Realizing that Obama’s reelection is in serious jeopardy, the President’s campaign today released a two-minute ad slamming Mitt Romney for layoffs made at a company controlled by Bain Capital. The ad is built around interviews with former steelworkers at GST Steel, a mill in Kansas City, who were laid off as the company collapsed in the wake of a downturn in the steel market. The ad is certainly gripping and emotional. It is also, however, completely wrong.
The company was shut down in 2001. Romney left Bain in 1999, long before the plant closing, to run the Winter Olympics. Two years is an eternity in the business world. Blaming Romney for decisions made two years after he left the company is, at best, disingenuous.
However, there was a political power-player serving as a director of Bain at the time of the company’s bankruptcy and layoffs–Jonathan Lavine. Lavine joined Bain in 1993. He is currently Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer. He is also a major bundler for Barack Obama, raising between $100-200k for his reelection. While we don’t know the specific role Lavine had in decisions regarding the bankrupt company, GST Steel, he certainly had more influence than someone who had left Bain two years before.
Perhaps Obama should use some of Lavine’s donations to help the steelworkers featured in his ad.