This morning, the Obama campaign released a two-minute ad attacking Romney over the fate of GST Steel, a steel mill controlled by Bain Capital. The ad featured interviews with steelworkers who lost their jobs when the company went bankrupt. The ad’s implication that Romney was somehow responsible is ridiculous, because Romney had left Bain Capital two years before the bankruptcy.
This afternoon, however, the Romney campaign counter-punched with a new ad featuring workers at another steel plant, Steel Dynamics, where Bain Capital invested its money. Unlike GST Steel, which was already a troubled company when Bain invested, Steel Dynamics was a fresh start-up. The successful firm has since expanded from just over 1,000 employees to over 6,000.
Taken together, the two ads could serve as something of a lesson in how markets work for the Obama campaign. Companies must continually adapt to changes in the marketplace. Those that don’t, die. Those that do thrive and create choice, opportunity and wealth for all of us. To focus on one or two failures misses what is dynamic about our free market economy.
I think the ads serve as something of a lesson in something else: the need to adapt quickly to changes in the political landscape. That Obama would attack Romney on events after he had left Bain Capital is a clear signal that Obama is losing the economic argument. That Romney would have a solid response ad ready to go within hours is a clear signal that Romney isn’t going to let Obama and the media control the narrative of the campaign.
Romney has a lot of fight in him.