COLUMBIA, S.C. – Advertisements calling Mitt Romney a “corporate raider” hit the airwaves in this state on Thursday, as a pro-Newt Gingrich super Pac launched its first wave of attacks Romney over his time heading Bain Capital.
The ads, cut from a 28-minute web film into TV-sized bites, call the investment firm “more ruthless than Wall Street” and include sound bites from workers who say they lost their jobs after Bain took over and their companies closed.
“I feel that is a man that destroyed us,” one woman in the ads says, presumably speaking about Romney.
Another man seen in the ads piles on: “Mitt Romney and those guys, they don’t care who I am.”
The ads prompted Romney spokesman Andrea Saul to say in an email: "It is sad to see Speaker Gingrich and his allies so desperate to try and revive his campaign that they’ve resorted to blatant falsehoods and fabrications. These facts have been proven untrue, and Speaker Gingrich himself said the ads should be taken down."
Gingrich was quick to distance himself from the attack by the super PAC, which is independent of his campaign, when approached by a woman who identified herself as a member of Occupy Columbia on Thursday afternoon at the state capitol.
“I’d like to ask you about your video that you released about Romney, about Bain Capital,” the woman said as she held a recorder out to the former speaker of the House.
“Oh, I didn’t – that’s not my video,” Gingrich responded, cutting her off as he made his way toward his campaign bus.
But Gingrich has recently called on Romney to more fully answer questions about his time at the head of Bain Capital.
“He raised his record. He campaigned on his record. He said his record was a central piece to understanding him,” Gingrich told reporters while campaigning on Wednesday in Rock Hill, S.C. He added, “Fine. So, get him to talk about his record.”
Asked by a reporter on Thursday if he is attacking Bain, Gingrich said he is just asking questions about Romney's record and is "shocked at how defensive they are."
The former speaker did acknowledge that the viability of his campaign has been helped by the presence of the super PAC funding the negative ads against Romney.
“It offsets the other PACs,” he told reporters, referring to the super Pacs supporting both Romney and Ron Paul, which ran a slew of negative ads against Gingrich in Iowa prior to the caucuses there.