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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

New Romney Ad Hits Obama on Layoffs After Auto Bailout


The Obama campaign often sums up the president's accomplishments like this: “Osama bin Laden is dead. General Motors is alive.”

But Mitt Romney, whose campaign has struggled to overcome his “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed, is no longer ceding the bailout ground. In an ad running in Ohio to coincide with President Obama's trip there Wednesday, the Romney camp contends that “in 2009, under the Obama administration's bailout of General Motors, Ohio dealerships were forced to close.”

The spot, financed in part by the Republican National Committee, features Al Zarzour of Lyndhurst, Ohio, voice shaking as he recounts receiving “a letter from General Motors. They were suspending my credit line. We had 30 some employees that were out of work.”

The Obama campaign did not struggle to craft a response.

“Let's get this straight - the very person who argued for the U .S. auto industry to go bankrupt, something that would have caused more than a million jobs lost and utter economic devastation in the Midwest, is now trying to attack the president on how it was handled?” said Frank Benenati, a regional spokesman for the Obama campaign, in an e-mailed statement loaded with statistics about the industry's recovery. He added that there are “now 2,200 more Ohioans employed in dealerships than when the president took office.”

How would Mr. Zarzour's dealership have survived under Mr. Romney's approach? There's no way to know.

“The course I recommended was eventually followed,” Mr. Romney argued in a February 2012 op-ed. “GM entered managed bankruptcy in June 2009 and exited it a month later in July.” However, he argues that “crony capitalism” related to the bailout dictated the terms of the bankruptcy proceedings.

Meanwhile, a new spot released Tuesday by the Obama campaign shows Mr. Obama being bullish on a point where Republicans are typically stronger. Titled “Worried,” the ad seeks to tie Mr. Romney not only to George W. Bush's economic policies, but also to the former president's hawkishness.

The ad opens with a narrator saying, “You watched, and worried: Two wars. Tax cuts for millionaires. Debt piled up.”

The spot, which is running in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and Ohio, then notes Mr. Romney's plans to cut taxes for the wealthy and “increase military spending,” both of which, the campaign claims, would increase the deficit.

Likewise, the Romney campaign had no trouble drafting a response, which noted trillion-dollar deficits before adding: “President Obama's plans to raise taxes and cut the military won't create jobs or make us safer. As president, Mitt Romney will revive our economy, strengthen our military and repair the damage done to the middle class by President Obama's failed policies.”