The general election has begun! And so has the onslaught of campaign ads. Which ones succeed? Which fail? In Ad Watch, we review them as they come out. Today: President Obama defends his jobs record by highlighting Mitt Romney's financial records.
The Ad: Barack Obama, "Swiss Bank Account"
The Issues: Supposedly an ad by Americans for Prosperity -- a group backed by the Koch brothers with no ties to Romney -- hitting Obama for green energy subsidies that created jobs for foreigners. But that little bit of fact-checking is a very minor part of the ad. The main message of the ad is that Romney is the real jobs exporter.
The Message: Mitt Romney is not like us; he's a rich person. "As a corporate CEO," the narrator explains, as if the job title itself were proof of pure evil, "he shipped American jobs to places like Mexico and China. As governor he outsourced state jobs to a call center in India... It's just what you'd expect from a guy who had a Swiss bank account."
Who It's For: People who hate rich people (almost everyone, including many rich people); journalists who might not watch the ad all the way to the end. The ad is titled "Swiss bank account" even though that's a throwaway line in the closing seconds. Obama's campaign has bought $459,000 in airtime in Ohio, Politico's Alexander Burns reports, plus $88,000 in Iowa and $73,000 in Virginia for ads running the first week of May.
What Everyone Else Thinks: Romney will be ruthless in cutting spending.
The Effect: It's a pretty standard political ad: sneering anonymous narrator, words flashing on the screen. The idea of a Swiss bank account catches your attention, even though it has little to do with the actual policy critique of the ad. C+
The Ad: Restore Our Future, All the ads against Romney's former rivals for the Republican nomination.
The Issues: Romney's Super PAC has scrubbed its YouTube channel of all the negative ads it ran to destroy Romney's opponents in the primary, Politico's Maggie Haberman reports. Only the anti-Obama ads remain.
The Message: It's time for Republicans to come together to beat Obama.
Who It's For: Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, their aides, and anyone else with lingering hurt feelings after the group spent $35 million crushing the Not Romneys.
What Everyone Else Thinks: Way to rewrite history, guys.
The Effect: Gone, but not forgotten.