Watching the Romney campaign fumble around as it tried to respond to the Bain attacks was initially pretty alarming. The Democrats and the progressive-left have obviously been gearing up for months to launch this attack line as soon as Romney secures the nomination: the administration’s class warfare rhetoric, the sudden focus on “income inequality” and even the Occupy Wall Street movement will all play a role in trying to take down Romney.
But once the attacks started coming from Gingrich, it became painfully apparent that Romney hasn’t laid nearly as much groundwork as the Democrats. Probably because he didn’t expect to be confronted on this issue until after the primaries. According to his campaign, he’s just starting to catch up:
The change comes following three days of stumbling responses from Romney and campaign aides, who admit they were caught unprepared for the explosion of Bain as the dominant topic of the Republican race — “out of nowhere,” one adviser said. And it comes as Romney is aiming to turn his polling lead into a primary win — an early-state hat trick they hope will quickly establish him as the presumptive GOP nominee. …
They’ll start with advertisements featuring employees of companies started and rescued by Bain telling their stories — a direct response to the documentary released by the pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC that features employees of four companies closed by Bain that brutally slams Romney as a job killer. That documentary is set to be parceled out into shorter commercials that will air in South Carolina with a $3.4 million ad buy.
Some pundits have noted that Gingrich’s attacks might actually turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Romney. It gives him an opportunity to see which counterattacks work, and which ones don’t. More importantly, the media will probably give more credence to any factual challenges of the Bain video now than they would during the general election. The media may be in the tank for Obama, but there’s certainly no love lost between the press and Gingrich. While the New York Times may have accepted this video at face value if it was put out by a pro-Obama Super PAC, they’ll gladly turn into “Truth Vigilantes” now that it was released by a pro-Gingrich group.
The media is Romney’s best friend in this controversy, as long as he’s able to quickly come up with an effective counterattack. The more it’s talked about, the sooner it becomes old news. And the older the news gets, the less voters will care about it during the general election. If Romney is able to blunt this Bain Capital charge during the primaries, he’ll take away the centerpiece of Obama’s reelection strategy.