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'King of Bain': 6 questions answered about anti-Mitt Romney attack ads

A pro-Newt Gingrich super PAC will begin its controversial 'King of Bain' ad campaign attacking Mitt Romney Thursday. Here's a Q&A to explain what the controversy is about.

By Staff writer / January 11, 2012

A screenshot from kingofbain.com of the anti-Mitt Romney documentary, 'King of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town.'

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A much-anticipated ad campaign claiming that Mitt Romney helped to destroy businesses and kill jobs is set to hit the airwaves Thursday.

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The ads, taken from a documentary called "King of Bain: When Mitt Romney Came to Town," have drawn criticism from some Republicans, who say they unnecessarily attack American capitalism and could help President Obama if Mr. Romney wins the Republican nomination. 

But they are seen as one way the divided Republican field could haul Romney, now the clear front-runner after wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, back to the pack before the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary.

Here are the basics about the controversial campaign. 

Question: Who is behind the ads?

Answer: A pro-Newt Gingrich super political-action committee, called Winning Our Future, bought the 27-minute "King of Bain" documentary, which is already available at kingofbain.com. While Twitter and other online social media are already pushing the digital message out, the TV and radio ad campaign – comprising various clips taken from the documentary – starts Thursday. 

Question: What is so negative about this film?

Answer: The documentary profiles four companies that it argues were stripped and sold by Romney's venture-capital firm, Bain Capital, leaving many out of work and little if anything of value behind. The film details the hardships of those who were allegedly put out of work by Bain Capital.

Winning Our Future's Gregg Phillips calls this "the Romney treatment," and he denies the film is an attack on capitalism.

“This is not free-market capitalism,” says Mr. Phillips, a small business owner who says he owns a software firm. “Romney destroys businesses by sucking the cash out of the system.” 

“This film shows just what he actually does,” he adds.

The four companies are KayBee Toys, a Florida commercial laundry-equipment company called UniMac, an Indiana-based office-supply firm called AmPad, and an electronics company called DDI.   

Question: Who made the movie?

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