But because of his affable, wonkish persona, he’s perceived as a mainstream figure, despite how radical his agenda is. Romney is on the Paul Ryan side of the ledger, with a budget plan that would shred the social safety net. He needs voters to see him as a reasonable and competent steward of their affairs, and not as a stalking horse for the right-wing.

The Obama ad (and its corresponding website, Romneyeconomics.com) is a direct attack on Romney’s competence. In much the same way as Karl Rove, the campaign is trying to turn Romney’s strength—his private-sector experience—into a weakness. “Yes, Governor Romney was a skilled generator of wealth, but he did so at the cost of families like yours. Just imagine what he’ll do in the White House.” The Romney campaign has been trying to do the same to the president—and may well succeed—but for now, it’s a half-step when compared to this effort.

The good news for Romney is that voters are willing to accept his claim to competence. In the most recent survey from Pew, Romney wins 48 percent of those who say that jobs are the most important issue in this election. Likewise, according to Gallup, 61 percent say that Romney would do a “good or very good job” of handling the economy if elected president.

The bad news, however, is that Obama has space for his message; according to NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, 71 percent say that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who says “America is better off when everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules,” and 76 percent say that they are more likely to vote for someone who promises to “fight for balance and fairness and encourage the investments needed to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.” This is the core of Obama’s message, and one of the themes highlighted in his attack on Bain Capital.

The last time Romney was in a close election with a formidable opponent, Bain Capital proved to be the decisive factor in his defeat. I doubt will see a repeat of that, but even still, the Romney campaign can’t be happy about Obama’s compelling attack on the governor’s most vital asset.

Comments

Spoken like a true Conservative Fascist. We defeated people like you, twice, in the World Wars, when groups of American humans decided lots of important things.

I think you are talking about the liberal Fascists from Italy and Germany.

You are honestly going to call Mussolini and Hitler "liberal" fascists? My god the right wing bubble is an insane asylum. What color is the sky on the imaginary planet where you live?

Would this ad really work?
I looked at the first Gingrich ad about Bain Capital and I thought, "what are the republicans thinking?". I felt the same joy that I felt when McCain selected Sarah Palin. How stupid can one be? This means Obama would win by a landslide if the one single thing they could have held against him --- that he had less managerial experience in than a safeway assistant manager has-- was neutralized by choosing a person whose job it is to be a "heartbeat away" who was even less experienced. Are they going to lose Indiana again?

Now, I am not so sure. This is not 2008. Now we have Citizen's United! Look at the army of the responders who will defend their man in every corner of the media. Gobbles said if you tell a lie a thousand times, people will believe it. We may actually see a man, who, as described by Governor Perry, lived like a vulture capitalist, win a landslide, backed by the very same white working class on whose blood he built his empire.

This article is a joke. Right?

Are you not aware that the steel mill was closed two years after Romney left Bain, and while he was involved with the Olympic Games? And are you not aware that 17 other steel mills closed that same year due to dumping by the Chinese? And do you not understand what Bain Capital does? They take failing companies (most on the verge of bankruptcy) and save them. Do you realize that they had a success rate of 78%? Do you understand how amazing those results are? And do you realize that one of the other investment firms that "helped the steel mill" is an Obama campaign donor that he met with just a few days ago?

I'm sorry, but if this is the best you have against Mitt Romney, then you have a totally losing campaign...but then I think most people are already figuring that out from the rise Romney has seen in the polls.

Dream on "Progessives", your hit pieces aren't working. The left-wing Lame Stream Media has invented another bogey man aka the Koch Bros.  The Bain Capital record is one of saving companies and saving peoples' jobs.  Bain looks to buy companies that aren't doing well to turn them around.  Of course, being capitalists, they want to make money when they can.  Only 22% of the companies Bain invested in during Romney's time went under but only because they were riskier (WSJ).  And guess how many people are employed by Staples, a start-up that Bain supported; 90,000.  There are many other examples.

Obama and his people got a free pass in 2008. Now they are ALL in over their heads. Took about a day for Romney and company to respond and to render this hit piece impotent. Desperation is coming early this year to Team Obama.

http://youtu.be/Q2w7iXazNso

If you want the truth here are all the facts any thinking person needs to know.
Bush average annual deficit averaged $300 Billion over 8 YEARS.
Obama average deficit $1.45 TRILLION over 3 years.
When Bush left office in 2008 US NATIONAL DEBT
was $9.3 TRILLION
US Nation Debt today is $15.75 TRILLION
On Mar13 2016 PROJECTED US NATIONAL DEBT are:
CBO $17.9 TRILLION $17,900,000,000,000
OMB $19.6 TRILLION
GOP $18.8 TRILLION
USDEBT CLOCK $ 21.5 TRILLION
43 Presidents combined from 1789 – 2009 = $6.3 Trillion
Obama first 3.5 years $6.477 Trillion.
One debt downgrade and another one in the rumor mill. Hows that hope & change working out for the US?
These days I think it sucks myself. My grandkids grandkids will still be paying of this debt.

