"No one could find her. My business partner stepped forward to take charge. He closed the company and brought almost all our employees to New York. He said 'I don't care how long takes, we're going to find her,'" Gay says, his voice cracking. "He set up a command center and searched through the night. The man who helped save my daughter was Mitt Romney. Mitt's done a lot of things that people say are nearly impossible. But, for me, the most important thing he's ever done is to help save my daughter."
The ad, which is running in Michigan and Arizona, is a stark departure from the attack ads Restore Our Future has specialized in, and seeks to personalize the candidate in a major way.
Romney's own campaign ran an ad on the topic four years ago, raising questions as to whether there had been any coordination between the two groups. A Restore Our Future spokesperson told The Hill that they had received the footage from a third party.
"We purchased the rights to the footage from its owner Cold Harbor films, which did not entail interacting with the Romney campaign," said Restore Our Future spokesperson Brittany Gross.
Cold Harbor Films was Romney's production team in the last campaign, and a spokesperson there confirmed they had sold the footage to Restore Our Future and that they had the legal rights to the footage.
Gross said she did not know whether the group had checked with Gay about using the interview, and Gay could not immediately be reached for comment.
Gay's daughter disappeared after attending a rave in New York City and ingesting ecstasy. Romney brought 50 employees to New York City and they recruited 200 other volunteers to help find her. She turned up three days later in suburban New Jersey, according to PolitiFact.
Gay is now the business partner of Jon Huntsman Sr., the father of the former Utah governor and ex-GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.