Making Bain the center of attention

It took a while, but Bain Capital and its victims are finally starting to become a central issue of the presidential campaign.

Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC, an outfit called Winning Our Future, is investing in a 30-minute short film about Mitt Romney’s private-equity firm and the extent to which Romney got rich laying off American workers. The Super PAC released this trailer over the weekend:

What struck me as interesting about the clip, aside from all the Romney victims, was the message at the beginning: “Capitalism made America great. Free markets, innovation, hard work — the building blocks of the American dream. But in the wrong hands, some of those dreams can turn into nightmares.”

At its root, this is a pretty liberal message. Romney believes critics of Bain Capital’s layoffs are borderline communists, trying to “put free enterprise on trial.” Gingrich’s Super PAC is arguing that capitalism is great, but not the kind of ruthless, needlessly-greedy, screw-the-workers style of capitalism Romney used to get rich.

When there’s overlap between liberal and conservative criticisms of Romney, we’ve reached an interesting stage of the larger discussion.

The DNC, meanwhile, released a new clip — its first that mentions Romney’s Bain record — which is shorter than the Gingrich Super PAC’s video, and emphasizes a different point.

This one reminds folks that Romney didn’t just lay off thousands of American workers, he also lied about the jobs his firm created.

“Mitt, why not just tell the truth?” the tagline reads.

Given the frequency with which Romney misleads the public, it’s a question that’s likely to come up quite a bit in the coming months.