This is one of the more brutal political ads I've seen and potentially quite effective. It jabs with private-equity, then unleashes a haymaker on healthcare.Glenn Kessler/WaPo:
Most controversially, Soptic this time appears to blame Romney for the death of his wife after he lost his health insurance when the steel plant closed. (UPDATE: Politico reported that Ranae Soptic died in 2006, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts.) We will leave it to the judgement of readers about whether such comments are appropriate, and not offer a new Pinocchio rating...Politico:
We have given the Obama campaign Pinocchios for blaming Romney for Bain deals that took place entirely after he left for the Olympics gig. This case is a different matter. It falls into a gray area, because the investment and many key decisions were made while Romney was running Bain, as he has acknowledged ? even if the denouement came when he was no longer in charge. Romney, in fact, in the past has tried to claim credit for jobs created at companies years after he left Bain, so it?s no surprise the Obama campaign would try to tag him for job losses.
Bain Capital issued a statement saying that ?we understand that in a political campaign our exemplary 28-year record will be distorted and complex business situations will be portrayed in a simplistic way.?
He added, "Some people like me want to see Mitt say, 'You bet we tore some companies up. That's what it took to save them and save most of the jobs. And America is going to have do some tough things too. I've got the courage to do that. You had your shot and you gave us more of same and it isn't working.'"See above ad and judge for yourself how well that will work.
Whether Romney goes that route remains to be seen - so far he's resisted the calls to define Bain in terms beyond talking about companies like Staples. And whether Davis will be actively pushing out a message that differs from what Boston has done so far will become clearer in the coming weeks.
The new Priorities USA Action ad is running in Iowa, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Pennsylvania, part of a $20-million campaign focused on Romney?s business record.CSM:
Combating such attacks on Bain is a top priority of the Romney campaign, which has been constrained because much of its money cannot be used until he is formally nominated at the Republican National Convention at the end of the month.
Once those resources are freed up, they plan to devote some to portraying a more compelling picture of Romney?s business career. They have explored the possibility of telling some of the stories of companies that thrived after Bain?s intervention and Romney?s role in that turnaround.
The Obama campaign?s populist Bain ads have been aimed squarely at what used to be called Reagan Democrats, wrote conservative blogger Ross Douthat in The New York Times on Tuesday. This voting sector is older, whiter, and more blue-collar. It?s socially conservative but suspicious of big business and more sympathetic to government safety-net efforts than most GOP voters.ABC News:
President Obama won?t win this segment of the voting population. But he may be able to make many of them so disgusted with both candidates that they just stay home in November.
That?s Mr. Douthat?s theory, anyway.
Bain is back for the Democrats and welfare reform is on the table for Republicans as both sides push their pre-convention messages.Welfare reform? Really? Dog-whistle politics in 2012? It's enough to make you think Romney hasn't locked up the knuckle-dragger vote yet.
Blue collar white males, like Joe Soptic and those featured in the Romney ads, could be critical in this year's election in Rust Belt states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Democrats, and Mr. Obama in particular, have struggled to appeal to that demographic. Recent polls show Mr. Obama performing well against Romney in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but to win Pennsylvania, for instance, he'll have to bolster his support in working class areas like Pittsburgh.John Sides:
Are Mitt Romney?s Wealth and Taxes Taxing His Campaign?See ad to get the point made, right to your gut.
Third, even if Romney faces disadvantages on dimensions related to wealth and empathy, it?s not certain whether those dimensions will be the most important ones in November. Empathy is not the one true key to victory. More important may be perceptions of which candidate will best improve the economy?something on which Romney has the advantage...
At the same time, our experiments are just words on the screen during a survey interview, and may not have the impact of a political ad, with its richer palette of image and sound.
How incompetent is the Romney campaign? They keep coming up with these stupid gambits?the last was the lie that Obama opposed early voting for members of the military in Ohio?that are shot down instantaneously (everywhere but in Fox-Rush land). And worse, the Democrats?who seem to have a superior oppo team?can often produce counter-stories, like the Herald item, that make things even worse for Romney.When a campaign starts up with the welfare line of attack you know they're scraping bottom...
But there is a larger question here: How stupid does he think we are? Every day brings a mind-boggling act of untruth-telling. Last week, he told Sean Hannity that his economic plan ?is very similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan.? Except for the fact that Simpson-Bowles raised $2 trillion in revenue over the next 10 years and Romney?s plan raises?well, he won?t say, but so far he hasn?t identified one red cent. I can?t remember a candidate so brazenly allergic to facts. What a travesty.
Don't miss polling analysis by Alan Abramowitz, posting right here at Daily Kos, reviewing Rasmussen and Gallup polling. And in addition to my review of the election prognosticators Sunday, Nate Silver has a more rigorous review of the topic here.
My segment on yesterday's Kagro in the Morning is here. I'll have to miss today's show, but I'll be back tomorrow at 9 am ET.