The latest attack ad from the Priorities USA Action, the biggest Obama-linked Super PAC, is basically a 60-second sequel to "King of Bain," the mini-documentary that Newt Gringrich unloaded against Romney during the Republican primaries. In a nutshell, Bain bought a company called GST Steel, loaded it up with debt, then declared bankruptcy and laid off all its workers. One of those workers was Joe Soptic, who lost his health insurance when he was laid off. A couple of years later his wife got laid off from her job, and then a few years after that she was diagnosed with cancer and died. "I do not think Mitt Romney realizes what he's done to anyone," Soptic says at the end of the ad as a blighted industrial landscape rolls by. "And furthermore, I do not think Mitt Romney is concerned."
That's pretty rough, and the Romney campaign could have attacked back in a number of ways. But oddly enough, they chose this line:
A Mitt Romney spokesperson offered an unusual counterattack Wednesday to an ad in which a laid-off steelworker blames the presumptive GOP nominee for his family losing health care: If that family had lived in Massachusetts, it would have been covered by the former governor's universal health care law.
"To that point, if people had been in Massachusetts, under Governor Romney's health care plan, they would have had health care," Andrea Saul, Romney's campaign press secretary, said during an appearance on Fox News.
Say what? Their response is, basically, that shit happens, but Soptic and his wife would have been OK if only Missouri had offered universal healthcare to its residents? This from a guy who's all but renounced the universal healthcare he introduced in Massachusetts because the tea party hates it? I feel like I've suddenly been transported into some alternate universe where Mitt Romney thinks every state should offer subsidized healthcare to everyone. I'd sure like to hear more about this.
POSTSCRIPT: On a related note, I continue to be surprised that Romney doesn't seem to have a very effective answer to these kinds of attacks. After all, they've been used against him in every campaign he's ever been in. It's odd. Maybe there's just no good response.