New Obama ad targets Romney's Massachusetts record

President Barack Obama's campaign rolled out yet another new television commercial today in Iowa and other swing states. This negative spot (the eighth Obama campaign commercial to run in Iowa since early April) focuses on Mitt Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007.

The 60-second ad "We've Heard it All Before" started running today in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Annotated transcript:

Obama's voice: I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this message. [footage of Obama walking outside the White House]

Male voice-over: It started like this. [Words MASSACHUSETTS 2002 appear on plain black screen]

Clip of Romney speaking at a 2002 campaign event: I speak the language of business. I know how jobs are created.

Voice-over: But it ended like this: one of the worst economic records in the country. [Image of Boston Glob editorial from 7/29/07. The headline of the editorial is "Romney's economic record," and an excerpt characterizing that record as "one of the worst in the country" floats upward highlighted in yellow.]

Voice-over continues: When Mitt Romney was governor, Massachusetts lost 40,000 manufacturing jobs, [Footage of empty factory floor. Words on screen LOST 40,000 MANUFACTURING JOBS -Bureau of Labor Statistics RomneyEconomics.com ]

a rate twice the national average, [Viewer sees work gloves lying on equipment that's not being used, words on screen TWICE THE NATIONAL AVERAGE -Bureau of Labor Statistics RomneyEconomics.com ]

and fell to 47th in job creation, 4th from the bottom. [View pans down list of states, highlighting Massachusetts in red at number 47, near the bottom. Words on screen State Job Creation U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics RomneyEconomics.com ]

Instead of hiring workers from his own state, [footage of Romney delivering a speech as governor]

Romney outsourced call center jobs to India. [View of empty office, apparently a former call center, then shifts to footage of call center staffed by what looks like people from south Asia; words on screen OUTSOURCED JOBS TO INDIA Boston Globe, 5/1/12 RomneyEconomics.com ]

He cut taxes for millionaires like himself [Photo of Romney getting into an airplane, words on screen CUT TAXES FOR MILLIONAIRES Associated Press, 11/18/05, 12/8/05 RomneyEconomics.com ]

while raising them on the middle class, [Footage of young couple with two daughters, sitting at table with papers, looking stressed. Words on screen RAISED TAXES AND FEES ON MIDDLE CLASS Boston Globe, 9/27/06 RomneyEconomics.com ]

and left the state 2.6 billion deeper in debt. [Graphic shows view of Massachusetts statehouse, with area between columns shaded in red, rising higher as debt rose from 2003 through 2006. Words on screen $2.6 BILLION DEEPER IN DEBT Massachusetts Treasurer RomneyEconomics.com ]

So now, when Mitt Romney talks about what he'd do as president, [Footage of Romney holding microphone, speaking at town-hall meeting event, words on screen Get the facts at RomneyEconomics.com ]

Clip of Romney speaking on CNN: I know what it takes to create jobs.

remember, we've heard it all before. [Screenshot from CNN appearance this year juxtaposed with Romney footage from 2002 gubernatorial campaign]

Romney speaking in 2002 clip: I know how jobs are created.

Male voice-over: Romney economics: It didn't work then, and it won't work now. [Viewer sees photo of Romney smiling, next to image of Boston Globe editorial about his economic record. Words on screen IT DIDN'T WORK THEN. IT WON'T WORK NOW.

Romney's campaign spokesperson responded to this commercial:

"Having abandoned 'Hope and Change,' the Obama campaign only 'Hopes To Change The Subject' from an abysmal jobs report," Saul said in an e-mailed statement. "We're happy to compare the 4.7 percent unemployment rate Mitt Romney achieved in Massachusetts to President Obama's weak record any day. President Obama's policies have failed to get Americans back to work - it's time for a president who has worked in the real world economy and understands how to get this economy moving again."

Well, obviously Obama wants to change the subject from last Friday's terrible jobs report. The recovery isn't strong, which will continue to be a huge problem for the president who lowballed the stimulus and embraced a message of budget austerity. Still, the weak national economy doesn't magically erase Romney's past performance in managing a state's finances. Every fact and figure mentioned in the new Obama commercial was raised by other Republican presidential candidates during the GOP primary campaign.

Hoping to reinforce this commercial's message, the Obama campaign sent out surrogates from Massachusetts to various swing states today. James Q. Lynch reported on the event in Cedar Rapids:

"When Gov. Romney first ran, I thought, 'Well, we can make lemonade out of these lemons,'" [Massachusetts State Representative Cory] Atkins said, thinking he could translate his business acumen into turning around Massachusetts post 9-11 economy. "I thought he would bring in an A-Team from his colleagues at Bain and we'll get this show on the road."

However, rather that deliver on promises for more jobs, less debt and smaller government, Romney left the state with a $1 billion deficit and $2.6 billion in debt, said State Rep. Jeffrey Sanchez, a Boston Democrat. Massachusetts was 47th out of 50 in job creation and taxpayers were left with more debt per person than in any other state.

"He paid for state operations on the state credit card," he said. "That's not the way to run a state."

"Even Democrats know we don't do that," Atkins added.

Memo to Atkins: when you're trying to get people to vote for Democrats, please don't reinforce GOP talking points that imply Democrats are fiscally irresponsible.

"He didn't raise taxes on the 270 wealthiest individuals," but he increased the "hidden tax" of fees on all residents, Sanchez said, adding that Romney "doesn't understand the proportional impact on ordinary citizens."

In addition, Romney cut support for education, which in a brainpower state like Massachusetts is the equivalent of Iowa telling farmers they can farm only half of their land, Atkins said.

Obama hasn't appointed a good economic team and doesn't have a stellar record to run on, so he needs to make this election a choice between governing styles. Last week's NBC/Marist poll showing Obama and Romney tied in Iowa found that 46 percent of respondents thought Romney was the best candidate to handle the economy, compared to 41 percent for the president. On the other hand, 50 percent of respondents said Obama understands voters' problems the best, compared to 38 percent for Romney. The Obama campaign will keep pounding away at the message that Romney's more in tune with the needs of wealthy people than middle-class Americans.

Any comments about the presidential race are welcome in this thread.

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