Boston, MA -- Romney aides invited reporters to their campaign headquarters for a background briefing on the Republican presidential candidate's upcoming bus tour which will roll through the battleground states of Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio over the next four days.
"In 2008 these states were all won by Obama but this time around his support has eroded considerably," said Senior Advisor Eric Fehrnstrom. "Even though his team is pouring tons of resources into these states, the bad economy continues to hang over Obama like a dark cloud."
The briefing however quickly turned into an intense assault on what the Romney team sees as distortions coming from President Obama.
"You've all witnessed the Obama campaign's desperate tactics. They've gone from what started as petty distortions and untruths to unbelievable exaggerations that diminish the office of the president and insult the American people," said Fehrnstrom. "I don't think a world champion limbo dancer could get any lower than the Obama campaign right now. In the process Obama has squandered what has always been one of his key attributes, that he was a different kind of politician who was going to take us to a better place. Obama said he was going to change the tone in Washington, and he has done that. He's taken us from bad to worse."
Fehrnstrom was referring to a SuperPAC advertisement that suggests Romney was responsible for a woman's death. The ad features a steelworker who lost his health insurance when he was laid off and whose wife was later diagnosed with end-stage cancer. Romney was at Bain when it invested in the steel firm, but not when the man was laid off or when his wife died.
"When you start running ads accusing your opponent of killing people, then you have lost your credibility," Fehrnstrom said.
Romney aides also contend that negative advertising in this cycle is off the charts and therefore makes this race unlike any previous presidential election. According to the Romney campaign the states on this bus tour are awash in negative advertising with tens of millions being spent on television advertising, most of it negative, since early April. $68 million in Virginia, $50 million in North Carolina, $91 million in Ohio and $95 million in Florida.
In those four states more money was spent on advertising in during the month of July 2012 than was spent in the final month of campaigning before the 2008 presidential election.
When broken down to battleground cities the numbers are even more startling. Between April 10 and August 2 Cleveland, Ohio has seen 19,383 ads on the presidential election. Another 14,853 have run in Richmond, Virginia and 14,153 in Columbus, Ohio.
"It's much more difficult to break through in this campaign," said another Romney aide on background, referring to the candidate's recently sagging poll numbers. "The glut of advertising and all the negativity makes it more challenging."