Published May 30, 2012
Planned Parenthood, endorsing President Obama Wednesday morning, went after Mitt Romney out of the gate with a new ad buy in crucial swing states accusing the Republican candidate of undermining women's rights.
The ad campaign seeks to exploit the so-called gender gap between the two candidates. Polls consistently show Obama doing better among female voters than Romney -- though Romney typically does better among men.
The 30-second ad, a $1.4 million buy expected to run in Florida and Iowa, pulls no punches. It intersperses sound-bites from Romney with warnings about his policies.
"When Mitt Romney says, 'Planned Parenthood, we're gonna get rid of that,' Romney is saying he'll deny women the birth control and cancer screenings they depend on," the narrator says. "When Romney says, 'Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade? Yes,' he's saying he'll deny women the right to make their own medical decisions."
The quote from Romney saying he'd "get rid" of Planned Parenthood has drawn complaints from the Romney camp in the past when it's been used by opposition groups. In the original interview with a St. Louis TV station, Romney appeared to be saying he'd get rid of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and not the organization itself.
Regardless, the Planned Parenthood ad buy marks the latest escalation in a general election race that is quickly heating up. Romney clinched the nomination Tuesday night with a win in the Texas primary -- Obama, according to his campaign, called Romney shortly before noon on Wednesday to congratulate him.
With the latest ad buy, the Obama campaign can allow Planned Parenthood to wage somewhat of a proxy fight over women's issues and abortion, allowing the president's reelection team to focus on Romney's resume.
The Obama campaign is about to add a new line of attack to its anti-Romney message. After calling into question his tenure at Bain Capital, the campaign now plans to criticize his record as governor of Massachusetts. An Obama campaign official told Fox News this does not mean the campaign is abandoning its attacks over Bain.
The Romney campaign, meanwhile, is going after the Obama administration for its record of using taxpayer dollars to fund companies "that later failed."
No doubt meant as a response to the Bain aid, a new Romney web video asks voters: "President Obama is spending your tax dollars to create jobs. How's he doing?"
It goes on to cite Solyndra, the solar-panel firm that went bankrupt after receiving a $535 million taxpayer-backed loan guarantee. But the video notes "that's not even half the story," and cites other Energy Department-backed loans and grants to firms that later lost money and cut workers.
Outside groups on both sides will continue to pour millions into the presidential campaign. According to Politico, conservative super PACs and other organizations are planning to spend roughly $1 billion on the White House and congressional races.