Political Musings May 18, 2012: Mitt Romney Shifts to the General Election Launching First Ad Envisioning President Romney’s “Day One” – Sharp Contrast to President Obama’s “Character Assassination”

CAMPAIGN 2012

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger published by Facts on File, Inc. in  2011.

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

Day One

Mitt Romney’s campaign shifted their focus to the general election airing on Friday the first TV ad in the season. Entitled “Day One” the positive ad listed what Romney would do for the economy on his first day as President. The ad was sent as an email to Romney supporters and aired in battleground states; Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa and in Virginia. The ad was also airing in Spanish as “Dia Uno” to reach Hispanic voters, who are critical of Romney’s tough immigration stance.

The 30 second ad delineates economic policies important to conservatives including the Keystone XL pipeline, tax cuts, and job creation and also repealing the Obamacare health plan. The ad’s imagery consists of stills depicting Romney speaking to supporters alternating with workers in construction gear to visually represent the main economic themes and promised policies.

Entirely narrated, the ad begins with asking “What would a Romney presidency be like?” The narrator continues answering “Day one, President Romney immediately approves the Keystone Pipeline, creating thousands of jobs that Obama blocked. President Romney introduces tax cuts and reforms that reward job creators, not punish them. President Romney issues order to begin replacing ObamaCare with common sense health care reform. That’s what a Romney presidency will be like.”

On Thursday, Romney spoke to reporters in Jacksonville, Florida announcing the ad’s format; “I certainly hope that you’ll get a chance to see our first ad — that will come up in a couple of days. It will be a positive ad about the things that I will do if I am president.” The Romney campaign decided to use a positive tone in the ad to introduce Romney who is still largely unknown to voters before the continued on slot of negative ads from the Obama campaign.

The Obama campaign already aired the “Steel” ad earlier in the week criticizing Romney’s economic record while heading the private equity firm Bain Capital. The two minute ad zoomed in on the closing and subsequent ob losses at the Missouri GST Steel plant, which was acquired when Romney headed Bain.

The ad depicted Romney as a job killing ‘vampire’, and included interviews with plant workers that lost their jobs from the closure such as 31-year steelworker Jack Cobb who said “It was like a vampire. They came in and sucked the life out of us,” giving Romney the dramatic label. Romney however, no longer headed Bain Capital when the company closed the steel plant.

The Romney campaign wanted their first ad of the general election to be a sharp contrast to the rhetoric Obama was using in his ads. Continuing to unveil the ad’s theme to reporters in Florida, Romney stated, “I just think that we are wiser to talk about the issues of the day, what we do to get America working again, we talk about our respective records, and so with that, I certainly hope you get a chance to see our first ad. That will come up…. It’s contrasting with the president’s ad, which came out, again, as a character assassination ad.”

Although Romney has not yet attained the 1,144 delegates to officially clinch the Republican Presidential nomination he is considered the presumptive nominee ever since winning the Wisconsin primary. Shortly thereafter on April 10, Romney’s main competitor former Pennsylvania Senator & conservative favorite Rick Santorum suspended his bid for the nomination.

This past Tuesday, May 14, the last remaining candidate in the race for the Republican nomination Texas Rep. Ron Paul announced that he is suspending all active campaigning for upcoming primary contests, but will continue amassing delegates for a presence at the Republican Convention.

All Romney’s former competitors for the Republican nomination have endorsed him, except for Ron Paul. Late in the evening on May 7, Rick Santorum sent out an email to supporters which included a short endorsement for Romney buried in the 13th paragraph.

President Obama has also formally commenced his reelection bid and general election campaigning. Two weeks ago, on May 5, Obama had two rallies in Columbus, Ohio, and Richmond, Virginia, where he gave speeches announcing the start of his campaign with twin themes of defending his record and contrasting himself to Republican candidate Romney, and featured a bold message; “We will finish what we started. We’re still fired up. We’re still ready to go.” This is just the start of the season of sharp contrasting and nasty ads that will no doubt air in the next couple of months leading to Election Day.

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