Glenn Kessler, sleuth at The Washington Post, applied his magnifying glass to Newt Gingrich’s King of Bain Super PAC film. After close examination, he’s rendered a verdict:
Four Pinocchios (I’m throwing pinheaded in there, too).
Newt Gingrich, meet Michael Moore!
The 29-minute video “King of Bain” is such an over-the-top assault on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney that it is hard to know where to begin. It uses evocative footage from distraught middle-class Americans who allege that Romney’s deal-making is responsible for their woes. It mixes images of closed factories and shuttered shops with video clips of Romney making him look foolish, vain or greedy. And it has a sneering voice-over that seeks to push every anti-Wall Street button possible.
Here’s just a sampling of what Romney and Bain Capital, which he once headed, is accused of: “Stripping American businesses of assets, selling everything to the highest bidder and often killing jobs for big financial rewards . . . high disdain for American businesses and workers . . . upended the company and dismantled the work force; now they were able to make a handsome profit . . . cash rampage . . . contributing to the greatest American job loss since World War II . . . turn the misfortune of others into their own enormous financial gain.”
Kessler then offers insight on the four closed companies mentioned in the film. Before reading his conclusion, let’s see what Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey has to say:
Let’s begin with how the filmmakers present their case that Unimac went out of business thanks to the predatory nature of Mitt Romney. It turns out that not only did Romney have little to do with Unimac, the firm hasn’t gone out of business at all. It’s currently producing appliances in Wisconsin, having moved there long after Romney left Bain and actually as Romney was concluding his term as governor of Massachusetts:
Bain Capital bought the business from Raytheon in 1998, and Romney left Bain a year later to run the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. In 2005, Bain sold UniMac (also called Alliance Laundry) to a Canadian entity known as Teachers’ Private Capital. The factory was moved from Marianna to Ripon, Wisc., in 2006, after Bain’s involvement ended — a fact made clear on the Web site of a laundry repair business co-owned by the people featured in the film.
In fact, Mike Baxley, who was interviewed for the film, said that he and his partner had “absolutely no idea” that the interviews were for a film about Romney and Bain. He said they thought they were being interviewed for a documentary about the factory closing.
“They said they wanted to know what it was like when the factory closed down,” he said, and he, his partner and his partner’s wife agreed to interviews after “they flashed a little money at us.” (Baxley, a Republican who said he had not yet thought much about the nomination contest, declined to reveal the amount.)
After watching “King of Bain” at The Fact Checker’s request, he said: “We were pretty shocked. Our quotes were seriously taken out of context. There is a real lack of facts.”
First of all, it is a stretch to portray Romney as some sort of corporate raider, akin to Carl Icahn (whose image is briefly seen). … Private equity deals, such as leveraged buyouts in which the company borrows lots of debt, can be more rewarding but also more risky. … Private equity revolutionized American business, demanding efficiencies (which can mean layoffs) and helping place much more emphasis on increasing shareholder value.
He writes that of the four closed companies mentioned in the film, only one of the cases actually involved Romney – Ampad. That company declined - not failed – as stated in the film. Though Ampad did close a facility in Marion, Indiana because less expensive retail competitors chipped away at its business supply core, it still operates as a subsidiary to Esselte.
Kessler also punches the Gingrich Super PAC with this:
“The manipulative way the interviews appeared to have been gathered for the UniMac segment alone discredits the entire film.”
(emphasis, italics added)
Romney, however, isn’t sitting still. He has responded in South Carolina with an ad balanced between positive and negative, looking at his record of creating jobs in the private sector, but also slamming Gingrich for “taking the Obama line”:
Here’s the ad – Bright Future:
South Carolinians are also hearing a new Romney radio ad titled “Shares Our Values.” He’s supported by pro-life conservatives because he shares their values and displayed pro-life leadership as governor:
Ad facts for Share Our Values:
• Sen. Jim DeMint: “He feels passionately that the value of human life begins at conception.” (Byron York, “DeMint On Romney,” National Review, 1/9/07)
• Prominent Pro-Life Attorney James Bopp Jr.: “Both conviction and courage are necessary for effective pro-life leadership, and Romney, in office, displayed both.” (James Bopp Jr., Op-Ed, “The Best Choice Is Also A Good Choice,” National Review, 2/21/07)
A look ahead at polling in Florida:
► Jayde Wyatt