Obama campaign TV spot hits Romney as governor
As President Barack Obama and presumptive nominee Mitt Romney hit up big-money donors on both coasts on Monday, their respective allies waged a public relations blitz to deride each other’s message.
The Obama campaign announced a television advertisement, which can be viewed here, that slammed Romney’s record as Governor of Massachusetts, saying he cut taxes for millionaires, outsourced call center jobs to India, and left the state saddled with debt.
The ad, called “Heard it Before,” cost the campaign approximately $10 million, and is on the air in nine battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, the campaign said.
“By almost every measure Governor Romney’s jobs record in Massachusetts was undistinguished and yet he positions himself as a job creator,” said Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod in a conference call with reporters to discuss the ad.
Axelrod said the Romney campaign exhibits “breathtaking hypocrisy” when it criticizes Obama for net job losses since he took office and then seeks to exclude from scrutiny early portions of Romney’s gubernatorial record because he inherited a tough economic situation. “We are going to hold him to the same standard they’ve held us,” Axelrod said.
Axelrod said the the campaign spent $25 million on ads in May, $100,000 of which was on an advertisement portraying Romney as a heartless corporate raider at the helm of private equity firm Bain Capital.
On the same call, campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said a majority of Americans view Romney’s experience as a corporate buyout specialist in a negative light. “This is a discussion that we are just beginning,” LaBolt said.
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul hit back in an email statement, saying the unemployment rate in Massachusetts fell under Romney and that the Obama campaign has clearly shifted its tone.
“We’re happy to compare the 4.7 percent unemployment rate Mitt Romney achieved in Massachusetts to President Obama’s weak record any day,” Saul said in a nod to the uptick in the jobless rate in May to 8.2 percent. “President Obama’s policies have failed to get Americans back to work – it’s time for a president who has worked in the real world economy and understands how to get this economy moving again.”
The tone of the Obama campaign and its opening general election salvo was also the target of a video by the political action committee American Crossroads, which supports Republican candidates for federal office.
The video slammed the shift from Obama’s positive tone during his 2008 candidacy versus a more negative approach in 2012 — a move widely criticized by Republicans and some Democrats.
“Fear” opens with clips of Obama on the stump in 2008:
“In two days you can put an end to the politics that would divide a nation, just to win an election,” the video shows Obama saying.
The video abruptly shifts to frenetic sound bites criticizing Obama campaign attacks on Romney’s business record – including one from Democratic Mayor Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey, who called the Bain ads “nauseating” — and ends with Obama’s iconic Hope poster morphing into a flame-engulfed Fear poster.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told supporters in a video on Monday that the campaign expected a tough campaign and to ignore the bad -– discouraging poll numbers -– and instead focus on building the grassroots organizing network whose work in battleground states would lift the president to four more years in the White House.
“We knew this was going to be a tough race. You know what really matters in a close election? The unprecedented grassroots organizing we are doing every day in states across the country,” Messina said.
In the 3-minute video, Messina said the Democratic incumbent has an early advantage in the race to collect 270 electoral votes, and homed in on North Carolina, where voters in early May approved a state constitutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage and civil unions.
Obama won North Carolina in 2008 by 14,000 votes and his campaign registered more than 160,000 new voters, Messina said.
“That was the difference, that’s how we won,” said Messina, adding that it is taking the same approach in 2012. The campaign has already registered 83,000 voters this cycle in North Carolina, Messina said.
“Organizing on the ground, taking to voters, getting you involved. That’s how we win,” he said. “The only poll that really matters is November 6, election day. We can’t pay attention to anything else, good or bad.”