The Obama campaign unleashed a three-pronged attack against Mitt Romney Monday with a biting television ad, a new video and a website that criticizes Romney’s business acumen while questioning whether Romney is capable of overseeing the nation’s economy.
The campaign released a six-minute video featuring the story of GST Steel, which was purchased by Romney and shut down after more than 100 years of business. After buying the company under the corporate name Bain Capital, Romney and his partners saddled it with debt, closed the Kansas City plant and left with a healthy profit, leaving 750 employees out of work with their pensions in jeopardy, according to the Obama campaign.
A two-minute ad about GST Steel will run in Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado – all battleground states.
“They made as much money off it as they could,” says Dale Soptic, a steelworker for 30 years who appears in the video. “They closed it down, they filed for bankruptcy without any concern for the families or communities.”
Steelworkers like Soptic who are featured in the ad say Romney’s record as Bain’s chief executive shows that Romney does not have the compassion to run the country.
“He’s running for president, and if he’s going to run the country like he ran our business, I don’t want him there,” Soptic says in the television spot. “He would be so out of touch with average people in this country. How could you care, how could you care for the average working person if you feel that way?”
Another steelworker, Jack Cobb, said Bain was like a “vampire.”
“They came in and sucked the life out of us,” Wiseman said. “It was like watching an old friend bleed to death.”
The Obama campaign says the video will be featured on RomneyEconomics.com, a new website that allows voters “to learn the real story” of Romney’s business record.
The new Obama campaign assault comes as polls show that Romney, the GOP presidential opponent, is running neck-and-neck with Obama on the economy.
Even Romney’s former business partner said Romney was only interested in making money and putting profits over people.
“I never thought of what I do for a living as job creation,” Marc B. Walpow, former managing partner at Bain Capital who worked closely with Romney for nine years, told The Los Angeles Times last year. “The primary goal of private equity is to create wealth for your investors.”
But Romney’s campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Romney would “welcome the Obama campaign’s attempt to pivot back to jobs and a discussion of their failed record. Mitt Romney helped create more jobs in his private sector experience and more jobs as Governor of Massachusetts than President Obama has for the entire nation.”
In a conference call with journalists on Monday, Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Romney, while running Bain, was only concerned only about “creating wealth and not creating jobs.” She said Romney and his partners “walked away with millions and left workers with nothing.”
Although Romney left Bain two years before the company went bankrupt, Cutter said Romney laid the groundwork for Bain’s demise.
“He set this in motion,” Cutter said. “It was his structure that was put in place, and he still is- was listed at this time as either the CEO or President of the company, was still making profits off this deal, and continues to profit off of Bain Capital today.”
During the conference call, Soptic said Bain “cut corners to cut costs,” adding that he had to “fight” Bain to get earplugs, safety glasses and respirators to keep workers safe. Soptic said under Bain, workers risked their lives 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. “It was a sweatshop for eight years,” he said.
Meanwhile, Walpow, who does not support Romney for president, explained Romney’s greedy business strategy.
“They’re whitewashing his career now,” Wolpow told The Los Angeles Times. “We had a scheme where the rich got richer. I did it, and I feel good about it. But I’m not planning to run for office.”