President Obama’s campaign is targeting the GOP presidential candidates – and specifically Mitt Romney – for their opposition to the auto bailout in Michigan, launching an ad in the state ahead of its Republican presidential primary next week.
A super PAC supporting the president has already launched an ad hitting Romney in Michigan, but the gambit from the Obama campaign to run an ad against Romney and his fellow candidates in the GOP primary is a first for the 2012 presidential race.
The ad isn’t all about Romney or the Republicans – in fact, it makes only brief mention of them in the course of a making a pro-auto bailout argument – but it makes a point to reference Romney’s New York Times op-ed which the newspaper titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”
The ad notes that all the GOP candidates were against the auto bailout and pictures all of them together, followed by a brief shot of Rick Santorum.
“Every Republican candidate turned their back, even said, ‘Let Detroit go bankrupt,’” the narrator says, as an image of the headline appears underneath a picture of Romney.
The ad then shows video of Obama: “Not him.”
Romney's campaign points out that he didn't write the New York Times op-ed's headline.
“The last thing President Obama and his team want to do is face Mitt Romney in the general election," said Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg. "Their factually false television ad proves they are more focused on Mitt Romney than they are on getting Michiganders back to work."
Besides perhaps coloring the results of Tuesday’s GOP primary, the ad is also an attempt to shore up Obama’s support in a state that he probably needs to win in this year’s election.
Polling shows the auto bailout is broadly popular in Michigan – with 63 percent of voters there supporting it according to a recent Marist College/NBC News poll. In the GOP primary, though, it’s more evenly split, which has led to questions about whether Romney – the auto bailout’s most prominent critic in the GOP race – might pay a price.