A Democrat familiar with ad buy information tells me that starting Friday, the new ad the Romney campaign rolled out today will begin airing at full throttle in all of Romney’s media markets in nine swing states, and it will be the only Romney ad running in them.
This underscores that the Romney campaign is betting all of its chips on the new approach represented in the minute-long ad, which is about cleaning up the mess made by Romney’s remarks about the freeloading 47 percent, and about reframing the Romney message as a forward looking one. The Dem source says ad buy info indicates that other currently running spots — one hits Obama as soft on China; the other is a positive ad touting Romney’s plan for the middle class — will be replaced by this one
The new ad features Romney speaking directly to the camera; he allows that he and Obama “both care about poor and middle class families.” The size of the buy behind it suggests the Romney campaign sees the need for a major effort to reverse the damage caused by Romney’s disdainful comments about nearly half the country. After a months-long campaign by Dems to paint Romney as uncaring when it comes to working and middle class Americans, video of Romney himself playing to type is potentially devastating. Today’s NYT/CBS poll found that only 38 percent of Ohio voters think Romney cares about the needs and problems of people like them.
The new ad’s acknowledgment that Obama, like him, cares about ordinary Americans also suggests a shift to a somewhat softer approach to the president. While the ad paints a dire picture of the Obama economy, it seems less harsh in tone than Romney messaging that suggests Obama harbors sinister redistributionist leanings that will take away the wealth and health benefits of middle class Americans and hand them out to those other people.Obama’s favorability ratings remain high, and there is no sign swing voters see Obama in the more lurid terms the Romney campaign had been employing, so this may be a shift, too.
The ad also represents a significant reframing of Romney’s message. The previous, backward-looking frame — “are you better off than you were four years ago?” — is replaced in this ad with the forward-looking assertion that we can't afford another four years like the last four. So the investment in the new spot suggests an admission that the previous framing failed and a heavy bet on this new messaging as his best shot of salvaging his candidacy.
Update: Romney will still be running Spanish-language ads in Florida, the Dem source confirms.