Democrats say new Romney ad distorts Obama's words
November 22nd, 2011
07:34 AM ET
3 years ago

Democrats say new Romney ad distorts Obama's words

(CNN) - Mitt Romney's first television commercial of his second bid for the Republican presidential nomination hits the airwaves Tuesday, but the ad is already creating a controversy.

President Barack Obama's re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee are both slamming the 60-second spot, saying it takes comments made on the campaign trail in 2008 by then-Sen. Obama out of context. But the Romney campaign says they used the line intentionally.

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, November 22, in the CNN Republican National Security Debate in Washington, D.C.

The commercial, titled "Believe in America," begins running on WMUR-TV, the main commercial television station in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire. The ad's release comes as the major GOP presidential candidates face off Tuesday night in a CNN Republican presidential debate in the nation's capital that focuses heavily on foreign affairs, national security and the economy, and it also begins running in New Hampshire on the same day that the president makes a visit to the Granite state to urge Congress to act on his plan to extend and expand the payroll tax for millions of Americans.

The spot criticizes the president's efforts to turn around the economy, and among other things uses a clip from then-presidential candidate Obama from a campaign stop in New Hampshire from October 2008 saying "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."

But that's only part of what Obama said. His entire line is: "Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, 'If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.'"

The president's 2012 re-election team in Chicago was quick to respond, saying "just last week fact checkers scolded Mitt Romney for distorting a comment the president made about creating American jobs and now Romney launches a deceitful and dishonest attack rather than outline his own record or plans for the future."

And the DNC released a fact check of the ad Monday night that charges the Romney commercial with distorting Obama's words, adding that "Mitt Romney will do anything to get elected – he's "running for president, for Pete's sake!"

The Romney campaign included the full quote from Obama from 2008 in an email release they put out Monday night.

The Romney campaign was quick to respond.

"Three years ago, candidate Barack Obama mocked his opponent's campaign for saying 'if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.' Now, the tables have turned – President Obama is doing exactly what candidate Obama criticized. President Obama and his team don't want to talk about the economy and have tried to distract voters from his abysmal economic record," says Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

The ad's release comes just six weeks before the Iowa caucuses, the first contest in the presidential primary and caucus calendar, and seven weeks before the Granite state's primary.

The ad will run on television station WMUR in Manchester, New Hampshire. The 60-second spot will air Tuesday through November 27, with the campaign spending $134,000 on the buy, according to WMUR political reporter James Pindell.

Romney has long led in the polls in this state, thanks in part to his familiarity among Granite State voters. He was governor of neighboring Massachusetts, and many people in southern New Hampshire live in the Boston television market.

Romney also owns a vacation home in New Hampshire and has spent a lot of time in the state the past couple of years helping out local GOP candidates and the state Republican Party. This year he has spent a lot of time on the campaign trail in the Granite state.

In his first bid for the White House, Romney went up with ads much earlier, with his first commercial airing in March of 2007.

While Romney is now just entering the ad wars, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas have both been up with paid commercials in the early voting states.

– CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this story.

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. ipmutt

    More liberal mainstream media bias. Expect this to go from a steady stream of pro democrat output to a torrent.

    November 22, 2011 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  2. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Humm,
    What distortion are the democrats talikng about? At tjhat time I believe Obama said un employment wouldn't go above 8 percent. The Policies he pushed thru the Democrat Controlled Congress only made un employment worse. . All most people are talking about is the economy. People still need jobs. Obama Care effectially killed jobs. That is why at least 26 States are suing to repeal Obama care. So, either the figures are lyiing or the liars are figuring. In this case Obama's Poll numbers are way down. Usually a new President's Poll numbers rise in his first term. ???

    November 22, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  3. Jariv

    Go Mitt 2012 !!!

    November 22, 2011 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  4. Don Bashline

    The headline for this piece is misleading, is it not? The headline makes the issue seem much more partisan than it is, since the article clearly indicates exactly how Gov. Romney took then-Senator Obama's words out of context for his ad. There doesn't seem to be much controversy here, and perhaps the headline should be changed to reflect that.

    November 22, 2011 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    The Dems like to play these games, so turn about is fair play.

    November 22, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    The ad goes way past dirty politics. It is designed to intentionally deceive the public. Obama is repeating someone else's words, but the ad never lets you know that. It makes it appear as if Obama is making the statement.

    It appears that Camp Romney has no problem with lying and deceiving the public. How a candidate runs a campaign for office is pretty good measure of how that candidate would run that elected office. In this case, it would be reruns of more Republican lies and deception on The People.

    November 22, 2011 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  7. Dave

    Seriously? Mitt Romney has to stoop to these lies and he's not even the GOP candidate. I used to think Romney was a pretty sharp guy. I didn't agree with his postions (whatever they may be on a given day), but I respected his smarts. Unfortunately, he's turned into a garden-variety Republican. All he knows how to do is complain and he's too cowardly to take a position on anything. All he wants is power and like every other Republican out there, he will stop at nothing to get it.

    November 22, 2011 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  8. Common Sense

    Mitt Romney was for tax breaks before he was against being for taking a position against anyone who voices an opinion against being for them.

    November 22, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |