Thursday, February 16, 2012

Behind the Ad: Romney strongly (and wrongly) suggests Obama caused the auto sector crisis

(Another installment in our "Behind the Ad" series.)

Who: Mitt Romney in an ad called "Growing Up."

Where: Michigan.

What's going on: In the ad, Romney is driving around in a car on a street somewhere in Michigan. He is narrating himself as various scenes are shown depicting the Detroit auto show, workers at a Chrysler plant, and the General Motors tower in downtown Detroit.

The Washington Post provides this analysis, which is bang on:

Mitt Romney clearly wants to remind Michigan voters that he grew up there and his ad, the first one designed for the state's Feb. 28 primary, is an explicit home-town appeal. He reminisces about his father, a popular former governor and auto executive, name-checks the renowned auto show and uses imagery designed to remind voters of the Motor City's glory days. If that's not enough, he concludes by asserting that the state's fate is "personal" for him.

The ad comes at a delicate time for Romney. While he recovered somewhat by winning Maine's caucuses last weekend, he's still nursing wounds from Rick Santorum's sweep of nominating caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota, and Missouri's non-binding primary. Santorum's momentum has pushed him ahead of Romney in a handful of national polls and in early Michigan surveys. If Romney is to regain momentum before the potentially decisive Super Tuesday primaries on March 6, when 10 states vote, he badly needs to win in Michigan.

But the part about the ad that really stinks is the strong suggestion that President Obama is somehow to blame for Detroit's woes.

Again, The Washington Post:

He also implies that Obama's policies played a role in the auto industry's collapse, which is not the case. After noting the industry's decline in one breath, Romney then says Obama "did all these things that liberals have wanted to do for years." Regardless of the merits of Obama's policies, they didn't bring about Detroit's ills. The auto industry in general, and Chrysler and General Motors in particular, were collapsing before Obama took office in 2009. The decision to continue the bailout of GM and Chrysler, which Romney doesn't mention, was one of Obama's first major decisions in office. Romney publicly opposed the bailouts and reaffirmed his stance this week in an opinion piece published in The Detroit News.

I don't know if I should give the ad grudging respect for creating a grossly false impression without actually lying or if I should be disgusted by yet another example of bullshit coming out of Romney's mouth to support his run for the GOP nomination.

Well, actually, I do do know. This is pathetic.

Hard to believe that anyone could actually lower the level of political discourse coming from the right, but Mitt Romney has.

(Cross-posted at Lippmann's Ghost.)

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