WASHINGTON – TITLE: Obama's Promise
LENGTH: 60 seconds
AIRING: Network affiliates in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
KEY IMAGES: This ad from an independent group favoring presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney opens with a narrator saying, "Obama's agenda promised so much." Obama is then shown in campaign settings making a series of promises. In June 2008 in Raleigh, N.C., he says, "We must help the millions of homeowners who are facing foreclosure." To the sound of breaking glass, a narrator says, "Promise broken. One in five mortgages are still under water."
Next, Obama appears in a July 2008 clip saying, "If you are a family making less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes go up."
"Broken," says the narrator. "Obamacare raises 18 different taxes."
In June 2009 Obama tells the American Medical Association in Chicago, "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan." The narrator declares that promise broken, adding, "Millions could lose their health care coverage and could be forced into a government pool."
Finally, Obama is shown at a February 2009 event saying, "Today I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office." The narrator responds that "he hasn't even come close."
ANALYSIS: The ad is from Crossroads GPS, the sister group of American Crossroads, a super PAC that has promised to raise millions of dollars to defeat Obama. A 30-second abridged version of the ad is also airing. The two ads are the latest in the intensifying TV ad war focusing on 10 presidential battleground states about six months before the fall election. The $8 million dollar buy for the two spots is part of a monthlong $25 million ad campaign by Crossroads GPS.
Several GOP-leaning super PACs have been pouring millions of dollars into ads in key states to disparage Obama. Meanwhile Romney, the underfunded challenger to the record-shattering Democratic president, is focusing on raising money after a bruising primary season that depleted his campaign cash.
The 60-second ad attempts to use Obama's own words against him on taxes, his health care overhaul and the federal deficit.
Its claim that Obama has broken his promise to help millions of homeowners is bolstered by the fact that many homeowners are still struggling to hang onto their homes five years into the housing downturn. But there are signs of improvement. It took about three years after the housing market crashed for the delinquency rate on mortgages to climb to a peak of nearly 7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. The rate has been trending down since then.
The ad's claim that Obama broke his promise not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000 annually because his health care overhaul raises taxes also is on fairly firm ground. That law includes a 10 percent sales tax on indoor tanning and tax penalties starting in 2014 for people who don't get insurance. The overhaul imposes a variety of taxes and fees on the health care industry, which could be passed on to consumers. There's also a tax increase on distributions from tax-free medical accounts that are not used for medical expenses, and starting in 2018, a tax on generous health insurance benefits, which will indirectly affect consumers.
Obama's promise that if people like their health care plan, they will be able to keep it, is also questionable. Employers sponsor coverage for most families, and they'd be free to change their health plans in ways that workers may not like, or drop insurance altogether. Few are predicting a stampede by employers — especially major companies — to drop coverage. But some could avoid the hassle of dealing with insurance companies and take advantage of new financial assistance from the government their workers may qualify for.
And the ad's assertion that Obama has failed to cut the deficit he inherited by half is valid, as far as it goes. The national debt was $10.62 trillion when Obama became president and is now about $15.67 trillion — up by $5 trillion during his administration.
But there's more to it. Much of the debt increase is due to lower tax revenues from depressed corporate and individual incomes and high joblessness in the worst recession since the Great Depression. The recession officially began in December 2007, when George W. Bush was president and the national debt stood at just over $9 trillion. Financial bailouts, stimulus programs and auto rescue spending that started under GOP President George W. Bush and continued under Obama added to the debt increase.
AP writers Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Calvin Woodward contributed to this report.