Romney Accuses Obama of False Advertising, Leaves His Own Disputed Ads On the Air

NEW YORK (AP) — Mitt Romney on Thursday accused President Barack Obama and his allies of launching personal attacks and perpetuating lies about him in TV ads. The Republican also rolled out a new commercial of his own that questioned Obama's values and accused the president of waging war on religious freedom.

Obama's campaign disputed that charge.

"I am seeing some of the ads out there. I don't know whatever happened to a campaign of hope and change," Romney said, alluding to Obama's previous campaign slogan, during an interview on Bill Bennett's radio program, "Morning in America." ''I thought he was a new kind of politician. But instead, his campaign and the people working with him have focused almost exclusively on personal attacks ... It's really disappointing."

In the interview, Romney argued that Obama "keeps on just running" ads that various fact-checking organizations have called inaccurate. "They just blast ahead," he said, instead of pulling the ads off the air. But the candidate ignored the fact that he has kept his own ads assailing Obama on the air after these groups have found their claims to be false.

Romney talked generally about ads in the interview but didn't directly refer to a commercial by a Democratic outside group that has dominated the campaign in the last two days.

His campaign has called "despicable" an ad by Priorities USA Action that features a man whose wife died of cancer after he lost his health insurance when he was laid off from a company that was bought by the private equity firm Romney once ran. "I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he's done to anyone, and furthermore I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned," the man, Joe Soptic, says in the ad.

Obama's campaign has refused to ask the group to pull the spot, and a co-founder of the group has defended the ad.

The back and forth over the commercial underscored the degree to which the White House campaign has become intensely negative and personal as polls show the race close three months before the Nov. 6 election. Negative commercials from both the candidates and their backers are flooding the roughly nine states that are the most competitive in the hunt to win the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory.

As controversy raged over the outside group's commercial, Romney's team rolled out one of its own Thursday that asks: "Who shares your values?"

It continues: "President Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith."

The spot revives a months-old debate over new health rules mandating insurance coverage for birth control without co-pays, which the ad says forces religious institutions to "go against their faith." Obama says exemptions for churches and compromise language on charities fully protects religious freedom.

"When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?" the ad asks and says the answer is Romney.

Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith responded to the ad, saying: "President Obama believes that, in 2012, women should have access to free contraception as part of their health insurance, and he has done so in a way that respects religious liberty."

The issue flared anew after roiling the campaign months ago when the new health care rules were announced, and it reflected efforts by Romney and Obama to go after women voters. Polls show they heavily favor Obama.

Seeking to keep that edge, Obama reintroduced the contraception issue into the campaign in Colorado when he was introduced Wednesday by Sandra Fluke, whose congressional testimony earlier this year became a flashpoint in the debate over contraception and women's health. Fluke gained notoriety after conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a slut because of her support for the Obama health care law's requirement that insurance companies cover contraception.

On Wednesday, Fluke criticized Romney for not rebuking Limbaugh more strongly.

"If Mr. Romney can't stand up to extreme voices in his own party, then he will never stand up for us," she said to a predominantly female audience in Denver.

Obama was spending a second day in the state Wednesday, visiting Pueblo and Colorado Springs. He carried Colorado in 2008, but he and Romney are engaged in a tight contest for the state's nine electoral votes.

Across the country, Romney held a fundraiser early Thursday on Park Avenue in New York City.

"I need you to speak the truth — talk to your friends and colleagues," he implored donors at a breakfast that raised more than $1.5 million for his campaign. Woody Johnson, a top fundraiser, told the crowd the campaign is "halfway" to its ultimate fundraising goals for the election.

Romney was spending the rest of the day in Boston, preparing for Friday's start of a four-state bus trip and an announcement, expected soon, on his running mate.


tstauffer 10 years, 3 months ago

If you're interested, Bloomberg did a great article a few weeks ago explain how Bain Capital worked under Romney, and how exactly it made (and he made) as much money as they did.


This used to be called "leveraged buyouts" in the 80s and 90s, but now has the more urbane and oblique name "private equity." What it essentially means is that you take a company that you can buy relatively inexpensively, saddle it with debt financing to get cash into the business, gut the expenses or part it out, pay yourself fees to run it, pay yourself high dividends from the cash generated, and then sell it as soon as you can, with relatively little concern with what happens to the company after that process.

One example, GS Industries, worked like this:

In the two years following the acquisition in 1993 of GS Industries, a steel mill, for $8 million, Bain Capital increased the company’s debt to $378 million on operating income of less than a 10th of that amount. Some of this was used to pay Bain Capital a $36 million dividend in 1994. That degree of leverage was excessive in light of the cyclicality and capital-intensive nature of the steel industry.

By the time the company went bankrupt in 2001, it owed $554 million in debt against assets valued at $395 million. Many creditors lost money, and 750 workers lost their jobs. The U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., which insures company retirement plans, determined in 2002 that GS had underfunded its pension by $44 million and had to step in to cover the shortfall.

This is, ironically, basically the plot of the original Wall Street starring Michael Douglas; back in the 1980s, we thought this sort of thing was an outrage.

There's also an interesting counterpoint here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07...">http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07...

Overall some great stuff on Bloomberg for fully understanding how a firm like Bain makes their dough.... and what kind of world the 1% operate in.


brjohn9 10 years, 3 months ago

It says a lot about the Republican Party that they somehow managed to convince themselves that voters would be drawn to a plutocrat during an economic depression because of his business experience, which consisted almost entirely of managing leveraged buyouts. People do admire a successful businessman, but they don't consider private equity managers businessmen. They want someone whose company makes things. Romney looks like just another banker, and that's not a popular group of people. Of course, for Republicans, bankers are businessmen, and as right as rain.


goldeneagle97 10 years, 3 months ago

Funny how Romney and the GOP can launch all kinds of personal attacks on Obama, but want to think it unfair for Obama to launch attack ads against them. The pot calling the kettle black.


tstauffer 10 years, 3 months ago

Not only that, but it's hilarious that the "base" of Romney's party is livid because a member of his staff was, um, defending his record as governor.


"What? She said something good about what he did has Governor? OMG. Get. Rid. Of. Her."

I say this so often that Donna is sick of hearing it, but I'm still amazed that someone thought it was a good idea for the GOP to nominate the ONLY OTHER GUY IN THE WORLD with "-Care" after his name.


goldeneagle97 10 years, 3 months ago

Some have called for her firing. Why, when others within the Romney campaign have made gaffes as well, but weren't fired.

Adding to Romney's two-facedness (is that a word?), he praised Israel's health care policy, which is not only similar to Obama/Romneycare, but they actually take it a step further in which the residents choose plans from four insurance companies (medical only; dental and vision are purchased through private companies). All residents are required to have insurance and there is a cap on coverage. Health care costs only make 8% of their GDP, as opposed to 18% here. So, I guess what's good for Massachusetts and for one of our strongest Middle Eastern allies isn't good for the U.S. as a whole.


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