MANCHESTER, N.H. -- A super PAC supporting presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has issued a second version of a video attacking on Mitt Romney, depicting the former Massachusetts governor as a corporate “raider” with little regard for blue-collar workers.
Winning Our Future's slickly-produced, two-and-a-half-minute trailer was posted online Sunday at kingofbain.com. Through an ominous sounding voiceover, news clips, and interviews with former manufacturing workers, the trailer teases an upcoming film that it says will “highlight just four of Romney’s many targets: Four businesses and the thousands of employees who worked there.”
In an earlier version of the trailer, viewed by a reporter for CBS News/National Journal before it was removed online, the workers interviewed in the film were identified as having worked for the American Paper and Pad Company (Ampad). The Marion, Ind.-based office supply company was forced to close in 1995 after Bain Capital - the private investment firm then headed by Romney -- took over Ampad, forced out unionized workers, and cut benefits.
A Winning Our Future spokesman said that video was replaced because the group preferred the newer one.
The New York Times reported Sunday night that the film's producer, Barry Bennett, is a former consultant to a super PAC that supports Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The Times said that group and another super PAC backing former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman passed on the chance to use the video.
“He’s for small businesses? No, he isn’t. He’s not,” an unidentified woman said in an interview included in the newest video.
Another man makes clear whom he felt was responsible for the layoffs: “Mitt Romney and those guys, they don’t care who I am.”
The plant's closing and subsequent layoffs have long been a difficult topic for Romney politically. Similar ads focusing on the Ampad story are often credited with sealing Ted Kennedy's victory over Romney in the 1994 Massachusetts Senate race. Just last week, the Democratic National Committee brought a former Ampad union official to Iowa to tell his story of losing his job after Bain took over the company.
Romney's campaign has acknowledged that layoffs, while painful, are sometimes necessary for a company's economic health. They have said the candidate's focus now is on creating a robust economy in which companies can grow without having to resort to such measures.
“It’s puzzling to see Speaker Gingrich and his supporters continue their attacks on free enterprise,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul wrote in an e-mail responding to the latest video. “This is the type of criticism we've come to expect from President Obama and his left-wing allies at Moveon.org. Unlike President Obama and Speaker Gingrich, Mitt Romney spent his career in business and knows what it will take to turn around our nation’s bad economy.”
Gingrich himself weighed in on the story this afternoon, speaking to reporters following a town hall in Manchester. “Those of us who believe in free markets and those of us who believe that in fact the whole goal of investment is entrepreneurship and job creation, would find it pretty hard to justify rich people figuring out pretty clever ways to loot a company, leaving behind 1,700 families without a job,” Gingrich said.