Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - President Obama is attacking Mitt Romney's job creation record when he headed a capital investment firm that turned failing companies and start-up businesses into success stories.

The Obama campaign's two-minute TV attack ad was a breathtaking display of political gall by a president whose failed jobs record in a lackluster economy has been dismal at best.

This week's Gallup poll puts the underemployment rate (people forced to work fewer hours, temporary jobs, and long term jobless Americans who have dropped out of the labor force) at 18 percent. The unemployment rate is still stuck at over 8 percent. Fifty percent of college grads can't find jobs commensurate with their educational level and work skills.

But Obama's campaign this week is running an attack ad criticizing Romney's job creating performance in his 25 years in the world of business.

The late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy used the very same attack strategy in his rough and tumble Senate re-election battle against Romney in 1994.

The two-minute ad that will air during the evening news Wednesday tells the sad tale of a shuttered steel mill in Kansas City, Mo. that Romney's former firm, Bain Capital, invested in, only to see it go bankrupt.

The company's collapse cost 750 workers their jobs. In the ad, former workers at this plant called Bain a "vampire" outfit that "came in and sucked the life out of us."

But unlike 1994 when Romney was unprepared for the Kennedy attack ads, the former governor's campaign was ready for this one, immediately releasing its own video ad, titled "American Dream." It told of Bain's investment in Steel Dynamics of Indiana that helped the firm grow from 1,400 workers to more than 6,000 employes.

Romney message was two-fold: 1. Not all investments worked out, but far more often than not, his turn-around efforts succeeded, creating jobs and strengthening the U.S. economy. 2. Obama hasn't a clue about how the economy works because he's never worked in it, while Romney has succeeded in it.

The Obama ad is being aired in swing states that will likely decide the election, including Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

It is political demagoguery pure and simple. Bain had tried to save the company, but as happens in some cases, risk-taking investments do not always work and this one didn't. However, Bain officials did nothing wrong that would warrant a political attack.

Who says so? Why, none other than Steven Rattner who was Obama's "car czar" and one of his economic advisers.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.