The Obama campaign has not sent this ad to national reporters, but I’m told it will air in the seven key swing states. It is a brutal shot at Mitt Romney’s videotaped remarks about the freeloading 47 percent — it features nothing but audio of Romney’s own words, accompanied by pictures of veterans, workers, families with children, and other 47 percenters:
The ad concludes on these words: “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Matt Miller recently suggested that the Obama campaign should close out the campaign by literally paying people to watch two videos in their entirety: Bill Clinton's convention speech, and Romney’s freeloading 47 percent remarks. In a sense the Obama campaign is actually doing this. The new ad featuring Romney’s comments will run in Ohio, Virginia, Florida, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire. Accompanying this is Obama’s new two-minute spot, which is essentially a compressed version of Clinton’s speech, in that it recaps the magnitude of the mess Obama inherited, claims we are making slow and painful progress, warns that a return to Bush economics will upend that progress, and details the ways the recovery will bear fruit in Obama’s second term. These are the two side-by-side scripts swing voters are now hearing.
Obama and Democrats had spent the better part of a year painting Romney as a corporate predator who is completely disconnected from the economic experiences of ordinary Americans and thinks cutting taxes for the rich and letting unfettered free market capitalism run rampant will magically solve all our problems. The idea behind that attack line wasn’t just to paint Romney as a heartless plutocrat; it was designed to make it easier for voters to believe that his policies really would further enrich the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
Judging by recent polling — a stunning 38 percent of Ohio voters think Romney cares about the needs and problems of people like them — that version of Romney may be taking hold among voters. Now Dems have him on video essentially acting out the worst caricature of himself by speaking with undisguised disdain about nearly half the country — the less privileged half. As Jonathan Chait put it recently, Romney played the part of the “sneering plutocrat” who “put himself forward as the hopeful president of the top half of America against the bottom.” This, exactly at the moment when Romney is fighting perceptions that his policies are skewed in favor of the rich, and undecided voters are making their final choice about which candidate can truly be trusted to guard their interests.
Romney is running his own ad in nine states attesting to his concern for poor and middle class Americans, a sign he knows how devastating this videotape may prove to his presidential hopes. Democrats are counterprogramming that damage control with Romney’s own words. They speak for themselves, and it looks like Dems will try to make sure as many people as possible hear them.