The Romney campaign is taking full advantage of the opportunity provided by Barack Obama’s “You didn’t build that” gaffe, launching a web video focusing on the story of a small family business in Hudson, New Hampshire. The owner of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating Company, Jack Gilchrist, says: “My father’s hands didn’t build this company? My hands didn’t build this company? My son’s hands aren’t building this company? Did somebody else take out the loan on my father’s house to finance the equipment? Did somebody else make payroll every week or figure out where it’s coming from? President Obama, you’re killing us out here.”
It is clear that the ad is aimed at a wider audience than small business owners alone: its themes are targeted at white working-class voters–traditional Democrat voters that Obama has been struggling to retain. Although the dialogue is stilted at times, and the ad is long, the visuals are compelling: morning coffee, heavy tools, the busy shop floor. The ad closes with Mitt Romney’s rejoinder to Obama’s statement–a response that sources in the Romney camp tell Breitbart News was largely extemporaneous.
The Romney campaign has picked up new momentum by identifying an ideological difference with the Obama campaign that resonates with voters. The campaign could cut similar ads every few days in a new swing state and they would probably not lose their effectiveness. No longer arguing that Obama does not understand the free economy, the Romney campaign can now argue that Obama does not like the free economy. That is a more devastating, and more effective, argument. It is also an argument that clearly produces better ads.