Don't Be Surprised Bain Attacks Are Working

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
June 11 2012 8:45 AM

Don't Be Surprised Bain Attacks Are Working

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: U.S. President Barack Obama answers reporters' questions during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House June 8, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama called the last-minute announcement to talk about the domestic and international economies and encourage Congress to pass his 'paid-for ideas' on job creation.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Barack Obama's Super PAC, Priorities USA, is touting the growing body of evidence showing that despite all the doubters out there, the attacks on Mitt Romney's private equity background are working:


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. 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. 

According to a report by ABC’s Amy Walter, a focus group in Richmond showed that voters are familiar with Priorities USA Action advertising and connect Romney’s business record to an overall economic system that too often feels rigged against the middle class. New polling from two different organizations show Romney’s business record is already beginning to serve as a drag. By a 4-1 margin, independent voters said Romney’s business record made them less likely to vote for him.

This is not surprising, if only because of what we know about the president's background and ideological temperament. If he were not in the White House right now, there's a good chance Senator Obama would be among the growing number of dissident Democrats -- Cory Booker and Bill Clinton among them -- expressing unease with the Bain line of attack by his party's presidential nominee. He is a self-proclaimed "New Democrat," a business-friendly moderate who often rhapsodizes about the magic of free enterprise.

But Obama's re-election team apparently did the polling and testing -- and saw how Ted Kennedy's brutal, relentless campaign against Romney in 1994 worked so well -- and decided the attacks were just too promising to pass up.

On that note, here's the latest Priorities TV spot, complete with a middle-aged white guy griping about Romney's brand of capitalism:

Matt Taylor is a reporter living in Brooklyn. He was the political correspondent for the National Memo and a staff reporter at his hometown newspaper, The East Hampton Star. He's a contributor to Newsweek/The Daily Beast. You can reach him on Twitter @matthewt_ny



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.