The candidate: Mitt Romney
The ad: In a sequel of sorts to a previous ad, "Day One," Romney makes promises about the changes he'll make starting on the very first day of his presidency. In "A Better Day" (watch it below), the off-screen narrator asks, "What would be different about a Romney presidency?" as footage of the GOP candidate cheerfully meeting voters appears, underscored by peppily triumphant music. The 30-second spot repeats Romney's vows to focus on the economy and deficit, create jobs, promote a better energy policy, and challenge China on trade issues. The narrator concludes with the idea that it's more than policy that would make a Romney presidency worthwhile — "it's the feeling we'll have that our country's back — back on the right track."
The ad buy: The Romney campaign did not announce how much it spent on the ad, though CNN reports that Romney dished out $2 million for airtime in swing states Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia — making this one of the campaign's largest ad buys so far.
The strategy: With this hopeful and somewhat-vague spot, says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, the Romney camp is attempting "to get swing voters to cast their votes almost entirely as an expression of frustration and disillusionment with the economic status quo, and by extension with Obama himself, without thinking too hard about the true nature of the alternative Romney is offering."
The reaction: The Romney ad "has no substance, but it's a nice break from talk about Bain Capital and Solyndra," says Eddie Scarry at The Blaze. Bottom line: "Fairly lame, pleasant enough." It's actually a very "effective ad," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. And give Romney credit for staying positive, and for giving voters at least a cursory sense of his agenda. President Obama, on the other hand, is far more focused on gotcha soundbites than substantive policy. But if we want to talk substance, says Glenn Kessler at The Washington Post, then let's be clear: When you compare Romney's history as a job creator (as governor of Massachusetts) to President Obama's, "neither man has a great record."
The fallout: That the upbeat Romney ad came the same day as the dismal May jobs report "was a sobering reminder [for Obama] that his stewardship of a gradual recovery from the deepest recession since the Great Depression presents a tenuous argument for his re-election," says Jim Kuhnhenn of The Associated Press. Perhaps predictably, the Obama campaign tried to temper the Romney onslaught with a reminder that "Romney Economics actually resulted in slower job creation, more debt, bigger government, and cuts to programs essential to the middle class." Look for this volleyball game to continue over the coming weeks, says Kessler, as "it's no secret why both [candidates] prefer to talk about their opponent's jobs record [rather] than their own."