Mitt Romney greets supporters during a campaign event in St. Louis. Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images.
“As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney had the best jobs record in a decade,” a narrator tells potential voters in a new TV ad released Friday.
The claim goes right at the heart of President Obama’s attack on Romney’s tenure as governor from 2003-2007, which frequently cites the statistic that the state dropped to 47th in job creation while he was in charge.
As the Morning Line has noted, Romney’s jobs record can be presented in several different ways.
The Boston Globe wrote this week that under the most commonly accepted employment measure, “Massachusetts’ job growth ranking improved dramatically from Romney’s first year in office to his last, but its cumulative ranking during Romney’s four-year term was markedly lower than it was under his predecessor.”
The new spot lauds Romney for seeing the unemployment rate drop to 4.7 percent and for balancing every budget without raising taxes. The narrator says, “He did it by bringing parties together to cut through gridlock.”
Watch the ad here or below:
Team Romney did not disclose the size of the ad buy.
The president released his own spot in nine battleground states on Thursday. This one, which will also run on national cable, ignores Romney and instead focuses on Congress. It features Mr. Obama pushing his jobs plan in speeches across the country and says the wealthiest Americans should “pay a bit more.”
“Congress refuses to act,” the narrator says, while the screen directs voters to a new page on the campaign site showing the switchboard for people to call Capitol Hill.
Watch the ad here or below:
The president will underscore this message Friday morning with a statement to reporters at the White House.
Both ads come after the campaigns announced May fundraising figures. The president and the Democratic National Committee raised $60 million, which sounded like a big figure until Romney and the Republican National Committee made their announcement. Together they collected nearly $77 million in May, a haul the Obama campaign suggested was no surprise.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt told reporters on a conference call that the Democrats expected Romney’s primary campaign donors to re-up and max out donations to the general election. He insisted, “we anticipated [they] would beat us this month” and said Team Obama is focused on building its own donor base.
“That should serve as a clarion call to our supporters to give now and give again so not only can we be on the air we can build the largest grass roots campaign across the country,” he said.
Indeed, in a fundraising email to supporters with the subject line “We got beat,” campaign manager Jim Messina used the disparity to try and raise more cash.
“For the first time in this campaign, we got beat in fundraising,” he wrote. “We knew this moment would come when Romney secured the nomination.”
Messina wrote that the campaign knows “only 15 percent of Romney’s May totals came from people giving less than $250, compared to 98 percent in that category for us.” (Though Team Romney said in its release that 93 percent of its individual donors overall were from donors giving $250 or less.)
“More people giving a little bit is the only way to compete with a few people giving a lot,” Messina wrote. “So let’s fight like hell and win this thing.”
DUELING ECONOMIC VISIONS
Judy Woodruff interviewed Romney campaign co-chairman Tim Pawlenty on Thursday’s NewsHour. The former Minnesota governor forcefully outlined Romney’s economic positions and attacked the president’s policies.
Asked about Romney’s views of collective bargaining, Pawlenty gave an interesting answer. He said the presumptive GOP nominee believes “each state should take their own approach with respect to those issues with respect to state employees.” He said Romney supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in part because in that state a group “got carried away with what they received and what they asked.”
Watch the segment here or below:
DEBATING A BLIND TRUST
How blind is blind? That seems to be the question from the Obama campaign a day after the Associated Press reported that Romney plans to move his assets, estimated at some $250 million, into a federal blind trust if he is elected in November. Although Romney’s holdings are already in what qualifies as a blind trust in his home state of Massachusetts, according to the AP, a federal blind trust has much stricter oversight.
In a conference call on Thursday, Obama campaign officials questioned the “blindness” of Romney’s trust, pointing out that it is overseen by his longtime personal attorney. They also questioned the candidate’s decision not to transition to a federally qualified blind trust until after elected to the presidency.
These sort of debates rarely excite voters, but given that Team Obama is testing the messaging by talking with the press, it could end up making its way into the national bloodstream later this election season.
A Romney spokeswoman dismissed the critique as “another tired distraction.”
2012 LINE ITEMS
- First lady Michelle Obama stumped for her husband in the battleground of Virginia on Thursday. The NewsHour’s Alex Bruns and Cassie M. Chew were there. Read their report here.
- What do LL Cool J, Engelbert Humperdinck, former President Bill Clinton and Pawlenty have in common? Judy ties it all together in her weekly blog post.
- Less than 24 hours after Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, said his delegates would push “liberty” at the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla.,, his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., endorsed Romney on Fox’s Sean Hannity’s show. The younger Paul told Hannity, “my first choice had always been my father.” But he said he came around after talking with Romney and when his father acknowledged he cannot win the nomination.
- The New York Times on the nine battleground states seeing most of the television advertising.
- The Washington Post’s Katherine Boyle explores the Obama campaign’s links to the fashion industry.
- Uber-poll analyst Nate Silver released his first 2012 election forecast showing Mr. Obama slightly ahead of Romney.
- A Fox News poll released late Thursday showed the president and Romney in a dead heat.
- A group of students is urging the Commission on Presidential Debates to choose a female moderator to host one of the three debates this fall. The last time a woman was on that stage was 1992.
- Former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum has finally revealed his next political move: a new PAC called Patriot Voices. Its goal? To “mobilize one million conservatives around this country who are committed to promoting faith, family, freedom and opportunity,” while working to defeat Mr. Obama. The PAC will work with the pro-Santorum Red White and Blue Fund, a release noted. Santorum will give a series of speeches Friday to conservative audiences.
“I put cranberries on my Cheerios, like, every day,” said Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.). huff.to/KTgjZ6
— Seung Min Kim(@seungminkim) June 8, 2012
— edatpost (@edatpost) June 8, 2012
— Judy Woodruff (@JudyWoodruff) June 7, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
- The Public Interest Network has published a nifty timeline showing the evolution of the conservative movement.
- A new New York Times/CBS News poll looks at the popularity of the Supreme Court and finds just 44 percent of Americans approve of the job the high court is doing, while most people think politics will influence the pending decision on the health care reform law.
- The Washington Post’s Sandhya Somashekhar and Krissah Thompson write about public workers as fiscal and political targets, noting that government workers’ fights to hang on to their pensions and stable salaries are not over yet.
- Roll Call’s Kyle Trygstad gets a hold of a robocall Tea Party candidate Jamie Radtke is making to Virginia voters ahead of her quest to defeat likely Senate nominee George Allen in Tuesday’s primary.
- Fights over Congress’ piled up agenda continued to play out Thursday as members approach a planned recess.
- House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is shaking up his staff.
- Reuters’s Felix Salmon weighs in on the relevance of unions.
- Rep. Connie Mack has a strong lead in the GOP Senate primary in Florida, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling. The nominee will face Sen. Bill Nelson, who is favored for re-election in polls, in November.
- Democrats are hopeful after seeing a new poll of the North Dakota Senate race.
- Christina will be a panelist at a Personal Democracy Forum conference in New York on Monday.
Allie Morris and Alex Bruns contributed to this report.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
- President Obama will make a statement about the economy at 10:15 a.m. in the White House press briefing room. The president and Vice President Joe Biden will have lunch at the White House before Mr. Obama meets with the president of the Philippines in the Oval Office at 2 p.m. The president will honor the New York Giants for their Super Bowl championship at 2:50 p.m. and then attend a campaign fundraiser in Washington, D.C., at 5:10 p.m.
- Mitt Romney holds a roundtable in Council Bluffs, Iowa, at 11:30 a.m., followed by a 12:15 p.m. event. He then will appear with Sen. Orrin Hatch in Salt Lake City at 4:25 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.