Over the next five months, the Obama campaign plans to release a series of hard-hitting ads linking Mitt Romney to shutting down thriving businesses, laying off thousands of employees and pocketing profits while workers struggled to make ends meet.
Romney’s corporate greed will be one of the major story lines from now until Election Day, according to Obama aides.
The Romney camp calls it character assassination. The Obama campaign calls it the truth.
Obama campaign advisors point to Ampad to make their case to voters. In 1994, Ampad acquired and quickly closed a plant in Marion, Indiana which cost all 250 workers their jobs. Ampad went on to lose a total of 1,500 jobs while Romney and his investors multiplied their initial investment 20 times over.
After Romney and his investors left the company with about $170 million of debt owed to unsecured creditors, Obama aides said. Ampad ended up paying out less than $330,000. While Romney and his partners made $100 million on the deal, the unsecured creditors who lost out when Amped went into bankruptcy are now getting two-tenths of a cent for every dollar they were owed.
“So Romney and his partners get many multiples of their initial investment for driving a company into bankruptcy and driving workers out of a job – and his creditors get to wait 11 years to find out they’re getting a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of what they’re owed,” Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said. “It was ‘heads I win, tails you lose.’ This is Romney Economics. They would be a disaster for the American economy.”
Randy Johnson, a former Ampad employee, said Romney is only interested is making money – lots of it.
“Romney and his fellow investors got into the game to grow their own wealth, not to create jobs or grow the company for everyone,” Johnson said. “To them, Ampad must’ve been a resounding success. If he took those values and lessons to the White House, it would be a resounding failure.”
"He talks about efficiency, but that was never the real intent," Johnson added. "It was kind of a shell game. Borrow money; borrow more, leverage it up with debt. Hold an IPO and walk away while the company ends up in bankruptcy."
Meanwhile, Romney seems to play fast and loose with the facts. He has estimated the number of jobs he helped create as 10,000 or more than 100,000, but he offers few documents to support his assertions. He also claims to have created thousands of jobs while serving as governor of Massachusetts, but the state ranked 47th in job creation during his term.
Many economists say Romney struggled during his tenure as governor and never lived up to his own hype. And President Barack Obama says that Romney doesn't have the business aptitude to be president.
“When you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits," Obama said in a speech to supporters last week. "So, if your main argument for how to grow the economy is ‘I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,’ then you’re missing what this job is about. It doesn’t mean you weren’t good at private equity, but that’s not what my job is as president.”
There are signs that the economy is improving. Today, the black unemployment rate has dropped to 13 percent, which is still unacceptable considering the nation’s jobless rate has dropped to 8.1 percent. But the numbers are now going in the right direction.
Romney has yet to speak about the black unemployment problem. He may never talk about it. Has he written off the black vote? Not yet. In fact, the Romney campaign is crafting an African-American outreach effort and hired Tara Wall, a black conservative and former George W. Bush appointee, as the campaign's senior communications adviser.
"From a messaging standpoint, we need to be able to communicate and relate to these communities about how they are being impacted by Obama's policies," Wall told The Washington Post. "It's the right thing to do, and it's an important part of the process. It's not a ploy, it's not a tactic. It's part of who we are. We have to show up."
Black Republicans are still trying to convince African-American voters that Romney would be a better president than Obama. That’s a real stretch considering that Romney hasn’t explained why his Mormon religion teaches that black people are cursed by God.
For decades, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has taught that black people are “inferior” and “cursed” by God because of something sinister that blacks did before they were born.
“And [God] had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity,” according to a bizarre passage from the Book of Mormon. “For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”
What does Romney think about this Mormon scripture? He won't say. Or at least he's not telling black voters.