* No decision on when, how to use video
* Romney aide says ads are "campaign of personal
By Andy Sullivan and Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) - President Barack
Obama's campaign is preparing to attack Republican Mitt Romney's
business record with video of former workers from a Kansas City
steel mill that went bankrupt while owned by Bain Capital, the
company Romney co-founded.
The move is the latest sign that Obama's campaign is firmly
focused on the former Massachusetts governor despite Romney's
decisive loss to Newt Gingrich Saturday in the Republican
presidential primary in South Carolina.
In defeating Romney, former House Speaker Gingrich captured
the momentum in the state-by-state race to determine who will
face Obama, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 elections.
However, Romney's fundraising and organization generally are
superior to Gingrich's, and after the Jan. 31 primary in Florida
the campaign heads to several states where Romney has
While tossing a few barbs Gingrich's way, the Obama camp is
directing much of its energy toward Romney and his career as a
private equity executive to try to cast him as a job killer.
Bain Capital was involved in saving companies such as
Staples and Sports Authority but also in laying off thousands of
workers at companies it did not save.
Joe Soptic, a former mill worker in Kansas City, said the
Obama campaign had filmed him and other former workers
discussing how the plant became more dangerous under Bain's
Soptic also discussed how he lost retirement benefits and
health-insurance coverage when the plant went bankrupt in 2001.
Romney is "worth $250 million," Soptic said he told the
Obama crew. "He has more money than he'll ever spend, or his
kids will ever spend, or their kids will ever spend. How much is
enough? ... How could you go to sleep at night knowing you've
destroyed peoples' lives?"
NO DECISION YET ON VIDEO USE
An Obama campaign official said no decision had been made on
how, whether or when to use the video footage.
Soptic, however, said he was told that Internet and
television attack ads were in the works.
Romney's fellow Republicans - particularly Gingrich -
attacked his business record before the South Carolina primary.
Obama's campaign is picking up that narrative, figuring that
Romney's more moderate background could make him a tougher
opponent for Obama to beat in November.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina released a memo on Monday
with a list of weaknesses it sees with Romney, including his
"Romney's dodging on his tax returns and ever-evolving
explanation of his job creation record at Bain has cost him 10
points among independents and 12 among moderates in just the
last eight weeks," Messina wrote.
"As Mitt Romney moves through the Republican primaries, he
finds himself in an increasingly weak position among every
category of voter critical for a Republican to win the general
Romney's campaign responded with an attack of its own.
"The last thing the White House wants is Mitt Romney as an
opponent - which explains their 'all hands on deck' approach for
their strategy to 'kill Romney,' the same way they engaged in a
campaign of personal destruction against Hillary Clinton," said
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul, referring to Obama's 2008
primary race with the former first lady, now his secretary of
"President Obama has presided over an unprecedented 35
straight months of 8 percent or higher unemployment so it's no
wonder his campaign is desperate to distract from his failed
A FOCUS ON BAIN
Gingrich drew some criticism from fellow Republicans for
targeting Romney's business background at Bain but Democrats see
it as fair game.
Soptic was featured in a Reuters Special Report this month
that examined Bain's stewardship of GS Technologies, the steel
Former company managers and workers and independent analysts
say that Bain's decision to pay investors a $65 million dividend
shortly after taking over the company in 1993 weakened its
ability to survive difficult market conditions at the end of the
Messina, the Obama campaign manager, zeroed in voter
reactions to Romney's Bain ties.
"In South Carolina, a heavily conservative state, more than
a quarter of voters had a negative view of Romney's record at
Bain Capital - which he has made his central argument for the
nomination," he wrote this week.
"In Florida, things won't get any better. At Bain, Romney
invested in Dade Behring, a profitable medical-equipment
company, ran it into the ground, and caused 850 workers in Miami
to lose their jobs."
Romney's campaign has not addressed criticism of Bain's
oversight of Dade Behring. But it has emphasized Bain's
successes and said that as Bain overhauled companies, there was
always a risk of failure.
(Editing by David Lindsey and Bill Trott)
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