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'Rough' New Pro-Obama Ad Hits Romney Where It Hurts | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

'Rough' New Pro-Obama Ad Hits Romney Where It Hurts

A new ad from a pro-Obama PAC this morning takes an emotional approach to undermining Mitt Romney and his Bain background, while also raising the key Democratic issue of health care reform and broad coverage. Conservatives are already crying foul, using the word “toxic.” Pot, meet kettle.

Ross Douthat was already in a lather at New York Times with new blog post today building on his latest print column, which hit the alleged overwhelmingly “negative” tone of Obama’s campaign. I responded then by pointing out that a new study showed that Romney’s own campaign has been more than twice as “negative,” and that didn’t count his universally negative PAC ads. In fact, there’s a new Romney attack ad today that lies about Obama’s proposed “welfare-to-work” waivers and fails to admit that Romney favored the exact same thing when he was governor (what else is new?). The Obama campaign calls the accusations ridiculous, noting that requests for waivers came from five states, two—Utah and Nevada—governed by Republicans.

Douthat now claims the president has given up on trying to win votes among the white “blue-collar” class (presumably the fabled “Reagan Democrats,” if any are still living)—so he can “pander elsewhere”—yet denounces the very ads that focus on the stories of such folks who have lost their jobs or healthcare (which suggest that, contra Douthat, the Democrats are still seeking their votes). So it appears the conservatives are afraid that Obama’s message is basically working.

Plus: here's word today on new $25 million attack ad drive against Obama, the largest yet from Americans for Prosperity, one of the things-go-better-with-Koch groups. Its first ad expressly calls for Obama's defeat, raising questions about such "advocacy."

Douthat also links to a new Buzzfeed piece that rips what some GOPers today are calling the “most toxic” Obama PAC ad yet, released this morning by Priorities USA. They accuse the Obamaites of blaming Romney for the death of a steelworker’s wife due to loss of health insurance (which, of course, never happens in America today thanks to passage of, you know, the public option). Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post just called it “rough” in a tweet. Priorities USA cites the “Romney Record” at their site. UPDATE:  Paul Waldman at The American Prospect defends the ad, denies it is "brutal" as charged.  But various fact-checkers have challenged some of the content, and it turns out the man's wife had her own coverage for awhile, before losing it when an injury caused her to lose her job.

An e-mail from Priorities USA just now kicks off: “Priorities USA Action today released a new ad focused on Mitt Romney’s record in business where he and his partners made millions, even when companies they took control of were driven into bankruptcy, employees saw their jobs shipped overseas, and promises for health and retirement benefits were broken. ‘Understands’ features Joe Soptic, a former employee at GST Steel in Kansas City, Kansas, who lost his job and health benefits after Bain Capital closed the steel plant. While he was able to find part-time employment again, he was unable to provide health insurance for his family. Through this deal, hundreds of workers lost their jobs and promised health and retirement benefits while Mitt Romney and his firm walked away with over $30 million in profit.

“The ad is the fifth in a series of a $20 million television and online project to educate voters about Mitt Romney’s business record and their impact on middle-class families. The first four related ads, ‘Heads or Tails,’ ‘Loris,’ ‘Donnie’ and ’Stage’ have been airing since mid-May.

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