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Obama Makes Appeal to Voters With ‘Kitchen Table’ Ad

President Obama; photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama greets supporters after speaking at a campaign rally Wednesday at Kent State University in Ohio. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.

The Morning Line

With the first debate right around the corner and the election 40 days away, the Obama campaign took to television Thursday with a new two-minute, direct-to-camera ad that tries to sum up why voters should re-elect the president to the White House.

“During the last weeks of this campaign, there’ll be debates, speeches, more ads,” President Obama says to open the spot. “But if I could sit down with you, in your living room or around the kitchen table, here’s what I’d say.”

First, he reminds voters of the situation facing the country when he took office, with job losses averaging 800,000 a month and the war in Iraq still ongoing.

Then, he draws a contrast with his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. “Gov. Romney believes that with even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations on Wall Street all of us will prosper. In other words, he’d double down on the same trickle down policies that led to the crisis in the first place,” Mr. Obama says.

From there he outlines his plan, which includes creating 1 million manufacturing jobs, increasing energy independence and reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade.

The ad is slated to run in seven battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Virginia. You can watch it here or below.

The spot drew swift criticism from the Romney campaign. “Four years ago, Barack Obama called it ‘unpatriotic’ to run up debts our children will have to pay. Yet in the time it takes his latest ad to run, our national debt grows by at least another $5 million,” Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul said in a statement. “With $16 trillion in debt, 23 million Americans struggling for work, and spending out of control, President Obama’s record is clear: we can’t afford another four years that look like the last four years.”

Romney took to the airwaves Wednesday with his own direct appeal to voters as part of a continued effort to repair the damage caused by the release of a secretly recorded video in which he said 47 percent of Americans are “dependent” on government and feel like “victims.”

“President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families. The difference is my policies will make things better for them,” Romney says in the minute-long ad.

You can watch that here or below.

Romney also talked up his Massachusetts health care plan in an interview with NBC News on Wednesday as another example proving he understands the concerns and needs of ordinary Americans.

“One hundred percent of the kids in our state had health insurance. I don’t think there’s anything that shows more empathy and care about the people of this country than that kind of record,” Romney said.

The decision to tout the Massachusetts reform is a departure from the primaries, when Romney largely ignored the policy, one of his signature achievements as governor, because of its similarities to the national overhaul. The move reflects the political reality that the Republican must attract independent voters who are less resistant to the president’s law than the GOP primary electorate.

Both candidates will campaign in Virginia on Thursday, a day after the two held competing events in another battleground, Ohio.


Young voters buoyed Mr. Obama to a win four years ago. But this year they’re far more uncertain on who should get their vote, Judy Woodruff reported on Wednesday’s NewsHour.

She visited swing state Ohio and found in every location, including at the Ohio State football game tailgate, the type of voters who are still weighing a number of factors as Election Day approaches. Many are concerned about unemployment and the job market and lean Republican on the economy, yet identify with more liberal social policy.

In fact, four in 10 young people are disappointed in the political system, one reason they aren’t sure what to do with their vote, Judy reported.

“It’s almost night and day,” John Della Volpe of Harvard’s Institute of Politics told Judy. “You know, whereas young people four years ago were among the most enthusiastic members of the electorate, we see major dissatisfaction with the process, with the campaign, and far less political engagement than we had seen four years before.”

That’s led to a significant chunk of the youth vote bloc — more than 10 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds, Della Volpe said — being undecided.

Judy also looked at non-college education youth voters and their economic struggle.

Watch Judy’s report here or below:

Judy’s Notebook this week takes an even deeper dive, exploring how younger voters feel about foreign policy.

She also chatted with political editor Christina Bellantoni about how the campaigns are reaching out to young voters. Watch that here.


  • On Wednesday’s NewsHour, Gwen Ifill took a look at early voting across the country with George Mason University professor Michael McDonald.

Watch the segment here or below:

  • The Democratic National Committee whacked Romney in a web video for using the phrase “those people.”
  • Ballots in Connecticut will give Romney top billing after the state Supreme Court made a decision on the issue Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. Mother Jones points out that that may leave absentee ballots sent overseas blank to be filled out by the voters.
  • The site that reworks national polling to factor in more Republicans is gaining attention and encouragement from the right, writes Buzzfeed.
  • The San Jose Mercury News finds eight things the president and Romney agree on, inluding NFL referees.
  • The Guardian and Real Clear Politics teamed up to make a handy interactive graphic that shows the breakdown of polling and predicted electoral votes between Mr. Obama and Romney.



  • Former Virginia GOP Sen. George Allen’s past is back to haunt him in new web videos released by a labor group — even the macaca moment, writes the New York Times.
  • Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., spoke about his views to legalize marijuana on Wednesday and admitted that a pot brownie once made him sleepy.
  • Roll Call scoops that the Democratic House Majority PAC has canceled ad buys in Miami, St. Louis and Boston.
  • The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health was Google-hacked Wednesday, writes Neda Semnani in Heard on the Hill.
  • Rep. Todd Akin is getting renewed Republican support for his bid to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill in Missouri to Democrats’ delight. The Hill and Roll Call have more, and Politico writes that Akin still has a chance.
  • Mother Jones raises questions about the immigration story told by Republican House candidate Mia Love, who is locked in a tight race versus Utah Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson. Love often talks about her Haitian immigrant parents on the campaign trail.
  • In the 2016 watch category, Rick Santorum’s American Future Fund has a statewide television ad up in Minnesota. It attacks the president. Watch.
  • Here’s someone else’s political gaffe for a change: British Prime Minister David Cameron struggled with a test about his own country during an appearance Wednesday on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Christina Bellantoni contributed to this report.


All events are listed in Eastern Time.

  • President Obama attends an event in Virginia Beach at 11:50 a.m.
  • Mitt Romney holds an event in Springfield, Va., at 11:50 a.m.
  • Ann Romney holds a rally in Reno, Nev., at 3 p.m.

All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:

For more political coverage, visit our politics page.

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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.

Follow the politics team on Twitter: @cbellantoni, @burlij, @elizsummers, @kpolantz, @indiefilmfan, @tiffanymullon, @dePeystah, @meenaganesan and @abbruns.

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