President Barack Obama's re-election campaign redoubled its assault on Republican challenger Mitt Romney on Wednesday, assailing him in a pair of new attack ads as a fee-hiking "corporate raider" who oversaw jobs flight to China and Mexico. The former Massachusetts governor's campaign hit back hard with a long rebuttal document calling into question some of the commercials' core charges.
The ads will run in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. While some high-profile Democrats, like former President Bill Clinton, have expressed doubts about the strategy of hitting Romney over his time at Bain Capital, a poll out earlier this month strongly suggested that the approach resonates with voters in pivotal battleground states.
The two ads—the one about fees is dubbed "Mosaic," while the Bain-focused one bears the name "Come and Go"—reflect the Obama campaign's core argument on the economy, the president's greatest political vulnerability. They aim to tear down Romney's claim that as a wildly successful investor, he knows best what can steady the sputtering economy and create jobs, while warning voters that Romney would favor the wealthy, whereas Obama aims to help the middle class. And one of the ads throws in a reference to the former Massachusetts governor's vast personal wealth for good measure. Romney "did cut taxes—on millionaires like himself. But he raised taxes and fees on everyone else," the narrator says.
The video says he raised fees and other duties: "On health care. On school bus rides. On milk. On driver's licenses. On nursing homes. On lead poisoning prevention. On meat and poultry inspection. On fishermen and gun owners. On nurses. On electricians. On hospitals. On funeral homes. On mental health services. On hospice care. On elevator repair."
And "as a corporate raider, he shipped jobs to China and Mexico."
The Romney campaign countered immediately, with spokeswoman Andrea Saul saying, "These misleading ads are the latest effort by the Obama campaign to distract attention from the president's failed policies that have led to high unemployment and falling incomes."
"It's still the economy and the American people aren't stupid," she said.
The Romney campaign's lengthy counter quotes Obama's former "car czar," Steven Rattner, saying that "Bain Capital is not now, nor has it ever been, some kind of Gordon Gekko-like, fire-breathing corporate raider that slashed and burned companies, immolating jobs wherever they appear in its path." And it lists instances in which Romney cut taxes in Massachusetts.