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First Thoughts: Romney's counterpunch

Romney’s counterpunch: New TV ad responds to Obama Bain/outsourcing charge… “Rapid” response? But ad comes out more than a week after the Obama camp released its latest Bain/outsourcing ad… Romney: “If you’re responding, you’re losing”… It’s Biden’s turn before the NAACP… Meanwhile, Romney received boos there, but also got praise for showing up… Where the Obama camp is advertising uncontested (versus the Romney camp)… And Romney raises money with Dick Cheney in Wyoming.

Pat Sullivan / AP

Republican presidential candidate,former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a speech to the NAACP annual convention, Wednesday, July 11, 2012, in Houston.

*** Romney’s counterpunch: Outside of last Friday’s jobs report, Mitt Romney and his campaign team have found themselves on the defensive over the past four weeks. On immigration. On health care (whether the mandate is a penalty or tax). On Bain Capital. On outsourcing. And now on his offshore accounts in places like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. As the New York Times front-pages today, supporters are starting to get antsy. “Conservatives have lit up talk radio programs across the country, worrying whether Mr. Romney’s business record has been ‘Swift Boated,’ referring to attacks waged against Senator John Kerry’s military record in 2004. The Romney campaign headquarters in Boston has been inundated with advice and criticism from donors and supporters who worry that Mr. Romney has lost an opportunity to introduce himself on his own terms.” Well today, the Romney camp is responding to the Bain/outsourcing charge with a new TV ad. The ad’s message: Obama isn’t telling the truth. 

*** Truth in advertising: “When a president doesn’t tell the truth, how can we trust him to lead?” the narrator asks in the ad. “The Obama outsourcing attacks: ‘misleading, unfair and untrue,’” the narrator continues, citing the Washington Post’s fact-checker on June 21. But there are two potential problems here for Team Romney. One, the very first Romney TV ad of the entire campaign -- which was released back in November -- was criticized for being misleading and false. That ad quoted Obama, back in ’08, as saying, “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.” But Obama in that line was actually quoting a McCain adviser. Two, one of the Romney camp’s main arguments against the Obama outsourcing charge -- that Romney had left control of Bain’s day-to-day operations when that outsourcing occurred -- is undercut by a Boston Globe piece (following reporting by Mother Jones) noting that “[g]overnment documents … say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time.” But perhaps the biggest problem for Team Romney is that this response ad comes MORE THAN A WEEK after the Obama camp released its Bain/outsourcing ad. That’s not quite rapid response.

*** “If you’re responding, you’re losing”: Yesterday on FOX, Romney was asked about this assault on his business record. “Well, I of course respond to the attacks which come. But you know, they say in politics, if you’re responding, you’re losing,” he said, per Politico. Romney added, “[E]very day I go out and give a speech, I talk about the issue people care about, and that is the failure of the president’s policies to reignite this economy.” But if you’re laser-focused on the economy -- which is the top issue in this election -- then you are susceptible to being blind-sided by other issues.

*** As Woody Allen said, 80% of success is simply showing up: Today, it’s Vice President Joe Biden’s turn to address the NAACP conference in Houston, and he does so at 10:30 am ET. As for Romney’s appearance there yesterday, the reaction to him was -- shall we say -- mixed. He received boos (for saying he’d repeal the federal health-care law), but he also received some applause, as well as credit for showing up, NBC’s Garrett Haake reports. "I give him kudos for coming here, I really do. He had nerves," said attendee Betty Bush, even though she didn’t agree with anything in Romney’s remarks. And to Romney’s credit, showing up is something that President Obama isn’t doing; he sent Biden instead.

Mitt Romney received at mixed reaction during his speech to the NAACP and now Vice President Joe Biden will take a turn speaking to the convention and offering a rebuttal of Romney's current economic argument. Daily Rundown guest host Luke Russert reports.

*** Where Obama is advertising uncontested (versus the Romney campaign): Yesterday we noted that while the Obama camp is outspending the Romney camp on the airwaves, the Romney folks are actually outspending the Obama folks in some of the hottest advertising markets. What’s going on here? Well, it’s simply that the Obama campaign is spending in markets that the Romney campaign -- for now -- isn’t contesting. And here’s the list of all of these markets: Charlottesville, VA; Burlington, VT (for the NH market); Portland, ME (NH); Harrisburg, PA; Erie, PA; Gainesville, FL; Mason City, IA; Greenville-Spartanburg (for NC); Harrisonburg, VA; Wilmington, NC; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA; Miami, FL; Johnstown-Altoona, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Zanesville, OH; Lima, OH; Tri-Cities (VA); Quincy-Hannibal, MO (for IA); Parkersburg, WV (for OH); Tallahassee, FL; Panama City, FL; Wheeling, WV (for OH); Ottumwa, IA; and Charleston, WV (for OH).

*** On the trail: Romney, in Wyoming, raises money with former Vice President Dick Cheney… Biden, as mentioned above, speaks to the NAACP in Houston, TX… And Rudy Giuliani stumps for Romney in Virginia Beach, VA.

Countdown to GOP convention: 46 days
Countdown to Dem convention: 53 days
Countdown to Election Day: 117 days

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