Newt Gingrich’s barbs against Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s old investment firm, during the Republican presidential-primary campaign were merely an appetizer. Months later, the Obama campaign is launching its own Bain blitz, releasing a maudlin, two-minute montage of disgruntled steelworkers who supposedly lost their jobs because of Romney’s ruthlessness.
The campaign spot, which focuses on GST Steel, formerly of Kansas City, Mo., casts Romney as a Wall Street “vampire” who restructured the company, sold its parts, and left town before it went belly-up.
Romney has dealt with such attacks before, most memorably during his 1994 Senate race in Massachusetts against Ted Kennedy. But how the Romney campaign responds to this Obama broadside will say much about its general-election strategy, and its defense of Romney’s past.
Several Republican strategists, in background chats, tell National Review Online that this moment is a critical test for Team Romney, which needs to assert its ability to return fire on the Bain front.