"... If President Obama has built his 'brand' around honesty and likeability..."
----------------------------------
Likeability... yes. Honesty? You've gotta be joking!

This ad must be good, look at all the right wing trolls attacking it with their lies.

Forget all the right-wing talking points. Here is an objective analysis of Obama's claims about Romney and Bain Capital that found the statements "mostly true." http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/16/barack-obama/obama-ad-claims-romney-bain-left-misery-wake-gst-s/ And I can assure you Politifact examined the issue in more depth and with more objectivity than any of the right-wingers spewing talking points on this board.

Forget all the right-wing talking points. Here is an objective analysis of Obama's claims about Romney and Bain Capital in the ad and found the statements "Mostly True." And Politifact examined the issue in more depth and with more objectivity than the right wingers posting on this thread. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/16/barack-obama/obama-ad-claims-romney-bain-left-misery-wake-gst-s/

Forget all the left-wing talking points. If you really want to understand what went on you will find it here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204331304577140850713493694.html?mod=WSJ_article_comments#articleTabs%3Dcomments

The only problem with this "compelling" political ad is that it is highly misleading.

Americans aren't as stupid as Axlerod and Ploueff believe them to be. Romney hadn't work at Bain inr two years when that steel company failed. And even if he had been there, steel companies were failing left and right during that period.

In the real world, not every company, no matter how hard working their employees might be, makes the cut.

This dishonest campaign ad is from the same geniuses who bought us the imaginary "War on Women." How'd that work out for them?

Jamelle just regurgitates. You hear it again and again that the Paul Ryan wants to reduce the taxes on the rich when the call is for reduced taxes for everyone. I am not sure how you feel but we all give too much to the government to waste.
For Jamelle and our President to criticize the mechanisms we have in place such as private investment firms such as Bain is disgusting. These companies are part of the financial community and we need them. The steel industry no longer is important in this country. They just cannot compete. We now do other things in this country. For this Presidents campaign to assemble these fools to put out his anti capitalistic message is truly disgusting.

Are you kidding? This is one of the best campaign fodders yet. If Team Obama keeps this up, Romney will win in a landslide. I won't repeat what has already been said in defense of Romney. However, for those of you who worship at the throne of King Hussein, KH attended a $40,000 a head fundraiser hosted by Hamilton "Tony" James, President of Blackstone Group, the largest private equity group in the U.S. on the same day the above ad was released. You cannot get any more hypocritical than that.

And in the other corner, we have Steel Dynamics, the 5th largest producer of carbon steel in the United States. $8 billion in revenue last year; 6,500 full time employees. http://youtu.be/Q2w7iXazNso

Thank, Mitt!

I am curious. So many extreme right wing people, reading and commenting in American Prospect! Would some of you please explain, why you read the American Prospect? Why have be left totally unmoved by the excellent scholarly articles in it? Why do you keep reading it? Does anyone pay you to write these letters? if, so, how much? If somehow, I became needy, if the price is right, who knows?

It appears that this "liberal" site won't post comments it disagrees with.

The left-wing Lame Stream Media has invented another bogey man aka the Koch Bros.  The Bain Capital record is one of saving companies and saving peoples' jobs.  Bain looks to buy companies that aren't doing well to turn them around.  Of course, being capitalists, they want to make money when they can.  Only 22% of the companies Bain invested in during Romney's time went under but only because they were riskier (WSJ).  And guess how many people are employed by Staples, a start-up that Bain supported; 90,000.  There are many other examples.

I went to work for a company that had just been bought out by Bain. This was a very successful company, had a good business model, had a ton of cash in the bank, a known brand name. Bain drained the accounts and then borrowed heavily against the business. They were looking for a sucker to buy them out and complete the flip, but it was at a downturn in the economy.

So instead, they laid off 95% of the workforce and brought in contractors from overseas. That is what passes for good business practice these days. Take that money directly out of the American economy and send it overseas. Bain makes a profit on the books, managers get their bonuses, and who cares about the quality of the product or the long-term effect of taking millions of dollars out of our economy?

What they have now is a company that is barely functional but all of the balance sheets say its profitable because of the cheap (and worthless) labor force. Project work is at a complete standstill and their corporate website has been down for weeks at a time because they don't have anyone who knows what they're doing. I can honestly say I've never really seen greedy and immoral people until that experience.

Romney is the guy who invented this takeover model, and the only people who think it's a good thing are those who have not been on the bought-out end.

For all those without jobs or a college degree, do you think the vulture capitalist is your best friend- by the way, Romney bought a house in La Jolla Ca for millions, tore it down and built another mansion- does anyone posting here have that kind of money? Romney is really out of touch with the 99%.

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