Bumps, roads, and cheap shots

Mitt Romney’s campaign seems to have generated quite a bit of buzz this morning, releasing an online video called “Bump in the Road.” It’s an early sign of just how dishonest the Romney campaign intends to be.

The video press release — calling it an ad is a stretch, since the campaign isn’t actually paying for it to run anywhere — shows struggling Americans outraged that President Obama characterized recent economic difficulties as a “bump in the road.” The Romney campaign even has these folks lying down on pavement, making the metaphor literal.

The message seems to be that President Obama just doesn’t take the suffering of the unemployed seriously enough. We’re supposed to believe Obama’s the heartless jerk who sees a 9.1% unemployment rate and blithely dismisses human suffering as a “bump in the road.”

The media certainly seems impressed with the attack. The video was Mark Halperin’s lead story all morning, and the Washington Post‘s Ed O’Keefe praised it as the kind of “ad” that “could turn the tide” of the presidential campaign.

The problem, of course, is that the ad is a lie. Even Romney, with his limited understanding of current events, knows full well that President Obama never characterized the unemployed as a “bump in the road.” Here’s what the president actually said:

“Now, I don’t want to pretend like everything is solved. We’ve still got a long way to go not just in this industry, but in our economy; for all our friends, all our neighbors who are still feeling the sting of recession. There’s nobody here who doesn’t know someone who is looking for work and hasn’t found something yet. Even though the economy is growing, even though it’s created more than 2 million jobs over the past 15 months, we still face some tough times. We still face some challenges. This economy took a big hit. You know, it’s just like if you had a bad illness, if you got hit by a truck, it’s going to take a while for you to mend. And that’s what’s happened to our economy. It’s taking a while to mend.

“And there are still some headwinds that are coming at us. Lately, it’s been high gas prices that have caused a lot of hardship for a lot of working families. And then you had the economic disruptions following the tragedy in Japan. You got the instability in the Middle East, which makes folks uncertain. There are always going to be bumps on the road to recovery. We’re going to pass through some rough terrain that even a Wrangler would have a hard time with. We know that.”

No sane person could see these remarks and interpret them as Obama casually disregarding the needs of those looking for work. Romney is pulling a fast one, hoping slick production values and a cheap message fool voters. It’s already fooling some in the media, so perhaps it’s a smart bet.

But even raising the topic leads to unfortunate follow-up questions: isn’t Romney the guy who succeeded in business by laying off thousands of American workers so he could get rich? And isn’t Romney the guy who failed miserably on job creation during his one term in office? How many of those in the Romney video are unemployed because they were forced from their jobs by Bain Capital?

Romney didn’t see those workers he forced from their jobs as “bumps in the road.” Indeed, he didn’t see them at all.

Don’t worry, Romney now says. Those poor folks literally lying on the pavement will be much better off just as soon as he gives the wealthy another tax cut and slashes public spending.

Why anyone would believe such nonsense is a mystery.