The Obama and Romney campaigns have fresh cash for more new TV ads in the final stretch of the election cycle -- but while foreign policy could soon be entering the ad wars in light of recent events, for now the campaigns appear to be retreading old ground.
The post-convention ads so far seem to simply reinforce the sharpest points of each campaign to date.
For Mitt Romney, that means nine different ads tailored to voters in 16 battleground states. However, each begins the same way: a wide shot of a packed crowd during Romney’s acceptance speech last month in Florida, then the GOP presidential nominee saying, “The president can tell us it was somebody else’s fault, but he cannot tell us that we are better off than we were when he took office.”
The Obama ads, meanwhile, try to drill into the minds of voters the same line the president has delivered since the start of the campaign: Romney wants to extend tax breaks to “millionaires like himself” at the expense of the middle class.
“The middle class is carrying a heavy load in America,” says the narrator in a new Obama ad. “But Mitt Romney doesn’t get it.”
Team Obama also is using Romney’s pick of Rep. Paul Ryan as running mate for new ads that return to their line about Romney and other Republicans having “waged a war on women.”
“He’s made his choice, but what choices will women be left with?” the narrator in one ad asks as Romney shakes Ryan’s hand.
Elliott Curson, the Philadelphia media adviser whose series of 30-second TV ads helped Ronald Reagan clinch the 1980 GOP presidential nomination, said Tuesday the 2012 campaigns need only to “stick with what’s working.”
“The ads need to be sharp and in focus,” Curson told FoxNews.com. “Obama has one goal -- talk about Romney because he cannot talk about his record. And Romney needs to say the economy is in bad shape and that he can fix it.”
Curson also said the overarching strategy in the final ads is for each candidate to make the other “scare the voter more.”
While still focusing on the economy and tax policy, it's possible they may start to incorporate foreign policy more in the weeks ahead in the wake of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and ongoing demonstrations at other embassies. A new ad from the Republican-backed group American Crossroads released such a pointed video Friday, criticizing Obama for skipping intelligence briefings and for attending a Las Vegas campaign event on Tuesday "after a U.S. ambassador is murdered in the line of duty."
The nine new Romney ads are in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The Virginia ad begins like the others, with Romney at the convention posing the “better off” question, then diverges into the narrator warning that proposed defense cuts would eliminate 130,000 jobs in the state.
Each ad ends with the narrator promising new jobs for the state if Romney is elected – including 340,000 in Virginia and as many as 700,000 in Florida.
The ads came out in force this week, after the Romney campaign largely stayed off the airways during the Democratic National Convention.
Obama and his supporters have so far spent $188 million on TV commercials while Romney and the independent groups backing him spent $245 million through the end of August, according to the Associated Press.
Obama and Romney can now access tens of millions in campaign funds that the federal government keeps off limits until candidates officially accept their nominations and the general election begins.
Romney, who has the decided cash advantage despite Obama raising more money over the full election cycle, is also expected to spend some of that money on ads in upper Midwest states, where he had not initially been expected to be competitive.