Obama, Romney, trade barbs, seek to define the other in advance of election

The Takeaway

In a video documentary posted on the website RomneyEconomics.com, President Barack Obama’s campaign team attacks Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital.

The ad paints a picture of Romney as a job killer, who put Americans out of work and “sucked the life out of [them].” As one person featured in the ad says, “it was like watching an old friend bleed to death.”

RomneyEconomics.com is run by the Obama campaign and is meant to highlight stories that they think paint Romney’s time at Bain in a negative light. A short-version of the video is expected to air on TV in five states as well.

In response, the Romney team has put out its own ad, hailing Romney as a job creator who can save struggling American cities.

Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich said this is an effort by the Obama campaign to define Romney, before Romney can define himself, and using a tactic developed by the campaign of Newt Gingrich.

“Remember Newt Gingrich calling Mitt Romney a vulture capitalist, saying there’s a difference between creating jobs and lifting people up, and just tearing people down,” Zwillich said. “This is pretty much the same message coming from the Obama campaign.”

But Romney counters with examples of companies that have excelled after Romney’s company intervened. He cites Sports Authority, Staples and Domino’s as exampled of how his venture capital firm helped other companies.

“There is another part of the Romney response to this that is going on this week in terms of defining Mitt Romney’s opponent,” Zwillich said. “The Romney campaign is going hard at the question of debt and spending this week, how the debt has increased under President Obama.”

That’s Romney’s attempt to defining Obama, and create his own advantages. He’s promoting that message in a speech in Des Moines.

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