The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Obama’s New Attack Ad, Already Debunked


The new Obama ad hits Mitt Romney for the closure of GST Steel after its purchase by Bain Capital, Romney’s former financial firm.

Romney’s departure from Bain: 1999.

GST Bankruptcy Filing and layoffs: 2001. (Dan Margolies, “Shutdown Is End Of An Era,” The Kansas City Star, 2/8/01)

The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker, discussing earlier Obama attacks that used the same technique – blaming Romney for decisions his old firm made after he left:

Notice a problem with the last two examples? The outsourcing occurred in 2000 and 2001. Romney left Bain in early 1999.

We’ve gone over this problem with the Obama campaign before, awarding three Pinocchios to a January memo the team released blaming Romney for job losses and bad deals that took place after the former executive had stopped working for Bain.

We discovered that Romney’s name appeared on Bain SEC filings between 1999 and 2002. But a 2002 statement the former executive filed with the Massachusetts State Ethics Commission said he was a “passive, limited partner [with] no management capacity” in the Bain entities in which he held ownership.

We also learned that the creditors who sued some of Bain’s companies and executives over dividend payments around the time in question did not name Romney in their lawsuit. Plaintiffs generally try to list as many people as possible as defendants to encourage settlement, so it’s highly unlikely that Romney had any involvement with Bain’s businesses during this period.

These facts essentially exonerate Romney from allegations that he was responsible for any outsourcing, bad deals and layoffs that occurred with Bain’s companies in the early 2000s.

The Post gave Obama “Three Pinocchios” for the attack. The efforts of “fact-checking” blogs, web-sites, etc., seem rather Sisyphean when they call out a candidate for making a blatantly misleading or false statement… and those candidates just keep on making the same statements.

UPDATE: Take a listen to the background music in this ad: lots of harps and chimes. Discussions of “vampires, sucking the life out of us.” We know Obama loves to go after Romney on “outsourcing jobs to China.”

Considering how the ad is blatantly aimed at blue-collar industrial workers, who worry about cheap foreign labor stealing their jobs, is there some not-so-subtle race-baiting going on in it?

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney


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