WASHINGTON -- The stars of an $8.3 million ad buy by American Crossroads, which criticizes President Barack Obama's attitude toward small business, received more than $300,000 in government contracts during his term alone.
"Small businesses like ours are what have driven this country, and President Obama just doesn't seem to understand that," says Sherry Wuebben, the CFO and treasurer of St. Joseph's Equipment of LaCrosse, Wis., in the ad, which is running in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia for a week.
American Crossroads is a GOP-aligned super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove that -- coupled with its 501(c)(4) arm, Crossroads GPS -- plans to spend $300 million in the 2012 election cycle.
"There's a reason there aren't more jobs," says Bill Schams, president of St. Joseph's Equipment, in the ad. "Obama has made a lot of bad decisions. He treats us like we are his enemy."
Wuebben and Schams then make standard conservative criticisms about rising health care costs and regulations.
"Obama definitely is making things harder for us. If he has four more years, I don't think we're gonna want to see what it looks like," closes Schams.
In fact, their company has been the beneficiary of nearly $2 million in government contracts dating back at least to 1999, according to government data. It has received $345,621 under Obama, $1,304,190 under President George W. Bush and at least $331,235 under President Bill Clinton. The vast majority of these contracts were with the Department of Defense.
The Bridge Project, a pro-Democratic 501(c)(4) group devoted to fact-checking conservative ads, provided HuffPost with research about the principals of the ad.
St. Joseph's Equipment describes itself as a farm equipment dealer serving western Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota. The company has sold or leased heavy machinery, such as a "front wheel loader with angle blades" or snow removal equipment, to the Defense Department.
In November 2010, Wuebben sang a different song, saying the small business environment was looking better. "We're feeling a lot more comfortable," she told USA Today, referencing the fact that Wells Fargo had cut the interest rate on the company's credit line from 4.5 to 3 percent and started providing financing for close to the full value of the goods the company acquired in trade-ins before they were resold. She said those moves, which freed up to $100,000 per month, allowed her to rehire two workers she had had to lay off in 2009.
American Crossroads and Wuebben did not respond to phone messages left for comment.
Sarah Bufkin contributed reporting.
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