The Obama campaign’s latest 30-second ad doesn’t include a single word from the president, instead relying on Romney’s own comments from the infamous speech in which he disparaged the roughly 47 percent of American households that do not pay federal income taxes.
The Obama campaign is banking that Romney’s words are toxic enough to not require additional treatment, said a campaign spokesman.
“Romney’s own words clearly lay out what’s at stake for middle-class Americans in November,” Michael Czin told the Boston Globe.
The ad features still images of people meant to represent “the 47 percent” – blue-collar workers, seniors and veterans – over slightly condensed audio of Romney’s comments.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitledto health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it,” Romney said while being taped without his knowledge at May 17 fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida. “… And they will vote for this president no matter what.”
“And so my job is not to worry about those people,” Romney continued. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
The running of the biting sound piece comes just days before the president and his Republican rival meet in Denver on Wednesday for the first of three presidential debates.
The gaffe has clearly been a setback to the Romney campaign’s efforts to stay on message and has thrust even more pressure on him to score a decisive victory over the president in the debate.
Obama’s re-election team has used excerpts of the heavily-criticized remarks in other ads since video of the fund-raiser was leaked to left-leaning Mother Jones magazine and posted online last week.
“I think this is the first time we’re seeing a candidate saying, ‘Here’s 30 seconds of Mitt Romney telling you why you shouldn’t vote for him,’ ” said Benjamin Bates, a communications professor at Ohio University and an expert on political advertising.
Bates said the new Obama ad could be effective without the frills of most others because Romney’s remarks have been so heavily covered that many voters will recognize them instantly, without explanation.
The timing of the ad’s release is also strategic, serving as a reminder to voters of a story that has begun to fade, but is not yet old news.