When Mitt Romney ran for the Senate 18 years ago, he was fairing quite well against Ted Kennedy, right up until voters started hearing from some of Romney’s victims.
Many of the folks laid off by Bain Capital drove to Massachusetts to protest the Republican’s campaign, and Democrats put together a half-dozen ads featuring laid-off workers who said they suffered while Romney lined his pockets at their expense.
Perhaps none of the companies played as a big role as American Pad & Paper, or Ampad. It’s the subject of a new video from the Obama campaign.
It’s a rather brutal story. Romney took over Ampad, drove it into bankruptcy, and Bain turned its $5 million investment into $100 million. The workers at the plant in Marion, Indiana, lost their jobs, wages, health care, and pensions.
The Romney campaign claims the candidate was on a leave of absence from his firm at the time of Ampad’s demise, but “according to a 2002 interview with former managing director of Bain Capital Marc Wolpow, Romney was directly responsible for Ampad’s layoffs.”
To characterize this as a literal replay of Kennedy’s 1994 strategy is not an exaggeration. As Michael Yarbrough reported this morning, the Obama ad features many of the exact same Romney victims that spoke out 18 years ago.
This isn’t surprising. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel – these are sympathetic people who were crushed by Romney’s business practices. The result worked for Kennedy, and Obama’s team clearly hopes it’ll work for them, too.