AdWatch: Romney ads take rosy view on his promises

TITLE: First 100 Days

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: In Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Iowa, all crucial states in the November presidential election.

KEY IMAGES: Four similar ads, each tailored for a particular state, tout what candidate Mitt Romney hopes to accomplish during his first 100 days if he's elected president. They show Iowa farmland and shots of downtown Richmond, Charlotte and Cleveland. The Ohio ad shows welders and scenes of Chinese containerized cargo, while the other ads show office workers. The imagery highlights his campaign's themes of fixing the economy and easing the burdens of big government.

SCRIPT: In each ad, upbeat music plays in the background as a male narrator asks "President Romney's first 100 days, what will they mean for" the state?

In the Virginia version, the narrator continues: "Day one, President Romney moves to repeal Obamacare and attacks the deficit, starting with $20 billion in savings. By day 100, President Romney reverses President Obama's offshore drilling ban, creating thousands of new jobs for Virginia. President Romney's first 100 days. For the people of Virginia they mean new life, new energy for the state."

The Iowa and North Carolina ads also have the line about repealing President Barack Obama's heath care overhaul, but not the one aimed at Ohio. That ad says Romney on day one of his presidency "stands up to China, demands a level playing field for our businesses and workers" and that by day 100 he "repeals regulations that are strangling our energy industry and costing us jobs."

The Iowa ad says Romney on day one "attacks the deficit" and by day 100 he is "working towards" a balanced budget.

The North Carolina ad says Romney on day one "moves to cut taxes that kill jobs" and by day 100 he'd bring "new certainty to our economy and the promise of new banking and high-tech jobs."

ANALYSIS: These positive ads highlight local issues important to each state. They build on earlier ads the likely Republican presidential nominee ran touting what he'd do on day one as president. Many voters don't know much about Romney and he's trying to sketch a positive image of himself.

Romney's tough talk on China and trade is geared to industrial Ohio. Banking and high-tech jobs are vital to North Carolina's economy. Pursuing a balanced budget plays to Iowans' fiscal concerns. In Virginia, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell has pushed hard for offshore oil and gas exploration.

But the ads oversimplify just how tough these goals are. For example, Congress controls federal spending, and any president must deal with lawmakers to cut the federal deficit. A lot depends on which party controls the House and Senate after the November elections.

Likewise, Romney can't do away with the health care overhaul on his own. The ads' wording "moves to repeal Obamacare" gives him wiggle room.

Romney's tough talk on China and trade may be hard to reconcile with what he said about trade protectionism in his 2010 book, "No Apology." In that book, he criticized Obama for enforcing trade laws against China on tires.

Romney's vow to erase government regulations "costing us jobs" may be harder than he makes it sound. Labor Department data show that few companies where large layoffs occur say government regulation was the reason.

There's little evidence that the regulatory burden is any worse now than in the past or that it is costing significant numbers of jobs. Most economists believe there is a simpler explanation: Companies aren't hiring because there isn't enough consumer demand.