2012 Archives

Gingrich's anti-Romney campaign heats up with attack ad using Cdn angle

Excerpt

The following story by the Canadian Press ran in the Jan. 12, 2012, edition of the Winnipeg Free Press. Political scientist Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

January 18, 2012

By: Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

WASHINGTON - Newt Gingrich's revenge fantasies about Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney appeared to be bearing some fruit on Thursday following the release of a damning, 28-minute attack ad with a Canadian angle.

Gingrich supporters are spending millions in South Carolina in advance of next week's crucial primary, particularly on "When Mitt Romney Came To Town," the hotly anticipated spot that portrays Romney as a ruthless corporate raider while head of private equity firm Bain Capital in the 1980s and '90s.

The spot delves into what happened to four companies targeted by Bain, and tells of a Florida factory run by UniMac, an industrial washing machine manufacturer that later merged with a larger firm, Alliance Laundry.

Wisconsin-based Alliance was taken over by Bain in 1994, then sold in 2005 — long after Romney's departure from the investment firm — at a 230 per cent profit to the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, sponsored by the Ontario Teachers' Federation and the provincial government.

The Florida Unimac factory was eventually shuttered, resulting in layoffs for 830 workers in three states, according to "When Mitt Romney Came To Town."

"What do teachers know about washing machines?" one of those workers asks in the spot....

"It's not the style of any politician, never mind Gingrich, to fall on their sword for the good of the Christian conservative movement," Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, said Thursday.

"If they think they have a chance, they'll stay in. Both Gingrich and Santorum think they have a chance, and Perry will stay in until his wife tells him to get out. It's a fantasy for evangelicals to think that any of these three will willingly drop out, and so their meeting this weekend is too little, too late."

If any of the trio opt to exit the race, Jillson predicts, it won't happen until after South Carolina, and Romney is pulling ahead in the polls in the state of Florida, site of the next primary.

"There's still a good chance Romney will prevail in South Carolina, and he's already advertising heavily in Florida," he said. "Even if he stumbles in South Carolina, he's already preparing the groundwork in Florida for a comeback."