By Joe Kaiser -
During the primary season, Newt Gingrich and his big donor Sheldon Adelson released a half hour film entitled ‘When Mitt Romney Came to Town.’ The film examined people’s stories of Bain Capital, with the addition of chilling music that made venture capitalism look like the perfect basis for a horror film.
Gingrich’s frightening film is nothing now, though, compared to what just hit the Internet yesterday. A new ad from Obama’s Bill Maher funded super PAC, Priorities USA Action, is reviving the attacks on Bain Capital in a new, startling and dishonest way.
The ad features narration from a man named Joe Soptic, a former steelworker in Kansas City who lost his job after Bain Capital bought and shut down the plant where he worked. The connection to Romney pretty much stops there, as the story is then stretched out to multiple degrees of separation. Soptic goes onto say that losing his job forced him to lose his health insurance, resulting in his wife dying of cancer.
The story is tragic and a viewer cannot help but feel for the man and his loss. But when the minute and two seconds of tragedy combined with Obama demagoguery end, the bizarre and factually bankrupt message of the ad is realized: Priorities USA Action, essentially a faction of the Obama team, is trying to connect a woman’s death to Gov. Romney.
Obviously this is ridiculous. Even if the PAC truly believes there is a link to the woman’s untimely passing and Romney’s decision making at Bain, they need to revisit the timeline before making public such a poor accusation. CNN Fact Checked this ad quickly and clearly pointed out that Romney ended his day-to-day oversight at Bain in 1999. GST Steel, Soptic’s company, was shut down in 2001. Romney officially left Bain a year later, around the time Soptic’s wife left her job also and lost her health insurance. She died in 2006. Suggesting that Romney, despite inactivity with Bain starting seven years prior, should be at fault for this couple’s loss can be easily repudiated when faced with facts.
However, the stretching of the truth is not even the biggest takeaway from this clip. The most telling realization from the ad is that the Obama campaign is really running on empty. The lack of issues to run on and the amount negative campaigning is really stunning, considering it is only August and we have yet to reach either party’s convention.
It would be fair to guess that the excessive negativity from both sides could turn independent voters off come Election Day. On November 6 we will find out which candidate the voters liked less through the whole negative campaign season, but if any more advertisements like this come flying out of the Obama campaign or it’s super PAC, chances are voters will flock to the right.
Joe Kaiser is interning with Illinois Review this summer -