New Romney ad blames auto bailout for job loss

(CBS News) A new television advertisement released by Mitt Romney's campaign says President Obama's 2009 auto bailout of General Motors and Chrysler led to job loss as car dealers had to close their dealerships.

Ohio car dealership owner Al Zarzour is featured in the ad, saying he had been selling cars since 1972 until he received a letter from General Motors notifying him they were suspending his credit line.

"In 2009, under the Obama Administration's bailout of General Motors, Ohio dealerships were forced to close," Zarzour said.

The ad is released on the heels of a new Quinnipiac/CBS News/New York Times poll, which shows President Obama with a 6 percent lead in the battleground state of Ohio, the focus of the ad. The ad is risky as the auto bailout has proven popular in the state that ranks second in auto industry workers.

Obama for America spokesperson Frank Benenati called the ad a "new low."

"While the President was busy saving the US auto industry - which has 1 in 8 Ohio jobs tied to it - Mitt Romney was busy arguing that we should turn our backs on an iconic industry and the workers in Ohio," Benanati wrote in a statement.

As the ad says, loans became difficult to obtain from both Wall Street financial institutions and the lending arm of General Motors. Some dealerships struggled to stay afloat or were forced to close due to the larger financial crisis and as the government takeover and subsequent structured bankruptcy led to less access to cash, according to the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

And jobs were lost during the bailout, but only a fraction of the number that would have been lost without it. The structured bankruptcy, however, was estimated to have led to the loss of 365,000 jobs compared an estimated 1.8 million jobs if the federal government did not intervene, according to a 2010 study by CAR.

Ohio is home to Sen. Rob Portman, who is considered to be on Romney's short list for vice president. His office has not responded to requests for comment about the Romney ad, but Governor Kasich John Kasich spokesperson Rob Nichols said, "We're thrilled the auto industry is still in here Ohio." He would not, however, comment on if the ad will work there

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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