WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, trying to deflect criticism of his lucrative past career as a private equity executive, counter attacked President Barack Obama with a new television ad.
"Where Did All the Obama Stimulus Money Go?" asks the TV spot paid for by Romney's campaign. It accuses Democrat Obama's administration of helping "friends, donors, campaign, supporters, special interest groups."
The ad, which the Romney campaign planned to release on Wednesday, aggregates widely reported stories questioning government stimulus payouts and federal credit assistance programs.
It takes special aim at the Energy Department loan program, skewered by Republicans in Congress, that supported bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra with more than $500 million in taxpayer assistance.
The ad also raised questions about a second Energy Department loan recipient, politically connected Fisker Automotive, which has failed to meet expectations for electric-car production and job creation despite a loan commitment of $529 million.
Obama administration officials have rejected assertions that politics played any role in federal support for Solyndra or other loan recipients.
Romney has sought to batter Obama over the stubbornly high U.S. unemployment rate and the weak economy, but instead has been forced in recent days to defend his business past, particularly his career as a private equity executive with Bain Capital.
Obama has characterized the former Massachusetts governor and presumptive Republican White House nominee as a wealthy investor who is tied to Wall Street and corporate interests and is out of touch with ordinary Americans.
Reporting by John Crawley; editing by Christopher Wilson