In Presidential Campaign Ad Wars, It's "Redistribution" vs. the "47 Percent"
Photo: CBS News
(CBS News) Amid ongoing uproar over a leaked video of controversial comments Mitt Romney made at a fundraiser this year, pro-Romney forces are going on the offensive in an aggressive new ad campaign, targeting President Obama for his record on jobs, coal, and a 1998 comment he made about the "redistribution" of wealth.
Two ads released by the Romney campaign target the president's policies on energy, accusing him of "ruining the coal industry" and "attacking" the livelihood of middle-class Americans. And the super PAC Restore Our Future will go after the president for his record on jobs in a $2.2 million ad buy for a spot called "Disappearing." Asserting that the "real" unemployment rate is 19 percent, the ad's female narrator asks: "Looking forward to a second Obama term?"
The Republican National Committee, meanwhile, is moving forward with an ad that evinces the Romney campaign's new line of attack, blasting Mr. Obama for comments he made in 1998, when he said he "actually believe[s] in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody's got a shot."
The RNC ad, entitled "Redistribution," repeats a partial audio clip of Mr. Obama's 1998 remarks twice throughout the ad while dramatic classical music plays loudly in the background. It also features a clip of CBS News' Steve Kroft questioning Mr. Obama about his position about the redistribution of wealth in a December 2011 interview, and includes a quote of Kroft saying "this is the socialist Obama and he's come out of the closet." In Kroft's full quote, it's clear he's not calling the president a socialist but is rather noting that some people will do so: "There are going to be people who say, 'This is the socialist Obama and he's come out of the closet,'" he said in the interview.
"Is it any wonder that someone who attacks success has led the worst economic since the great Depression?" Romney wonders, in a clip pulled from his speech at the Republican National Convention. "In America, we celebrate success. We don't apologize for success!"
The RNC ad reflects the Romney campaign's recent effort to pivot away from the controversy surrounding the leaked video -- in which he can be seen at a private fundraiser describing the majority of President Obama's supporters as people who are "dependent on government" -- by targeting Mr. Obama over the "redistribution" comments. In an interview on Fox News yesterday, Romney stood by his controversial statements before turning to the audio clip of Mr. Obama, which was featured on the conservative news aggregator The Drudge Report and pushed aggressively by Republicans.
"We were of course talking about a campaign and how he's going to get close to half the vote, I'm going to get half the vote, approximately, I hope," Romney told Fox News' Neil Cavuto. "I want to get 50.1 percent or more. Frankly we have two very different views about America. The president's view is one of larger government, there's a tape that came out today where the president's saying he likes redistribution. I disagree."