AdWatch: Obama ad portrays Romney as favoring rich

AP News
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Posted: Aug 01, 2012 5:22 PM
AdWatch: Obama ad portrays Romney as favoring rich

WASHINGTON (AP) — TITLE: "Worried"

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Florida

KEY IMAGES: Black-and-white shots of worried-looking people, footage of the war in Iraq and people boarding a private jet.

"You watched, and worried," a narrator says. "Two wars. Tax cuts for millionaires. Debt piled up. And now we face a choice." The downbeat music turns upbeat, and a color image of Mitt Romney flashes on the screen, followed by an image of luxury yachts, an overhead shot of the Pentagon and, again, a pair of worried-looking voters.

"Mitt Romney's plan? A new $250,000 tax cut for millionaires. Increase military spending. Adding trillions to the Deficit."

An image appears of President Barack Obama working at his desk, followed by images of Obama talking to voters at a kitchen table, a shot of the Capitol and a wide shot of a massive mansion. "Or President Obama's plan?" the narrator says. "A balanced approach. Four trillion in deficit reduction. Millionaires pay a little more."

The ad closes with Obama talking straight to the camera and saying he approves the message, adding, "because to cut the deficit, we need everyone to pay their fair share."

ANALYSIS: Obama's latest advertising tack is to frame the 2012 election choice between himself and Mitt Romney as between Obama's "balanced approach" and Romney's policies that favor the wealthy.

The ad uses images associated with wealth — a private plane, luxury yachts, an enormous mansion — and associates them with Romney. Its assertions about Romney's policies are generally correct. Romney has said he wants further tax cuts, including for the wealthy, as a part of his economic plan and has said he would increase military spending, though he has been vague about what areas or by how much.

The ad, though, ignores Obama's own role in some of the conditions it laments.

Obama has ended one of the "two wars" it refers to — the one in Iraq — but he also at least temporarily increased the number of troops dedicated to other war, in Afghanistan. While he now favors raising taxes on millionaires, Obama in 2010 agreed to extend Bush-era tax cuts for that group. And while he isn't solely to blame, the country's debt has increased sharply since he took office.

The ad is also light on specifics. Obama would like to cut the deficit by $4 trillion, but the viewer doesn't learn how.