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Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Business, Economy, Politics, Society | 29 comments

(UPDATED) Why ‘When Mitt Romney Came To Town’ Is The Most Brutal Campaign Video Evah

I have just watched When Mitt Romney Came to Town and it is, in a word, devastating.

The 28-minute film from Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC, a series of interviews with ordinary folk whose lives were never the same after Romney’s Bain Capital bought and took down local companies, is a double condemnation — both of his private equity work and the business model he used to get filthy rich.

The interviews are with families from four businesses that Bain looted:

Some of their comments:

“I had to leave my home because of a man who has 15 homes.”

“They never could get enough. No matter how much they had they always wanted more.”

“We used to be a town full of industry . . . and overnight that changed.”

“They had no intention of keeping us.”

“When you’re there all those years . . . we always went on the same and then we have this company come in and destroy everything we worked for.”

“I cried a lot.”

“The hardest day for me is when he done loaded the U-Haul because we had lost our home. That was hard, very hard.”

“They wanted the machinery. They didn’t want us.”

“Christmastime used to be the biggest thing we had and you only got maybe two gifts for your kids, that hurt.”

“There’s times when you skip a meal so your kids can have something to eat.”

“He is the man who destroyed us.”

The interviews are interspersed with sound bites of Romney at his most imperious. It matters not that some of them are surely out of context:


“For an economy to thrive there are people who will have to suffer.”

“Creative destruction does enhance productivity.”

“I didn’t just watch jobs being created, I created jobs.”

“Corporations are people, my friend.”

“I am working very hard to make sure that the workers of this country have a brighter future.”

As David Nir puts it at Daily Kos, “The attacks, the language, the framing — the very core — of this hit job sound like things you’d expect from a lefty operation. . . . It’s been pretty remarkable watching the GOP primary field adopt the rhetoric of Occupy Wall Street in slamming ‘corporate raider’ Mitt Romney over the past few days, but this just takes the cake. Amazing stuff.”

Ed Kilgore, writing at The Democratic Strategist, calls the video “a heat-seeking missile aimed directly at the white working class id,” and it is that white working class that Romney needs if he is going to beat President Obama.

The video, of course, is much longer than the typical 30- or 60-second television ad, and Gingrich’s surrogates are considering plans to buy half-hour blocks on South Carolina television. In the meantime, the entire video is getting saturation coverage throughout the state.

But is the video fair?

Romney has very much brought When Mitt Romney Came to Town on himself. After watching the video a second and then a third time it gave me new insight into why he remains so unpopular among so many Republicans and has not, in business parlance, been able to close the deal after a year of non-stop campaigning. This has less to do with his politics (whatever they are on a particular day) than the reality that he is a resume without a man.

Mitt Romney is an empty suit, not a winner.

We’ll go to Andrew Sullivan for the final word:

What makes [the video] so dangerous to Romney, it seems to me, is that the Bain Brahmin didn’t just fire thousands of working class people in restructuring and in closing companies. He made a f—ing unimaginable fortune doing it. That’s the issue. Other Republicans can speak about the need for free markets in a sluggish economy. But with Romney, we have a singular example of someone who made a quarter of a billion dollars by firing the white middle and working class in droves in ways that do not seem designed to promote growth or efficiency, but merely to enrich Bain.