President Obama’s re-election campaign unveiled a new television ad yesterday, targeting Mitt Romney for having shipped jobs abroad. “[A]s a corporate raider,” the ad says, “he shipped jobs to China and Mexico. As governor, he did the same thing: Outsourcing state jobs to India.”
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler was unkind in his analysis: “On just about every level, this ad is misleading, unfair and untrue.” Kessler gave the ad “Four Pinocchios” – a rating reserved the most brazen and offensive political falsehoods.
Just 14 hours later, the Washington Post published a very different piece, making clear that the message of Obama’s ad was accurate after all.
Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.
During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Kessler may want to take back some of those Pinocchios.
More important, though, is what a story like this tells us about Romney’s policies and approach to business.
We’ve known all along that there’s a disconnect between Romney’s experience and his policy goals – he has a background in maximizing profits for his investors, not creating jobs and/or acting to improve the public good. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the former, except to note that it has nothing to do with the latter.
And that’s what makes today’s report documenting Romney’s work moving jobs out of the U.S. so important: it’s a reminder of just how little his private-sector background applies to sound government policy.
Romney would have voters believe criticism of his vulture-capital firm is somehow evidence of hostility towards capitalism, but this morning, that leaves the Republican in the untenable position of saying profits are more important than people, and investors are more important than American jobs.
This one’s going to leave a mark.