As it typically does when President Obama goes on the road, the Romney campaign is bracketing the president's visit to New Hampshire today. But this time, it's doing it with its first TV advertisement of the race -- and it’s negative.
The ad begins -- featuring grainy video and ominous music -- with Obama campaigning in New Hampshire back in October 2008. "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," Obama is captured saying in the spot.
But, as the New York Times points out, “[T]he line, which is perhaps the spot’s most devastating moment, is also the one that seems to be the most taken out of context. In fact, at the time, Mr. Obama was referring to something that an aide to his then opponent, Senator John McCain of Arizona, had said in reference to the McCain campaign — not Mr. Obama, then or now.”
In fact, the Romney campaign pretty much admits this with its documentation of the ad's assertions.
OBAMA: “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”
Obama: “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.” (Senator Barack Obama, Remarks, Londonderry, NH, 10/16/08)
The Obama campaign pounced on Romney's advertisement, calling it "deceitful" and "dishonest." And the Democratic National Committee has accused Romney of being a "serial deceiver."
"Mitt Romney is a serial deceiver -- and his deceptions know no bounds," the DNC said in a release. "Romney will deceive about his own record, the record of his opponents and his positions on the issues. And when Mitt Romney is caught deceiving – he doubles down and deceives even more."
The Romney campaign defended its use, saying the “tables have turned” on the president. “President Obama and his campaign are doing exactly what candidate Obama criticized,” Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho said. “President Obama and his team don’t want to talk about the economy and have tried to distract voters from President Obama’s abysmal economic record.”
After hitting Obama, the Romney ad pivots -- with soaring string music -- to what he wants to do. He hits on Tea Party talking points: “getting rid of programs, turning programs back to states”; “get rid of ‘ObamaCare’; “moral responsibility not to spend more than we take in”; “high time to bring those principles of fiscal responsibility to Washington, D.C.” And, with a shot of a manufacturing worker, he says, he’ll “make America a job-creating machine like it has been in the past.”