The candidate: President Obama
The ad: The new spot (watch it below) touts "the president's job-creation record — 'almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months,' a number you're certain to hear over and over again — and denounces Congress for not passing his various jobs proposals," says The Orlando Sentinel. Images of American workers flash onscreen, punctuating a stump speech in which Obama, backed by inspirational music, talks up how America has fought back from "the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression." But "we're still not creating [jobs] as fast as we want," the president says. Why? Because "Congress refuses to act," the off-screen narrator says, with lawmakers balking at the prospect of asking the "wealthiest Americans to pay a little more" to help the economy get back on its feet.
The ad buy: The ad is airing in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. It will begin playing on national cable this week. The campaign hasn't revealed a dollar amount for the ad buy.
The strategy: After a disappointing jobs report revealed that a paltry 69,000 jobs were added to the economy last month, President Obama seems to be balancing "a message of progress... with an acknowledgement that the pace of job creation is not 'as fast as we want,'" says Michael A. Memoli at the Los Angeles Times. Indeed, the ad "makes no mention of the Republican nominee, or even the fact that there's an election this fall." But there is a Republican nominee, says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, "and he has debuted a new message of late, telling Americans that Obama doesn't have any jobs plan." But Obama "does in fact have a jobs plan," and this ad reminds voters that Congress is blocking it.
The reaction: Romney's recent fundraising success and "Obama's new ad signal a new stage in the campaign as a resurgent Romney capitalizes on his emergence as the GOP's standard-bearer, and as Obama is forced to confront the political implications of a weak economic recovery," says CBS News. Clearly, "Obama has been forced onto the defensive." And if unemployment keeps getting worse this summer, says Alexander Burns at Politico, "it's difficult to see how any political message or ad campaign could fully blunt the negative impact for Obama." Hold on, this ad could be effective, says Sargent. It gets Obama's point across, "without tainting it with an overtly partisan message."
The fallout: During a press conference on Friday, Obama tried to once again hammer his foil of a do-nothing Congress — but awkwardly stuck his foot in his mouth by saying that "the private sector is doing fine." Republicans pounced, and the Romney campaign released a web video seizing on the president's regrettable phrase, calling Obama "out of touch."