The Obama campaign seemed to stumble with its Bain message out of the gate, as some in the Democratic Party, most notably Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker (D), decried the strategy as an attack on free-market capitalism.
“While criticism of Romney’s business record may not resonate with elites, it is clearly resonating with the actual voters who will decide this election,” Burton said in the memo. “New independent data this week replaces theoretical banter by pundits with empirical evidence from voters. Middle class Americans across this country are concerned about Romney’s record of profiting from bankruptcies and are affected by the stories of people like Loris Huffman and Pat Wells who lost everything so that Romney could make millions.”
The memo cites focus-group data in which independent voters said they were less likely to vote for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee by a 4-to-1 margin after hearing about his business record.
Despite the criticism from some within the Democratic Party, the Obama campaign last week said it was “just beginning” to roll out attacks against Romney over his career as an executive at Bain Capital.
“This is a discussion that we’re just beginning, that extends to his public-sector tenure as well in terms of applying that economic philosophy,” said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt in a conference call with reporters.
“If you look at the regional coverage, particularly in the industrial Midwest, this is a very different conversation in battleground states than it is among elites in the Northeast Corridor,” he continued. “And I think the notion that Romney and his partners always made a profit even when the companies went under and even when the workers lost their jobs and their pensions and their healthcare has raised serious concerns in many states across the country.”
In that conference call, LaBolt confirmed what was reported by The Hill in early June — that the campaign will go full throttle after the Romney-Bain connection regardless of the qualms of some Democrats.
“Mitt Romney has made his tenure as a corporate buyout specialist the central premise of his candidacy and claimed it is what credentials him to be a job creator as president,” LaBolt told The Hill. “But Governor Romney’s goal wasn’t job creation, as he claims. It was profit maximization for himself and his partners — he profited off of bankrupting companies and outsourcing jobs.”
The Priorities USA memo was released a day before it unveiled another ad targeting the former Massachusetts governor’s record at Bain Capital.
In the new video released Saturday, a former steelworker, Donnie Box, stands in front of a padlocked factory and charges Romney and the private-equity giant of closing the plant and costing hundreds of Americans their jobs.
“Romney and Bain Capital shut this place down,” Box says in the ad. “They shut down entire livelihoods. They promised us healthcare packages, they promised to maintain our retirement program, and those are the first two things that disappeared.”