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AdWatch: Obama pushes recovery in new ad

 

TITLE: "Go"

LENGTH: 60 seconds

AIRING: Broadcast and cable TV stations in Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, all key swing states.

KEY IMAGES: The year 2008 flashes across the screen followed by a series of grim images from that year: People waiting in line with pained looks, maps of homes being foreclosed and news footage from the stock market crash. The date 2008 stays in the corner of the screen as each image is shown, emphasizing that the nation's economic tumult started before President Barack Obama took office.

After a scene at Obama's inauguration, the images turn positive. The narrator notes the recovery of the auto industry and the raid that killed terrorist Osama bin Laden. As the narrator talks about Obama ending the Iraq war, a young girl rushes into the waiting arms of her father dressed in military fatigues. A graph showing job growth during Obama's tenure is shown as the narrator says, "Instead of losing jobs, we're creating them, over 4.2 million so far."

"We're not there yet. It's still too hard for too many," the narrator concludes. "But we're coming back, because America's greatness comes from a strong middle class. Because you don't quit, and neither does he."

ANALYSIS: Obama's ad recalls the positive "morning in America" spot run by Republican Ronald Reagan in his 1984 re-election bid. Like that ad, Obama's presents a narrative of U.S. recovery in an effort to woo swing voters. It reminds viewers just how grim things were in 2008, at the height of the financial meltdown, and presents Obama as someone who worked hard to improve the situation. But unlike Reagan, Obama doesn't have a clear-cut economic recovery to run on. Obama's ad also contains doom-and-gloom elements not present in Reagan's ad.

The largely positive ad is the largest yet from Obama's campaign in terms of states targeted. And its factual claims are true, as far as they go. The economic meltdown largely began under President George W. Bush, and under Obama, the economy has created more than 4.2 million jobs. But millions remain out of work and the unemployment rate is at 8.1 percent, a historically high level. Obama supported bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler and both companies have dramatically improved their standing. The president ordered a U.S. military raid that killed bin Laden and American troops have left Iraq.

Obama's ad presents these accomplishments as strong signs of a recovery and a rejuvenated nation. His GOP opponent, Mitt Romney, has built a campaign around the notion that Obama hasn't done enough to help the economy recover. Romney portrays the president as a feckless leader presiding over a sputtering recovery and not doing enough to key an American comeback. This ad represents Obama trying to blast his side of the story out to voters before Romney gets a chance to pick it apart.

Above all, though, the ad is designed to show Obama as a grounded optimist. In using clips of tea party rallies while a narrator talks about those who said "our best days were behind us" Obama is framing his opponents as the ones with a negative vision. After running a series of negative ads, including some responding to early attacks, this Obama message seeks to present him as aware of the nation's challenges but looking forward.

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Follow Henry C. Jackson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/hjacksonap