Starting this week, voters in several swing states won’t have to leave the comfort of home to see President Obama’s stump speech — it will be piped straight into their living rooms.
A new ad launched by the Obama campaign this week — a 60-second spot called “The Choice” — marks a significant departure from the sharp, aggressively negative turn the presidential race has taken in recent weeks. The ad features Obama looking straight into the camera, making a direct appeal to voters by casting the race as a vote between himself, and a vote for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party that he says would return to the economic policies of the Bush era.
For months, Obama’s been laying out this case in campaign and official speeches across the country. But now it’s going to be beamed directly into American homes, increasing its potential impact. The campaign would not divulge the size of the ad buy, but said Monday that the ad will run in the swing states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Viewers in Colorado will not see the ad until next week, Obama For America officials told TPM, in keeping with the campaign’s vow to remove campaign ads from the air temporarily following the mass shooting in Aurora Friday.
Boiled down, the spot casts the general election as a choice between two vastly different candidates and their respective visions.
“Over the next four months, you have a choice to make,” Obama says in the ad. “Not just between two political parties, or even two people. It’s a choice between two very different plans for our country.”
Here’s the ad:
Between Obama and Romney, the president is the first to go up with a direct-to-camera spot. In it, he contrasts his views with Romney’s: “Gov. Romney’s plan would cut taxes for those at the very top. … I believe the only way to create an economy built to last is to strengthen the middle class.” It’s a tactic that acknowledges the fact that polls show the public finds Obama generally likeable as well as the fact that, as sitting president, people already know him well.
The Obama campaign has been out to define Romney for voters, and the new ad represents another step in that process. Past ads have been tougher on Romney, but Obama’s role in those was limited to the “I approve this message” kicker. Now the president is out in front, albeit in a Vaseline-on-the-lens way.
Romney has been doing his best to define Obama as well, and his campaign’s response to Obama’s new ad was pure acid, referring back to the out-of-context “You didn’t build that” attack that’s now central to Romney’s campaign.
“President Obama believes that government creates jobs, not hard-working entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Not only are his ‘you didn’t build that’ comments insulting to job creators, but they also reflect how unqualified he is to lead our country toward an economic recovery,” Romney spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said in a statement. “Instead of meeting with his Jobs Council, he is busy holding fundraisers, playing golf and trying to tear down Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney will never be too busy to focus on jobs and the economy and it will be his top priority as president.”