Mitt Romney's campaign has a new TV ad meant to counter attacks on his career at private-equity firm Bain Capital, using the same defense it has ever since his rivals for the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination started taking populist jabs at him.
Romney helped create the popular retailers Staples and Sports Authority, as well as the less well-known Steel Dynamics, an Indiana steel maker, the ad called "Bright Future" says. (The New York Times' The Caucus political blog got early access to the ad.)
A woman narrator intones:
"Mitt Romney helped create and ran a company that invested in struggling businesses, grew new ones and rebuilt old ones, creating thousands of jobs. Those are the facts. We expected the Obama administration to put free markets on trial. But as The Wall Street Journal said: 'Mitt Romney's GOP opponents are embarrassing themselves by taking the Obama line.' "
The Caucus reports that the ad is the first from the Romney campaign to push back against the charges made by Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry that Romney and Bain were corporate predators who "looted" weak companies (Gingrich) and exploited them like "vultures" (Perry).
The former House speaker started the line of attack in Iowa and continued it through New Hampshire and into South Carolina. The southern state whose "first in the South" primary is a week from Saturday, is particularly fertile ground for the attack since it has a ten percent unemployment rate and a history of corporate parents closing textile mills and other manufacturing companies.
The ad is evidence of the Romney's campaign worries that the attacks are having an effect. Polls done in recent days have shown Romney and Gingrich in a much tighter race than earlier polls did.
Particularly vexing for Romney's campaign has to be the nearly 30-minute movie called "When Mitt Romney Came To Town" that alleges that when the GOP front-runner was a top private-equity executive, the actions of Bain led to layoffs of workers at several companies. That film was supported by "Winning Our Future", a superPAC supporting Gingrich.