Where Outside Spending Groups Can Go that Candidates Can’t

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There have been quite a few TV ads run by Democrats in Michigan this past week criticizing Mitt Romney for opposing the 2009 auto-bailout. (Probably to limited effect in the primary.)  This one from public worker union giant AFSCME, backed by a $360,000 buy, is probably the most effective. It also happens to be an ad that Barack Obama could never run.

Narrator: An entire industry was saved. 1.4 million jobs preserved. And we showed the world that America doesn’t quit. And now we’re coming back. But in Mitt Romney’s world?

Romney: Don’t give them money… Let Detroit go bankrupt… Don’t just write them checks… These companies shouldn’t be given money up front.

Narrator: Romney would have turned his back on us in the depths of the recession. But he supported giving the banks billions in bailouts. That’s Mitt’s world. Why would we want to live in it?

90% of this spot is just like an Obama re-election spot. “We showed the world that America doesn’t quit” is a spiritual cousin to the President’s favorite line on the auto-bailout, “Don’t bet against the American worker.” Some of the same Romney clips were used in Obama’s own campaign ad. But the most venomous bit is the line on the widely reviled Troubled Asset Relief Program–Wall Street is Romney’s world, alien and indifferent. Of course Obama supported TARP, too. But that’s the advantage of third-party advertising.