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Romney and the hornet's nest

November 7, 2012 - Jim Anderson
On Election Day, President Obama’s top adviser predicted that Mitt Romney’s misleading ad about the auto industry would backfire.

David Axelrod, in a CNN interview, said the ad was “creating a real backlash” in the crucial state of Ohio.

“What it did was create an even larger gulf of trust and trust is a big issue in this campaign, and particularly for these voters in Ohio for whom questions like the survival of the auto industry are very much questions about their family’s economic well being,” Axelrod said.

The Romney campaign defended the ad as technically true — even as it drew pointed rebukes from both Chrysler and GM.

It’s one thing for political campaigns to be at loggerheads over issues of accuracy, but here Romney found himself at odds with the business world. He tried to unsettle voters by making deceptive claims about U.S. jobs going to China. And the automakers called him on it.

In the Huffington Post today, Jon Ward quotes a senior Romney adviser as saying there was "no question" that the ad hurt Romney in Ohio.

At CNN, political reporter Peter Hamby quotes a senior Ohio Republican who called the ad a "desperate" move that led to a “hornet’s nest” of negative press coverage.

Romney lost Ohio, 50 percent to 48 percent. And the “hornet’s nest” created by the misleading ad likely cost him in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, where he lost by wider margins.

Perhaps Obama was destined to win anyway.

But we’ll never know if Romney might have gained more votes with unfailing honesty. In the end, against the wall, he took another path and got stung.



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