Election Update: Twitter Bomb, Negativity, and Super PAC Spending

unPAC the 2012 Olympics fights to restore American unity by asking NBC not to run special interest political ads, including those from super PACs, during the 2012 Olympic Broadcast. http://www.unpac.org/olympics/[/caption]

Libertarian Gary Johnson made national headlines yesterday after supporters took to Twitter to protest CNN for excluding him from polling practices. Because of his exclusion, they argue, Johnson has been shut out of the Republican presidential debates, greatly reducing his visibility. Twitter users spent the day tweeting, retweeting, and mentioning the cable news network with messages and complaints about the their dissatisfaction with polling. Supporters managed to get the hashtag #BlackoutCNN trending in three major U.S. cities: Cleveland, OH, Los Angeles, CA, and Portland, OR.

As the election continues, the two-term governor of New Mexico continues to rely on social media, online visibility, and his supporters to remind voters that this is not a two-man race. In a recent Miami Herald article, Johnson differentiates himself from his opponents. Socially liberal and fiscally conservative, the Libertarian candidate says of the two parties, “I don’t think either major party embraces those values.” He continues, “I’m running in the same political category as most people in this country.”

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, however, have been focusing their attacks on each other with a controversial argument over the length of Romney’s involvement at Bain Capital. After government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital suggested that Romney remained in control for three years longer than he reported, the Obama team pounced on the chance to frame Romney and define him early in the campaign. President Obama responded to these documents by suggesting that either Mitt Romney had lied about his position at Bain, or misrepresented “his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony.”

Despite Romney’s absolute denial and outrage, the candidate still gave six interviews over the weekend defending himself against the attacks, proving some discomfort with Obama’s strategy.

While Republicans continue to call on Obama for an apology, the President said in an interview Monday:

“No, we won’t be apologizing. Sometimes these games are played during political campaigns. Understand what the issues are here: Mr Romney claims he’s Mr. Fix-it for the economy because of his business experience, so I think voters entirely legitimately want to know what is exactly his business experience.”

As November nears, the presidential election has become increasingly ugly, with Romney and Obama on track to fuel one of the most negative presidential campaigns in recent history. And from the looks of a recent $7.2 billion ad buy from Restore our Future, these attacks will likely carry into the London Olympics. As reported by Politico, the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC purchased airtime in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin – from July 31 to August 9.

In an attempt to stop these ads from infiltrating the Olympic Games, unPAC has launched an online petition asking people to take part in sending a message to Steven Burke, CEO and President of NBC Universal. On their website, they argue:

The Games are about national unity and fair competition; special interest negative ads are about division, half-truths, and unfair play. These ads have no place during the Olympics.

Will negative campaign ads during the Olympic games sever national unity?