Hardball | November 12, 2012
>>> the past year we've shown you scores of political ads running the gamut from morgan free ann's dulcet tones at the end of the election cycle to the ominous voices warning of newt gingrich and rick perry presidents during the president. one ad seems to have a lasting and damaging effect on mitt romney 's chances. that ad a low budget spot produced for the obama super pac priorities usa framed the narrative of mitt romney has a heartless corporate tycoon without a care for the working man. jane maier covers politics for the new yorker and she has a terrific piece on the ad in this week's moog zpen and joy reid is managing eder to of the grio. let's begin with that ad. ths called stage.
>> out of the blue one day we were told to build a 30-foot stage. gathered the guys and we built that 30-foot stage not knowing what it was for. just days later all three shifts were told to assemble in the warehouse. a group of people walked out on that stage and told us that the plant is now closed and all of you are fired. i looked both ways, i looked at the crowd, and we all just lost our jobs. we don't have an income. mitt romney made over $100 million by shutting down our plant and defvastated our lives. turns out that when we built that stage, it was like building my own coffin. and it just made me sick.
>> jane maier, great piece today in the new yorker. thank you for that and tell me what the impact was in obviously ohio and places like that in that part of the country, the industrial part of the country.
>> well, you know, it's always hard to measure scientifically but they did some internal studies on this ad that showed in places that it showed, the trustworthiness of romney was 11 points behind that of obama, and in places where it didn't show, it was just 5 points behind. it gave them a 7 point boost in terms of totally undermining romney 's trustworthiness, and i think one of the things that interested me was it looks like an ad maybe about unemployment, but what it really is an ad about romney 's character, and particularly this issue of trust wertyness is what they found in their internal research. it made people who watched it think he was profiting from laying people off and breaking promises to fund people's pensions and their health care plans, and those things were just -- it was a killer ad.
>> you know, joy, we've been on so often and we've talked about this, but here you have a portrait a real life portrait of somebody who would have people build a stage, almost like driging their own grave and have them troop up on the stage and tell them you're dead here, you're finished. it's almost ma could cabremacabre.
>> we have talked about bill clinton as a super surrogate for barack obama . mike, the guy in that ad, he's a super anti-surrogate, an anti-validater of mitt romney . he looks like the voter that barack obama needed to change sides, that former reagan democrat , that white working class guy looking dead into the camera and saying this guy destroyed us. he took away our livelihood and he made us build the stage that we had to stand on to announce the end of our jobs. it was absolutely the most devastating ad, but what was also remarkable as the romney people had no response. look, they had a six-month lead time on this line of attack because, remember, something called winning our future pac? they ran a 27 minute ad of this same message. romney because he survived in florida after that, he seemed to think i can get over this because he didn't respond.
>> i talked to --
>> jane mayer , you write in your piece that sarah palin of all people thought that the bain ad had a negative impact on mitt romney 's candidacy. she thinks it worked. here she is on fox on election night .
>> the realization at this point is that those bain capital ads that voters just got inundated with early on in ohio and some of the other areas as it pertained to the auto bailout really i think hurt romney .
>> it seems to be --
>> ultimate compliment really.
>> in a weird way, yeah. what do you think of her assessment that the whole focus on bain early on is what really put the guy in a situation he couldn't get out of?
>> well, i think that's what some of the internal research showed and what they couldn't believe as you were just saying was that the romney camp didn't respond to this because basically bill burton, who was the co-founder of priorities usa said they thought any minute the romney campaign would have the opposite ad, where they would show guys who got jobs because of bain . people at sports authority or, you know, places like that that were supposedly helped out by bain , but that ad was never made, and, you know, it's baffling to people like burton about why they didn't respond, but when i talked to romney people early on in the campaign they thought bain was going to be a big asset. they were describing romney as a job creator and they just didn't see this counter narrative really, and one of the people who made the ad, saul shore, is a great old-time movie fan of frank cap ra movies and i don't know if people know those movies, but they're all about like the little guy, the underdog who's facing some kind of authority figure who is corrupt and wealthy and unfair, and that tapped right into that american sentiment, that feeling of unfairness, and i think it really resonated.
>> and --
>> i agree. i have seen all those movies and i love the character played by edward arnold who is always the bad political boss. you're right. it was always great to read your writing and reporting. i think all this began against the backdrop of 1% and occupy wall street and it set up the idea there's more trouble in this country than just unemployment. that's trouble. but there's also this unfairness and that pervaded and they picked up on this in this ad could you please.
>> absolutely. what jane just said is exactly right. those are precisely the kind of people, the victim, the good stand up guy who gets beaten down by the corporate villain in those frank cap ra movies. those are the people who seem to be invisible to mitt romney . they were invisible to him when he made the 47% remark. they were invisible to him when on labor day you had republicans saying, hey, job creators, this is your day. no, it was labor day . like there was this constant sense that those kind of guys, mike, was invisible to the gop and that's why they lost ohio .
>> thanks to mike. thank you, jane mayer , and thank you