Obama focuses on seniors, veterans in positive ads

AP News
Posted: May 23, 2012 3:31 PM
Obama focuses on seniors, veterans in positive ads

TITLE: "Personal" and "Sacred Trust."

LENGTH: Both 30 seconds.

AIRING: Broadcast and cable stations in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.

KEY IMAGES: In "Personal," a female narrator talks about President Barack Obama's commitment to Medicare. Images of elderly people flash across the screen, including a couple walking on a path, an older woman looking into the camera and a photo of a younger Obama with his grandparents.

"To you and your loved ones, Medicare is personal. And to a president raised by his grandparents, it's personal too," the narrator says. "It starts by protecting your Medicare from health care scam artists who prey on seniors. President Obama is leading the most successful crackdown on health care fraud ever. Already recovered $4 billion from health care scams last year alone, to preserve Medicare now and for the future. A commitment to Medicare as personal as yours."

The ad ends with a still image of Obama sitting at a kitchen table, with his campaign's slogan, "Forward," at the bottom of the screen.

"Sacred Trust" focuses on Obama's work for veterans, is narrated by Obama and begins with him talking to the camera. "The sacrifices that our troops have made have been incredible," he says.

Interspersed with shots of Obama in an open-collared shirt are night-vision video of soldiers on a raid in a war zone, a daughter greeting her father who is wearing military fatigues, a wounded service member running on an outdoor track and Obama greeting veterans. News citations of improved veteran's benefits flash on the screen.

"It's because of what they've done that we've been able to go after al-Qaida and kill bin Laden," Obama says. "And when they come home we have a sacred trust to make sure that we are doing everything we can to heal all of their wounds, giving them the opportunities that they deserve to find a job and get the education that they need. It's not enough just to make as speech about how much we value veterans. It's not enough just to remember them on Memorial Day." At the end, Obama salutes.

ANALYSIS: Obama's re-election campaign puts him back on the airwaves in a pair of positive ads after he generated criticism for previous ads attacking Republican challenger Mitt Romney's past work at the Bain Capital private equity firm. Both are straightforward, soft-focus ads designed to inform voters about Obama's record. They're also an acknowledgement that Obama must do more than simply tear down Romney if he's going to win re-election in November.

"Personal," which focuses on Medicare, is a clear appeal to senior citizens, one of the largest and most consistent voter blocs. The ad's claims about Obama's record on Medicare are true, although it ignores changes to the program that occurred under Obama. Medicare was cut by about 6 percent as part of Obama's overhaul of the health care system. The administration has said the cuts trimmed waste.

By positioning himself as a protector of Medicare, Obama is also framing an election fight he's likely to have with Romney, who has expressed support for a budget blueprint passed by House Republicans that includes significant cuts and changes to Medicare and Medicaid.

"Sacred Trust" highlights the administration's efforts to help veterans. Its specific claims are true, but lack context.

Money for returning veterans has increased under Obama along with training help, as the ad claims. But the unemployment rate among those who served in the military since 2001 is higher than the overall jobless rate _ 9.2 percent, compared to 8.1 percent overall.

"Sacred Trust" also is notable because it makes reference to the military operation that killed Osama bin Laden. Obama is likely to continue reminding voters about that success before the Nov. 6 election. In this case, he's doing so in an ad that's not otherwise touting his national security credentials.

Together, the two ads show that Obama recognizes he'll have to make a positive case for himself if he's going to win a second term.