The $10 million swing-state ad buy, and the Obama campaign's recent focus on Mitt Romney's record in Massachusetts is being associated in the beltway media with a switch of sorts from the focus on Romney's profit-on-the-backs-of-killed-jobs record at Bain, because some prominent Democrats have spoken out against going after private equity. This paragraph from the Washington Post's report on the ad story is typical of the media response:
The move comes after even some fellow Democrats balked at the president's attack on Mr. Romney's record as an equity investor. The Obama campaign on Monday released an ad called "Heard It Before" that focuses on Mr. Romney's pledge to use his business experience to create jobs in Massachusetts.Except for a couple of things: First, the President never attacked Mitt Romney because he was a private equity investor. In fact, time and again, the president and his team have made it clear that private equity plays a vital role in our economy, and there is nothing illegal with what they do. The President attacked Mitt Romney's ridiculous claim that his work in private equity was about job creation rather than profit generation - including, when needed, at the expense of jobs. Romney's claim of being a job creator due to his private equity experience is so preposterous that even his former Bain colleagues called him on it.
I would as a rhetorical question here as to why the media insists on following the Mitt Romney talking point frame the President's campaign is attacking private equity rather than Romney's claim of what the point of private equity is. But I think we all know the answer to that.
Secondly, and much more importantly, the President's campaign is not pulling away from dismantling Mitt Romney's sorry claim to be a job creator at Bain. The new pivot to Massachusetts record is in fact a planned sequence, so far as I can see. The pivot to Romney's MA record is simply the evidence Obama campaign is offering to their theory that Mitt Romney's record with private equity (and vulture capitalism) did not prepare him to be a good governor, and it did not prepare him to be a good president. Let me see if I can't lay out the sequence to make it easier to understand:
- Go after Mitt Romney's claim that his experience as a corporate buyout specialist prepares him to better understand the economy and therefore better create jobs.
- Show that Mitt Romney's mission at Bain was not to create jobs but to make profits - even at the expense of jobs.
- Show the proof of the above two in Mitt Romney's record as governor in MA. He claimed the same thing to become governor - that his private sector experience prepared him to be a job creator - and failed to create jobs in boom time.