Why are the presidential candidates spending so much time to raise so much money? To buy TV ads. Which ones succeed? Which fail? In Ad Watch, we review them as they come out. Today: Mitt Romney responds to President Obama's attacks on his jobs record, while the Republican National Committee makes Obama look like a whiner.
The Ad: Mitt Romney, "Strong Leadership"
The Issues: Romney's jobs record when he was governor of Massachusetts.
The Message: This is a response to Obama's ad "We've Heard It Before," saying that Romney campaigned for Massachusetts governor with the promise that his business experience would help create jobs. But Massachusetts was 47th in the nation in job creation. Romney's ad counters that Massachusetts had a low unemployment rate -- 4.7 percent -- and that "Romney had the best jobs record in a decade." (Salon's Steve Kornacki explains that's not much of a boast -- it counts only two other governors, who dealt with a major Boston bank failing and a national economic slowdown.) The ad concludes that "Romney's strong leadership will make all the difference on jobs."
Who'll See It: "A spokeswoman for the campaign refused to disclose any details of the size or scope of the ad," The New York Times reports. So… reporters?
Who It's For: Swing voters with doubts about Romney's ability to create jobs, because a new poll shows there's a lot of them. There's a reason Romney's already directly responding to Obama's jobs ads. A Purple Strategies survey found that in three swing states, people are more likely to think private equity companies -- like Romney's Bain Capital -- care more about making money than helping the country. In Ohio, 49 percent said private equity firms "care only about profits" while 33 percent thought they "help America grow," The Washington Examiner's Byron York notes. So expect more Bain attacks from Obama.
What Everyone Else Thinks: Shaking a lot of hands, which Romney does in this ad, does not make one a man of the people.
The Effect: It's a pretty boring but positive campaign ad. The point is to get reporters' attention, which it succeeded in doing. B
The Ad: Republican National Committee, "Headwinds"
The Issues: The economy.
The Message: Obama makes excuses for the struggling economy. In a Daily Show-style clip roundup, Obama says we're "facing headwinds" a whole bunch of times from 2010 to 2012.
Who'll See It: It's a Web video, so only those who seek it out.
Who It's For: Reporters, the youth.
What Everyone Else Thinks: Well, aren't we facing some headwinds?
The Effect: It's well-done sendup of one of Obama's talking points. It would better skewer the president with less ominous music, though. A-