I-Team fact checks Romney TV ads

March 8, 2012 4:31:57 PM PST
The Illinois primary is 12 days away and the first shots have been fired on behalf of front-running GOP candidate Mitt Romney.

Two Romney TV commercials are now being seen in Chicago.

The two campaign commercials are bought and paid for by a Mitt Romney political action committee, a so-called super PAC called "Restore Our Future." The spots may be new for this Illinois primary but if some of the material sounds familiar it should. Mr. Romney has made many of the claims in previous campaigns.

"My 14 year old daughter had disappeared in New York City for three days and no one could find her," one ad says. "My business partner closed the company and stepped forward to take charge. He closed the company and brought all the employees to New York and said I don't care how long it takes, we're going to find her. He set up a command center and staffed thru the night. The man who saved my daughter was Mitt Romney."

While it was July of 1996, this is an accurate story. The daughter of Romney's partner at Bain Capital had vanished while high on ecstasy. Romney brought 50 company employees to New York and they helped find the girl in six days.

The second commercial currently on in Chicago is not quite as accurate. "Who has the right experience? Mitt Romney helped create thousands of jobs," the ad says.

You might call that an evolutionary fact. In Romney's first campaign it was 10,000 jobs. In early January, Romney said it was 100,000 jobs.

Now, after being challenged, the commercial cites simply thousands of jobs he helped create.

Another ad claims that Romney rescued the Olympics. While he did prevent the 2002 Salt Lake City Games from going into debt, the citation from the Associated Press on February 21, 2007 was actually a requote of the 'Romney rescued the Olympics' line that appears to have been said five years earlier by a campaign staffer.

"Romney vetoed 800 times and turned a deficit into a surplus without raising taxes." That item truly was in a New York Times article that also quoted critics as say Romney's statements were "vastly overstated."

The super PAC that produced and purchased the spots spent $14 million on advertising in January, more than that in February and blew through almost $3 million for media buys in the days leading up to Super Tuesday. With the GOP race much closer than Romney hoped, what that means is that his cost per vote is sky high, estimated at $17 per vote, compared to $9 for Newt Gingrich and $2.50 for Rick Santorum.