The Obama campaign hit Mitt Romney on Monday with a new ad (watch it here) taking aim at his past history as an executive at Bain Capital, a private equity firm. "It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us," says one steelworker who worked at a company that went bankrupt in 2001 after Bain took it over in 1993.
Seeking to defend himself against charges of "vampire" capitalism, Romney's campaign released its own ad (watch it here) just hours later, highlighting Bain's investments in a company called Steel Dynamics, which grew to be a success.
Politics Nation host Al Sharpton discussed the ad war Monday night. Sharpton noted that according to the Los Angeles Times, Steel Dynamics actually received almost twice as much funding from local government, meaning that the firm was successful not just because of Bain's investments but also because of generous public sector involvement.
"The company Steel Dynamics succeeded because of government help," Sharpton noted in conversation with Rep. Chakka Fattah, a Pennsylvania Democrat. "That Bain invested 18.2 million dollars while state and counties pledged 37 million in subsidies and grants...this couldn't be the people that don't believe in government getting involved ... could it, congressman?"
"Look, Governor Romney when he was head of Massachusetts, fought for every federal grant he could get," noted Fattah about Romney's attacks on the public sector. He then challenged Romney to demand that his fellow Republicans in Congress would work with their Democratic counterparts to help fund jobs projects.
"We would even do better if Romney could convince some of these Republicans in the Congress to let us move, for instance, the transportation bill so we could fix our bridges and highways and create even more jobs," said Fattah.
Late Update: Dave Foster, a former steelworkers' union rep., joined Ed Schultz Monday evening to offer his first-hand take on what happened to Steel Dynamics after Bain took over. Foster explained that in making the deal, Romney pledged to honor Steel Dyanmics' obligations to its retirees. "But when the going got tough, he walked away. He took his own quick profits up front, left the steel workes behind, cratered their jobs, cratered their community."