Conservative groups launch new ad campaign in Michigan and Pennsylvania
November 1st, 2012
07:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Conservative groups launch new ad campaign in Michigan and Pennsylvania

Washington (CNN) - Two major conservative groups working to defeat President Barack Obama launched new ad offensives in Michigan and Pennsylvania as they hope to build support in two states some Republicans think they a chance of winning.

Americans for Prosperity, a group advocating for limited government and cutting government spending, on Thursday began a $3 million media campaign in the two states, running a previously-aired commercial that features people it says voted for the president in 2008 and will not do so again.

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"He did get his health care through, but at what cost," one woman, Robin, says in the spot.

"I had hoped the new president would bring new jobs, not major layoffs," another woman, Maria, says.

A third voter, Richard, said of the president: "He said he was going to cut the deficit in his first term. I've seen zero interest in reducing spending. He inherited a bad situation but made it worst."

The spot ends with the words: "Has President Obama earned your vote? It's time for a change."

This new buy - which includes a second spot featuring a Canadian citizen talking about her problems with her country's health care system and urging Americans to get engaged in the health care debate - brings to $35 million the amount the group has spent on ads advocating against the president. A separate part of the group has spent $45 million on issue education aimed at the presidential race and Senate campaigns.

As part of a $5 million final ad offensive of the campaign, the second group, American Future Fund, is also investing heavily in those same states, buying $1.88 million worth of television time in Michigan and $1.67 million in Pennsylvania, a spokesman for the group confirmed to CNN. It also purchased $457,000 of time in in the battleground of Ohio. For this buy AFF will run two of its previous ads: Real Solutions, featuring all women talking about some of the economic problems facing the nation and A New Path, which uses clips of Mitt Romney from the presidential debate talking about the economic vision and detailing his economic plan.

The group is also investing $1.3 million for radio ads in the key states of Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire and Minnesota, where it also has advertising on television. Last week both the Romney and Obama campaigns also placed went up with tv ads in the state.

Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, told CNN there were several reasons why the group chose to go on the air in two states not considered the most competitive.

"The return on our investment is very good," he said, adding voters in Michigan and Pennsylvania are not being inundated with campaign ads and calling it a "real opportunity."

A new EPIC-MRA poll in Michigan showed the president beating Romney by a 48% to 42% margin, while a Franklin & Marshall survey in Pennsylvania had the president with a 49% to 45% advantage.

While the Obama campaign says it is confident of its chances in both Michigan and Pennsylvania, it purchased television time this week in both to match Republican buys. "We will not cede any state in this race," Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters Wednesday in a conference call.

Americans for Prosperity is also mounting a major operation deploying 180 staff members on the ground, knocking on doors, calling voters and creating localized social media in 18 states, including Ohio, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Montana and Minnesota.

Phillips, who talked to CNN from one of the operation's locations in the suburbs of Cincinnati, said "this field effort is not a get-out-the-vote effort. It is very much aimed at people who are up in the air about President Obama's economic agenda."

The key emphasis for Americans for Prosperity is centered on the issues of the economy and health care. As part of this outreach, the organization did a lot of groundwork through demographic research and polling. It identified 9.1 million voters who the group thinks can be persuaded on these issues, as well as people who tend to be active in voting years. Its list includes 450,000 in Florida and almost 400,000 in Ohio.

"We want to go to them and say this agenda is terrible for the country," Phillips said describing it as "very much a laser beam approach."

The group was able through the congressional battles over health care and cap and trade to identify tens of thousands of activists who formed the basis of its targeting effort. Also it has had paid staff for several years in some of these key states, such as Ohio and Wisconsin, giving it an advantage in gearing up its election year outreach.

Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Michigan • Mitt Romney • Pennsylvania
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    AoP is funded by Koch, nuff said.

    November 1, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  2. Anonymous

    AoP is funded by Koch, but intended to appear as "grass roots", nuff said.

    November 1, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  3. jane

    There is NOTHING conservative about the conservatives who keep electing a political party that NEVER balanced the budget!!!!!

    November 1, 2012 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  4. babak

    where some Republicans think they have a chance of winning.!?why cnn support obama!?The pull say they have chance!

    November 1, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  5. Af

    You want to replace Obama by someone who can who will take us to another WAR in middle East like GEORGES BUSH. Karl Rove is a monster who help kill more than 3000 US in IRAC

    November 1, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  6. Marry

    GOP health care reform: Go back to the ER!
    What kind of people can be so terribly wrong to vote GOP? For anybody GOP the way they behaved over the last 4 years?

    November 1, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    Tell that Bain-Capital guy to RELEASE HIS TEN YEARS TAXES....

    November 1, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  8. Wake up People!

    Keep spreading the lies and sane people will continue to ignore them and change the channel. Don't worry repubs, you'll get Oakland County in Michigan, but no way will you get Wayne. Since your voter suppression attempts failed in PA, I guess you have to try and fool them too.

    Btw Willard, how are you doing in MA?? That's the poll I want to see.

    OBAMA 2012!

    November 1, 2012 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  9. jinx88

    Mittens better start worrying about Florida, he loses Florida it definitely over.

    November 1, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  10. Dave in O-town

    I wonder how many rocks Romney's advertising people looked under to find a Canadian complaining about our health care system... that's a joke..

    As a Canadian citizen, I can tell you our system is not perfect, and there are wait times for some procedures, but our health care is covered in our taxes – for everyone ! The care is excellent, and I have never met a single solitary person in my 46 years of life who would trade our system for the U.S. system before Obamacare tried to modernize it... Not even one....!

    For what is's worth, the vast majority of Canadians think Americans are lucky to have Obama as he tries to end the wars and standardize health care for all Americans, like just about every other country in the western world has been doing for awhile now...he gets it...Romney's ideas and the Republican right wing plilosophy seem plucked straight out of 1955...Very surprising...

    All the best to the Superstorm victims...and please donate if you can...

    November 1, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  11. Squigman

    Muckraking, yellow dog journalism at it's very core. People that fall for this blather, deserve the future they make for themselves. Can't think of one single republican, that needs to be encouraged to step into the future. All of the one's known to modern man need to be relegated tot he past. Dinosaurs one and all.

    November 1, 2012 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  12. Guest AGAIN

    Fewer jobs, greater debt, stonewalling on critical issues...Obama doesnt deserve any more time! You cant trust him people, so vote him out!

    ROMNEY/RYAN 2012!

    November 1, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  13. v_mag

    We've heard lots of scary warnings, and no evidence, of voter fraud. I'm far more worried about voters being defrauded.

    Kreepy Karl Rover, who is known for his dirty tricks, is hip deep in this election, and he controls millions of dollars. The Rob-money family has deep pockets and large investments in voting machines. Repugnant operatives have already been caught trying to destroy voter registrations. And the 2000 election was handed to W by his brother in Florida. Fraud was well documented in Ohio in 2004, when Bush was incredibly returned to power, only to continue his wars, torture, and the destruction of the economy.

    Unless there is massive turnout for the President in swing states, it will be a simple matter for the Rob-money forces to engineer a false "win".

    November 1, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |