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Anatomy of a campaign ad: 'Smoke'
Conservative super PAC American Crossroads attacks President Obama's economic record on Mitt Romney's behalf with a massive $9.3 million ad buy
 
Pro-Romney super PAC American Crossroads is arguing that Obama's anti-Bain attacks are a predictable smokescreen to hide his own weaknesses.
Pro-Romney super PAC American Crossroads is arguing that Obama's anti-Bain attacks are a predictable smokescreen to hide his own weaknesses.
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The ad creator: American Crossroads, the super PAC founded by Karl Rove

The ad: Crossroads calls President Obama's attacks on Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital "misleading, unfair, and untrue," a quote the spot attributes to Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post. Why is Obama doing this? the narrator asks. Because, says the ad, citing another Kessler piece, Obama needs to "blow smoke" to distract the public from his own pitiful economic record. He has "added $4 billion in new debt every single day. Unemployment is stuck above 8 percent, family incomes are falling." Since "he can't run on this record," the narrator continues, he's making the election about Romney's character.

The ad buy: The pro-Romney super PAC "is coming to Mitt Romney's defense to the tune of $9.3 million," says Luke Johnson at The Huffington Post. That amount "is more than Priorities Action USA, the main super PAC supporting Obama, raised in the entire month of June," says Chris Moody at Yahoo News. The ad will air for 11 days in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.

The strategy: The Crossroads spot is the first from the super PAC "to mention Mr. Romney explicitly" and come to his defense, say Danny Yadron and Colleen McCain Nelson at The Wall Street Journal. (Due to campaign finance laws, a heap of the money that Romney has raised so far in his campaign can't be used until he officially becomes the Republican nominee in August.) "This ad shows that the glut of [Obama's] attacks are misleading," says Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio, in a statement, "and one only runs ads like that when trying to hide a failed record...."

The reaction: "Clearly Romney and his allies think there's something to be gained by hammering on Obama's Bain Capital attacks," says Rachel Weiner at The Washington Post, "which may be having an effect in swing states." The Crossroads ad might also be signaling that the Right is concerned that "while the evidence is murky as to whether the attacks are having an effect, the GOPer has had a tough few weeks." Either way, it's fairly certain that "for Romney, the outside help is particularly welcome," says Matea Gold at The Los Angeles Times.

Watch the ad:

Sources: The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Times, National Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post (2, 3), Yahoo News

See more campaign ad analyses: 
-Crossroads GPS' "Excuses"
-Obama's "Revealed"
-Planned Parenthood's "Out of Touch"

 

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