A week doesn't go by without some new ad related to the presidential campaign hitting the Iowa airwaves. The latest commercials from the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns are after the jump, along with highlights from Romney's event in Council Bluffs on Friday.
According to the Obama campaign, "Jobs" is on the air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Obama's voice: I'm Barack Obama, and I approved this message. [footage of Obama shaking worker's hand at what looks like a car factory]
Obama speaking at event: We're still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, [Fast edits: footage of Obama speaking to crowd, farmer working in a field, workers walking across roof of site under construction, workers on factory assembly line, commuters stepping out of train onto platform, retail worker serving customer at cash register, some kind of designer working at table with computer]
Obama continues: but we're still not creating them as fast as we want. [view shifts back to Obama delivering speech at public event]
Male voice-over: The president's jobs plan would put teachers, firefighters, police officers, and construction workers back to work right now. [Footage of Obama walking with workers in a factory; images of teacher with group of students, firefighters, police officers and a construction worker, automobile assembly line worker; words near bottom of screen BarackObama.com/JobsNow, with TEACHERS FIREFIGHTERS POLICE OFFICERS CONSTRUCTION WORKERS flashing briefly on screen]
Voice-over continues: And it's paid for by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more. [Camera pans down street in what looks like a nice neighborhood.]
But Congress refuses to act. [image of Capitol Hill, words on screen CONGRESS REFUSES TO ACT BARACKOBAMA.COM/JOBSNOW ]
Tell Congress we can't wait. [same image of Capitol, words on screen TELL CONGRESS WE CAN'T WAIT BARACKOBAMA.COM/JOBSNOW ]
Running against the Republican-controlled House of Representatives may not be a bad strategy, but I can't take this ad seriously. I hate the genre of "pretend not to be a campaign ad" commercials that end with "tell so and so to do such and such." Also, I recall how Obama stiffed middle-class government workers in the name of deficit reduction, yet was willing to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in December 2010. I don't care how many times he calls for "asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more." I flat-out do not believe he will go to the mat against another extension of the Bush tax cuts for all income levels later this year.
The previous Obama campaign ad (launched a week ago) went after Mitt Romney's record as governor of Massachusetts. FactCheck.org analysts Robert Farley, Lori Robertson and Eugene Kiely found that ad misleading. Romney defended his record in a television commercial that went on the air Friday. CNN reported that the "Strong Leadership" ad is running in New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada and Virginia.
Male voice-over: Mitt Romney on day one. [close-up footage of Romney, words on screen ROMNEY DAY 01]
The difference is strong leadership. [Romney addresses campaign event; words on screen ROMNEY THE DIFFERENCE IS IS STRONG LEADERSHIP]
As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney had the best jobs record in a decade. [Footage of Massachusetts statehouse, Romney shaking hands with worker in warehouse or factory, clips of what looks like an electronics worker, a couple getting ready to leave home for work in the morning]
Romney reduced unemployment to just 4.7 percent. [Footage of someone operating forklift in a warehouse, welder working; checked box on screen next to words 4.7% Unemployment]
He balanced every budget without raising taxes. [Clips of Romney talking with different groups of people; checked box on screen next to words Balanced Budget]
He did it by bringing parties together to cut through gridlock. [Footage of Romney shaking hands with woman behind store counter, talking with people in restaurant, then footage of traffic on city streets by Capitol]
From day one as president, Mitt Romney's strong leadership will make all the difference on jobs. [Footage of Romney talking with group of people at campaign event under bright lights, standing at podium talking with CUT THE SPENDING banner behind him.]
Romney's voice: I'm Mitt Romney and I approved this message. [Black and white photo of Mitt and Ann Romney holding hands outdoors.]
This is Romney's third general-election tv ad. The other two focused on what he would do on the first day of a Romney administration. Those commercials used the same narrator, background music, and flattering photo at the end. I'm no branding expert, but Romney's strategy reminds me of Senator Chuck Grassley's ad campaign from 2010; all the commercials have the same look and feel.
Writing in FactCheck.org, Robert Farley concluded that the Strong Leadership ad "presents a slanted view of [Romney's] record on jobs, unemployment and taxes. To every claim, there is a 'yes, but' qualifier."
I doubt the Obama ad or the Romney response will change many voters' minds about whether he was a good governor of Massachusetts.
Romney hammered the president during an appearance in Council Bluffs on Friday.
"The private sector is doing fine," with businesses hiring at a solid pace over the last 27 months, Obama said during a news conference at the White House. "Where we are seeing weaknesses in our economy had to do with state and local government."
Romney immediately seized on that comment during a 17-minute speech here in Iowa, one of about a dozen crucial swing states where Democrats and Republicans are each waging intense battles.
"He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin?" Romney told a crowd of about 400, referring to labor unions' failed effort to unseat that state's governor, Scott Walker. "The American people did. It's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people."
That's a great sound bite, although Romney is dead wrong about government cuts being good for the private sector economy. On the contrary, state and local government job cuts are a drag on the economy.
Romney told his Iowa audience,
I won't have to have a long to-do list in my drawer at the White House. My to-do list is written on my heart, and my first three entries are these: jobs, jobs and jobs. I'm going to go to work to get America working again.
Campaign surrogates have continued the argument over whether the federal government should allocate more money toward hiring teachers.
While Romney got the headlines he wanted from his campaign stop in western Iowa, his advance team isn't up to speed yet, judging from this Des Moines Register blog post.
Mitt Romney personally called a Council Bluffs restaurant owner Friday to apologize after she said the presidential candidate's campaign staff made her and her husband feel disrespected.
On Friday morning, Dianne and Earl Bauer hosted Romney's roundtable meeting at their restaurant, Main Street Café, prior to his speech at Bayliss Park across the street. The U.S. Secret Service required the closure of half of their cafe for about five hours, but they weren't allowed to personally meet Romney, they said. [...]
Earl Bauer said over a 2 ½-day period, the advance team removed plastic checkered table cloths; some disappeared. And they removed half his wife's doll collection from a shelf to make the backdrop look appealing for a presidential candidate, Earl Bauer said. The dolls were "thrown in the backroom," he said.
An advance team member wanted to move the restaurant's "Hawkeye Rd" sign to a ledge near the cash register, but instead of undoing the screw, he ripped the metal sign down, leaving a round hole in a corner of the metal sign, Earl Bauer said.
Not smooth. When people open up their home or business for a campaign event, the candidate has to make time for a personal greeting. Romney should make sure these mistakes don't happen again. As Iowa campaign blunders go, though, nothing will top Rudy Giuliani's staffer telling an Iowa farmer and campaign donor that she and her husband weren't worth enough to host a campaign event for the former mayor of New York.
Any comments about the presidential election are welcome in this thread.
Final note: Priorities USA, the super-PAC supporting Obama's re-election, has been running television commercials highlighting Romney's record at Bain Capital. Priorities USA has been on the air in Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida--but not in Iowa. The latest Priorities USA ad campaign is a joint effort with the Service Employees International Union to run Spanish-language ads attacking Romney in Colorado, Nevada, and Florida.