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: In a very special edition of Ad Watch, we present Mitt Romney's shock-and-awe-ing of eight states with a carpet bomb of 15 news ads Friday. 

The Ad: Mitt Romney, "A Better Future: Ohio - Defense"

The Issues: National security. Sort of.

The Message: Footage from the Republican National Convention in Tampa shows Romney saying we're not better off than we were four years ago. Obama's defense cuts "threaten over 20,000 Ohio jobs," the ad says. Romney will reverse these cuts to bring back jobs.

Who'll See It: The Romney campaign spent $4.5 million to air 15 ads in eight states, including Ohio, the A.P.'s Steve Peoples reports. So while the area it covers is broad, there aren't a ton of ads airing in each state.

Who It's For: Obama gets higher approval ratings on defense than he does on the economy. So the ad tries to weaken his standing on the first issue and take advantage of his vulnerability on the second.

What Everyone Else Thinks: The footage the ad uses from Tampa is about jobs, not national security. That's because Romney didn't talk very much about national security. He didn't mention Afghanistan at all.

The Effect: The only thing memorable about this ad is that it frames national security as an unemployment issue. But it's not very convincing. We have an enormous military for reasons other than keeping Ohioans employed, right? C


The Ad: Mitt Romney, "A Better Future: Virginia - Energy"

The Issues: Energy regulations as job killers.

The Message: Again, using footage from the RNC, Romney says we're not better off than when Obama took office, because Obama's "war on coal, gas, and oil is crushing energy and manufacturing jobs."

Who'll See It: Virginia is the only state where the Romney campaign is airing three different ads over the next several days.

Who It's For: People who cry filling up their gas tank. Which is just about anyone who has to fill up a gas tank.

What Everyone Else Thinks: There's no explanation for how repealing Obama's "excessive regulations" will create 340,000 new jobs in Virginia.

The Effect: The campaign is arguing that every Obama policy can in some way be blamed for the unemployment rate. B


The Ad: Mitt Romney, "A Better Future: Florida - Home Values."

The Issues: The fallout from the housing crisis.

The Message: The ad blames Obama for the fact that "home values collapsed." Romney will "provide alternatives to foreclosure" and "end the mortgage lending freeze."

Who'll See It: Floridian TV viewers.

Who It's For: In June, home prices in 20 cities rose for the first time since 2010. South Florida was hit hard by the housing bubble, but has seen seven straight months of housing price increases. Still, prices are still way below what they were before the housing bubble burst. 

What Everyone Else Thinks: Speakers at the Democratic National Convention attacked Romney for saying last year, "As to what to do for the housing industry specifically, and are there things you can do to encourage housing? One is, don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom."

The Effect: Again, it's a standard boring political ad, and the "alternatives to foreclosure" is frustratingly vague. But at least it addresses an issue that really affects locals. B