Why are the presidential candidates spending so much time raising so much money? To buy TV ads. In Ad Watch, we review the results of their heroic efforts as they come out. Today: A pro-Obama super PAC uses Mitt Romney's "47 percent" footage, Romney attacks President Obama over using coal miners, Todd Akin shows women love him, and Tim Kaine shows he's bipartisan.
The Ad: Priorities USA Action, "Doors"
The Issues: Romney's "47 percent" comments.
The Message: Romney said behind the doors of a donor's fancy home that the he'll never convince the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income tax to take personal responsibility. Behind regular American doors, regular Americans are washing babies and doing other wholesome things. "Mitt Romney will never convince us he's on our side."
Who'll See It: The pro-Obama super PAC says it'll run in six swing states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Who It's For: People who are upset about the economy but not convinced by Romney.
What Everyone Else Thinks: It was an "inarticulate" way to say too many people get government benefits, as Paul Ryan said of Romney's comment.
The Effect: The quickly-produced video is basically your average attack ad cut with some clips of the private fundraiser video. It's not a very creative use of the footage, but it is notable the ad already exists. C
The Ad: Mitt Romney, "Way of Life"
The Issues: The coal industry.
The Message: A coal worker says Obama promised to "bankrupt the coal industry" and that the president is keeping his promise.
Who'll See It: "Expect to see them on the airwaves in Ohio and Virginia," the National Review says.
Who It's For: Several polls have shown Obama has an advantage over Romney when voters are asked who's more likely to look out for people like them. Republicans have been increasingly worried about Obama's widening lead in Ohio. Some polls have shown a significant lead for Obama in Virginia as well.
What Everyone Else Thinks: In 2008, Obama did say he wanted environmental regulations to make building a coal plant tougher. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, “If somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
The Effect: It's a real person telling a compelling story. A
The Ad: Tod Akin, "Missouri Women Standing with Todd Akin"
The Issues: Women like Akin even though he said that thing about "legitimate rape."
The Message: Akin cares about issues women care about. Women who work in health care say they're frustrated with all the bureaucracy they have to deal with instead of dealing with patients. Others say they care about the economy. A Russian who was adopted -- and is obviously too young to remember the Soviet Union -- talks about the scarcity and rations. A woman says she wishes she hadn't gotten an abortion. "Having had an abortion, I realize that Todd is advocating for women… so that in the future, women don't have to do what I've had to do, which is grieve every year." There's soft lighting and violins.
Who'll See It: It's a web video meant to be shown on Akin's new Women for Akin page, which was posted Tuesday but taken down because one of the women in the photo was a Democratic tracker paid to follow him around and catch him saying dumb stuff. (Screengrab at left -- the tracker is third from left.)
Who It's For: Women turned off by his rape comments but open to Republicans. Missouri is a red state, and his victory against Sen. Claire McCaskill was considered a sure bet before he said that stuff.
What Everyone Else Thinks: Whether Akin is nice to women isn't the issue, his policies are.
The Effect: There are some compelling stories, but it's way too long at 7 minutes and 47 seconds. A ton of time is taken up just talking to these women about who they are -- things that have nothing to do with the election. C-
The Ad: Senate candidate Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virginia
The Issues: Kaine works with both parties.
The Message: The ad shows Kaine working with George W. Bush and Obama on stuff for his state. "As your senator, I'll partner with whoever's president of the United States to do what's right for Virginia."
Who'll See It: TV viewers in Virginia.
Who It's For: People in the middle who aren't sure about Obama.
What Everyone Else Thinks: Obama is averaging a 3-point lead in Virginia. Kaine is averaging a 2.2-point lead. It's interesting he sees the way to win over more voters is by showing his independence from Obama, even though Obama has a slightly wider edge in the state.
The Effect: It's a warm and fuzzy message. Photos of Kaine with both presidents make him seem important as well as bipartisan, but there's nothing that really stands out about this ad. B-