The Obama campaign is setting up an interesting argument. It boils down to using Bain Capital, Mitt Romney’s former company, as a club to beat up the Republican nominee. On the other side, Romney’s campaign is using Solyndra, the failed solar tube manufacturer in a similar fashion.
The Romney campaign is using Solyndra and several of the other failed “Green Energy” initiatives in the same way that Obama’s is using failed Bain investments. The problem that Team Obama has had with their examples is that they took place over a decade ago and in several prominent cases, Romney had already left the firm. Guilt by association seldom works.
Solyndra and the other failed “Green Energy” initiatives are more immediate. Solyndra filed for bankruptcy less than a year ago. The details are fresh in the voters’ minds with the images of the closed manufacturing facility a stunning backdrop for Romney speeches on the subject.
In the battle of photo ops, Obama will lose this skirmish. The Romney campaign is skillfully weaving a narrative about the President that wraps him in the “Green Energy” failures, the squandering of taxpayer funds and crony capitalism. With the willing cooperation of various Congressional investigations, the hits keep coming for Obama.
None of the attempts by administration spokespeople on this subject have been able to disengage the President from these charges. As long as the economy is front and center in this campaign, Obama and his surrogates will be forced to endure the type of reception that took place yesterday in Boston.
David Axelrod, Obama’s senior adviser, attempted to call Romney’s record on job creation while he was Governor of Massachusetts into question. At a rally on the steps of the Massachusetts State Capitol in Boston, Axelrod said, “Romney economics didn’t work then and it won’t work now,” as he went through a laundry list of Romney policies that he said were detrimental to the state. Axelrod also charged that Romney used the state as means to achieve larger ambitions. “He was a drive-by governor here for the purposes of running for president of the United States,” he said.
All the while, Axelrod was being shouted down by chants of “Mitt, Mitt” and “Solyndra, Solyndra”. They virtually drowned out his speech and asks the question, “Is this all that you have?” Meanwhile, in a TV interview on MSNBC, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick called Bain Capital “a perfectly fine company.” If the Obama campaign expected Patrick, an Obama surrogate, to attack Bain, they were sadly mistaken. This isn’t the first time that Patrick has lauded the company. Of course, he criticized Romney’s performance as governor but that’s to be expected.
Romney dispatched Axelrod’s feeble attack with a single line. He pointed out that while governor unemployment in Massachusetts want down to 4.7%. By comparison, the current unemployment rate is 8.1% with Gallup pegging the unemployment and underemployment rate at 18%.
Where can the Obama campaign go with this line of attack? Quite frankly, in the comparison between Romney’s record as CEO of Bain Capital and Obama’s record on “Green Energy” initiatives, the President comes out on the short end. When Romney’s successes are stacked up against the Obama administration’s failures, the Obama campaign might want to rethink this strategy.
Further examination of the President’s record of job creation and saving will not bear close scrutiny by the public. Team Obama is trying to highlight the successes in the auto industry but these will not hold up under the scrutiny of a Presidential campaign. Let’s face the small bondholders were screwed while the big players were rewarded in the reorganization of General Motors and Chrysler.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs either disappeared or left these shores. Attempts to put lipstick on these two pigs just won’t cut it. A closer examination of the job creation from the $800 billion stimulus spending bill will not put the administration’s policies in a better light. In the battle of the corporate CEO versus the community organizer, the CEO is bound to win on this issue.