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AdWatch: Republican-leaning group accuses Obama of making misleading attacks on Mitt Romney
WASHINGTON (AP) ¯¯¯ TITLE: "Smoke."
LENGTH: 30 Seconds.
AIRING: A $9.3 million buy from American Crossroads, a Republican-leaning independent group, beginning Friday and running for about 11 days on broadcast TV in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia and on the Internet.
KEY IMAGES: "What happened to Barack Obama?" a female narrator says. "The press, and even Democrats, say his attacks on Mitt Romney's business record are 'misleading, unfair and untrue,' 'blowing smoke,' 'too far,' 'no evidence.'"
An image of a frowning Obama fills the screen followed by partial quotes from The Washington Post, former Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and FactCheck.org to back up the narrator's words.
"So why is Obama attacking?" asks the narrator. "He's added $4 billion in new debt every single day; unemployment stuck above 8 percent; family incomes falling. Barack Obama can't run on that record."
A shot of a padlocked chain-link fence gate, presumably at a business that has shut down, flashes across the screen followed by more unflattering images of a frowning Obama.
The ad running in battleground states is sponsored by American Crossroads, a Republican "super" political action committee that has promised to independently raise millions of dollars to defeat President Barack Obama.
The ad blames Obama for not doing more to fix the sluggish economy, the paramount issue in the presidential contest, and accuses him of using the attacks on Romney as a smoke screen for his own shortcomings.
It's a response to Obama's attacks on Romney's business record and his unwillingness to release more of his income tax records than the two years he has promised to make public. The Obama campaign has focused on Romney's tenure at private equity firm Bain Capital, hoping to undercut the former Massachusetts governor's argument that his experience in the private sector makes him better qualified than Obama to revive the economy.
A key line of Obama's attack focuses on how several Bain-backed businesses transferred jobs to lower-wage countries such as China and India. "Mitt Romney's companies were pioneers in outsourcing U.S. jobs to low-wage countries," a recent Obama ad said.
It's true that Bain did invest in businesses that moved jobs overseas to cut costs ¯¯¯ a trend that began in the 1990s and which many U.S. companies followed. But that doesn't mean Romney personally directed those companies to follow such practices.
The claim that Obama has "added" $4 billion in new debt every single day is misleading.
The power to spend federal dollars belongs to Congress, not the president, and any president must deal with lawmakers on cutting the federal deficit. That becomes even harder with a divided Congress where no one party controls the House and Senate, as is the case now.
The ad also takes an overly simplistic view of the debt's role in a bad economy. The economy is weak largely because it is still staggering from the Great Recession, which officially ran from December 2007 to June 2009.
Many economists put it the other way around, saying the debt is high because of the weak economy. Businesses and families are saving more these days, and the government's spending of borrowed money is one way the economy has been propped up.
The debt grew under tax cuts enacted in the previous decade by President George W. Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, paid for by borrowing. The emergency financial bailout begun by Bush a few months before he left office added to the red ink, as did Obama's 2009 economic stimulus package.