New Obama ad in Iowa features auto industry bailout

President Barack Obama talks about intervening to save the U.S. auto industry in his re-election campaign’s latest television commercial, now on the air in Ohio and Iowa. I’ve posted the video and transcript of the 30-second spot below.

“Succeed” went up on May 10:

My transcript:

Obama speaks to off-camera interviewer: The decision to intervene with the auto industry was not popular.

Obama continues to speak: But I was convinced it was the right thing to do, because it wasn’t just the million jobs that were at stake, it was also part of what built our middle class [series of still photos show the president sitting around a table with United Auto Workers members, talking with a man in a diner, talking with a family around a kitchen table, standing with a young family next to a field or farm]

creating products stamped with those words “Made in America.” What happened in Detroit can happen in all sorts of communities, where … [footage of auto industry workers doing various welding and assembly jobs on unidentified factory floors]

when you combine American innovation with the best workers in the world, we can succeed. [view switches back to Obama speaking to off-camera interviewer]

I’m Barack Obama, and I approved this message. [The president’s voice-over accompanies a photo of Obama talking with people in a diner; slogan FORWARD with campaign logo and BARACKOBAMA.COM/FORWARD on screen]

I didn’t remember the auto industry bailout as being unpopular, but in fact a solid majority of Americans were against the intervention. In February 2009, Gallup found 72 percent of respondents opposed additional federal government loans to General Motors and Chrysler, and 58 percent opposed a more general statement about “giving aid to U.S. automakers who are in danger of going bankrupt.”

This commercial is nothing special but conveys a simple message well. While unemployment has come down slightly, it is still at historically high levels, and Obama needs to improve his image as an effective manager of the economy. His calm voice and the visuals in this ad create positive feelings about the government helping an important part of the manufacturing sector.

The president’s campaign has been running quite an ad blitz in Iowa over the past month. “Succeed” is the second new commercial aired this week. I doubt they believe Obama is 10 points ahead of Mitt Romney here, as Public Policy Polling’s latest survey indicated. Alternatively, perhaps they are trying to take this state out of play early.

Another new Obama campaign ad, which features a formerly laid-off autoworker, is airing only in Ohio. Matt Negrin of ABC News analyzed the claims in that commercial here. Negrin observed,

The auto bailout is one of the tug-of-wars playing out in industrial swing states. Obama’s campaign has made the resurgence of the industry a pillar of its argument to re-elect the president, while Mitt Romney has awkwardly said he deserves credit because he wrote an op-ed headlined “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” and he says Obama eventually “took them through bankruptcy.”

Romney needs to make a different case against how the president’s handled the economy. Obama would love a prolonged debate over who did more to help the automakers.

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