What Mitt Romney hoped to gain from an ad falsely suggesting Jeep is sending jobs to China was probably to peel off some of the working class white voters backing President Obama in Ohio, where the auto bailout is popular. But that has come at some cost. Two auto executives have denounced the ads, with General Motors' spokesman saying, "We've clearly entered some parallel universe during these last few days… No amount of campaign politics at its cynical worst will diminish our record of creating jobs in the U.S. and repatriating profits back to this country." Local workers called their union worried their jobs were in trouble. The fact-checkers have given the ads flaming Pinnocchios ratings. Bill Clinton called the ad "a load of bull" at an Ohio rally. The Obama campaign released an ad calling the Jeep ad false.
Obama has long attacked Romney for his 2008 editorial in The New York Times headlined "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." (Romney did not write the headline, but he did argue for letting the car companies go through managed bankruptcy without government support, which auto executives and government officials on the Detroit bailout task force say would have meant the companies didn't survive.) Romney's campaign has responded by repeatedly calling him a "car guy," as Paul Ryan said in the vice-presidential debate. The Jeep ad goes further than reminding voters that Romney actually like cars. Will more people see the ad than see news reports saying it's false? Since Romney showed a more moderate side of himself during the presidential debates, Obama's been attacking him as lying about his positions. Does the Jeep ad help Obama make that case?