President Barack Obama's reelection campaign on Monday morning opened a new front in its election faceoff with presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, releasing documentary-style videos and a full website portraying Romney as a job-destroying corporate takeover artist.
The Obama campaign put out a two-minute video and a six-minute video featuring interviews with former workers at GST Steel, a company acquired by Romney's private equity firm Bain Capital in 1993. GST shut down its Kansas City plant in 2001, costing about 750 workers their jobs.
The Obama campaign has also launched a website, RomneyEconomics.com, which focuses on GST and two other companies that went bankrupt after Bain acquired them: Dade International, a medical diagnostics equipment firm, and Stage Stores, a chain of small-town department stores.
That means there are likely to be more videos such as the ones released today focusing on GST.
For now, the Obama campaign will be airing the two-minute ad in Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Virginia, the campaign said. The six-minute video can only be seen online.
The campaign describes GST this way on RomneyEconomics.com:
Kansas City’s GST Steel was a successful company that had been making steel rods for 103 years when Mitt Romney and his partners took control in 1993. They cut corners and extracted profit from the business at every turn, placing it deeply in debt. When the company eventually declared bankruptcy, workers were denied their full pensions and health insurance, and the federal government was forced to step in and bail out the pension fund.
When Reuters wrote about GST in January, Romney spokesman Ryan Williams offered this comment: "Bain Capital invested in many businesses. While not every business was successful, the firm had an excellent overall track record and created jobs with well-known companies like Staples, Dominos Pizza and Sports Authority."
Watch both GST videos here:
UPDATE: 9:05 a.m. -- The Romney campaign responded with a written statement:
“We 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," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
"President Obama has many questions to answer as to why his administration used the stimulus to reward wealthy campaign donors with taxpayer money for bad ideas like Solyndra, but 23 million Americans are still struggling to find jobs," Saul said. "If the Obama administration was less concerned about pleasing their wealthy donors and more concerned about creating jobs, America would be much better off."
UPDATE: 9:55 a.m. -- The ads have generated a significant amount of pushback from beyond the Romney campaign as well.
The Daily Caller points out that Romney was no longer "running the day-to-day activities" at Bain Capital when GST Steel went bankrupt in 2001.
And the Washington Examiner suggests that Romney responds by pointing out that Obama cost tens of thousands of jobs by pushing the auto companies to close dealerships in exchange for a bailout.
UPDATE: 3:45 p.m. -- The Obama campaign's ad buy is only for one day, href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/05/obamas-bain-ad-a-day-engagement-123398.html" target="_hplink">according to Politico, making it more of a play to earn media coverage than a real paid ad campaign intended to persuade voters.