President Obama’s campaign spent the Republican primaries quietly amassing a war chest of over $100 million while his rivals dominated the airwaves in swing states around the country. But they’re done watching from the sidelines.
The president’s re-election team is out with a new ad, “Go,” running in nine swing states, as part of a whopping $25 million ad buy this month. To put the amount in perspective, Romney finished March with only $10 million cash on hand.
The ad, which focuses on how the economy has improved from the initial 2008 crisis that Obama inherited, is part of an aggressive effort from the president to remind voters of the dire circumstances the president faced in January 2009. The hope is that by putting his achievements in that context, Obama can overcome Romney’s message to voters still hurting among weak job growth that the White House has fallen short of its goals.
“The president has faced a combination of crises few others have ever had to deal with, all at the same time,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a conference call with reporters Monday. “Starting on Day One, he’s made bold and brave decisions to hep our economy get back on its feet and bring our troops back.”
Messina said the ad “echoes the message the president delivered to the people this weekend: We have a very simple choice between going forward and going back.”
Campaign officials warned that they expect a flood of negative advertising from unlimited-money Super PACs supportive of Romney, who played a crucial role in the Republican primary as a handful of ultra-wealthy donors dominated TV and radio with attack ads. Democratic groups, particularly former Obama spokesman Bill Burton’s Priorities USA, have struggled to raise money from big name Democratic donors, while Republican groups connected to Karl Rove believe they’re on pace to raise $300 million by November. Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod referred to Super PACs as “Koch brothers contract killers” and said that rebutting their attacks directly would be a top priority.
“We will respond vigorously,” he said. “We will treat every ad that comes from those entities as an ad from Gov. Romney and we will compare our record and vision with his and we’ll let the American people respond.”
The new Obama ad will run in Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, Iowa, North Carolina, Florida, and Colorado.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.