The Mitt Romney-supporting super PAC Restoring Our Future has released an ad that highlights the Republican presidential candidate's role in helping a former Bain Capital colleague search for his missing teenage daughter in 1996.
The 30-second ad, which was used by Romney's presidential campaign in 2007, features an emotional Robert Gay talking about the search for his daughter.
My 14-year-old daughter had disappeared in New York City for three days. No one could find her, says Gay as a melodramatic piano melody plays in background.
My business partner stepped forward to take charge. He closed the company and brought almost all our employees to New York. He said I don't care how long it takes, we're going to find her. He set up a command center and searched through the night. The man who helped save my daughter was Mitt Romney. Mitt's done a lot of things that people say are nearly impossible. But, for me, the most important thing he's ever done is to help save my daughter.
Gay's daughter Melissa went missing after she had left her home in Boston to go to a weekend rave party in New York City, telling her family that she was going to play tennis. While at the party she took the drug Ecstasy and ended up in the home of a New Jersey teenage boy. When Melissa didn't come home, Gay informed his colleagues at Bain Capital.
Romney, then CEO of Bain Capital, effectively closed down the company, and traveled down to New York with its 50 employees to search for Gay's daughter. The initial search effort before Melissa was found, is detailed in a 1996 New York Times article, but does not mention Romney by name.
The unidentified teenage boy called 9-1-1 when he saw a news report on television about the search effort for Melissa. She was returned to her family in a fragile state but unharmed.
It's an effective way to humanize a candidate who is struggling to connect with voters, wrote Washington Post reporter Rachel Weiner regarding use of the ad. But the ad also raises questions about how independent super PACs -- groups that can raise unlimited funds but cannot coordinate with campaigns -- really are.
Weiner seems to suggest that Restoring Our Future might have coordinated with Romney's campaign to air the old ad at a time when the former Massachusetts governor is hoping to clinch the Republican presidential nomination.
Charlie Spies, the super PAC's treasurer, told Weiner that the organization purchased the rights to the footage from its owner Cold Harbor films, which did not entail interacting with the Romney campaign.
Watch the ad below: