The Obama campaign's newest television ad: a two-minute spot set to air in five states highlighting Mitt Romney's record of vulture capitalism and job destruction at Bain Capital:
Stylistically, the ad delivers a harsh attack with a soft touch. Gentle music plays throughout as former workers as GST Steel, an enterprise looted by Romney while he was at Bain Capital, talk about the impact his business tactics had on their lives and livelihood. The ad isn't anti-business, though critics will surely describe it as such. Rather, it argues that Romney's approach to business was uniquely destructive to the American economy, making the case that Romney sucked wealth from GST Steel until it was bone dry, lining his pockets at the expense of the workers who helped build the company.
It is part of a larger push by the Obama campaign to focus attention on Romney's track record at Bain. Along with the ad, the campaign has launched a website, romneyeconomics.com, and a longer six-minute video featuring extended commentary from the former GST Steel workers in the ad.
The website goes beyond the ad, highlighting Stage Stores and Dade Behring in addition to GST Steel, and places more emphasis on describing Romney's business model and track record of buying companies, loading them up with debt, and then quickly cashing out before they collapsed into bankruptcy. The website also talks about how Romney's model allowed him to make millions from taxpayers by effectively raiding funds which were subsequently bailed out by the federal government.
Although it's early, this will be a big moment in the campaign. Romney has made his record at Bain the centerpiece of his presidential campaign—he almost never mentions his record as governor of Massachusetts. He didn't even mention it during his big speech after becoming the presumptive G.O.P. nominee, presumably because his job creation record there was abysmal. Given that Romney's entire rationale is rooted in his Bain record, it's hard to imagine him letting this attack go unchallenged. On the other hand, the last time he had to deal with Bain—when Newt Gingrich used it before the South Carolina primary—Romney's response was so hamfisted that he arguably made things worse, and Newt scored a blowout victory. So assuming Romney does respond, one thing's pretty clear: he needs a new story about Bain, and he needs it fast.