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Presidential Campaign Ads of 2012: The Score So Far

by Michael Higham, published


Another week of the presidential campaign cycle, another wave of campaign ads hitting airwaves. The media teams of Obama for America and Romney for President have traded barbs all summer long, with no end in sight. Claims of dishonesty and distorting records are abound.

The following is a compilation of the major campaign ads made by the Romney and Obama camps, so far. Most ads last around 30 seconds to a minute, and tend to exploit what we do not know. If we really want to dig deeper into the meaning of the ads, we should investigate the claims made. The numbers and statistics used should be looked into further to see whether the claims fact-based/research-based, or just speculation from partisan sources. It also important to note which videos are sponsored by the official campaign and the Super-PACs, as well as the target audience. This does not scratch the surface on the amount of videos made from each campaign, but we'd like to hear from you. Which ads are the most effective? Which ads are annoying?

Title: Be Not Afraid

Campaign: Romney For President

Premise: The Romney campaign claims that President Obama is waging a war on religion through the Affordable Care Act. The Act gives free access to contraception from healthcare providers. The argument is that it infringes on religious faith for those who do not believe in contraception.

Airing: Tentative

Title: Firms

Campaign: Obama For America

Premise: The Obama campaign targets Candidate Romney's work at Bain Capital, claiming he was a job-killer not a job creator. The ad features Romney singing "America, the Beautiful" in attempt to mock his stance for bettering the U.S.

Airing: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. We've also seen this aired in California.

Title: Understands

Campaign: Priorities USA Action

Premise: At Bain Capital, Romney closed down a Steel plant and the ad uses the anecdote of Joe Soptic. The ad is stirring controversy for linking Romney to the death of Soptic's wife since the family could not access health care in time after being laid off. President Obama is not directly responsible for the ad's content since Priorities USA Action is a Super-PAC. It has yet to air on television, but is viewable online.

Airing: Tentative

Title: Olympics

Campaign: Restore Our Future

Premise: A few notable Olympic athletes are featured in the video talking about how Romney saved the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The ad highlights his ability to manage expenses and security.

Airing: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Title: Doing Fine

Campaign: Restore Our Future, Romney For President.

Premise: An attack on President Obama's record during his first term in office by focusing on unemployment problems. The ad features a snippet of the President saying, "the private sector is doing fine," making the connection that he is out of touch with the reality of unemployment. There are two versions of the ad, one from the pro-Romney Super-PAC and one from the official campaign, both feature the same premise.

Airing: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Title: Asking For Apologies While Launching Attacks

Campaign: Obama For America/The Truth Team

Premise: This internet based ad shows Romney asking for apologies through his campaign, including his CNN interview regarding the criticism of Bain Capital. The idea is to depict Romney as a candidate without solutions. The Truth Team is part of the official Obama campaign coming from grassroots activism.

Airing: Online-only

Title: Worried

Campaign: Obama For America

Premise: The ad connects Romney's plan as president to the years of the Bush Administration without being explicit. Obama acknowledges taxes on the wealthy and claims deficit reduction in his plan.

Airing: Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Florida.

Title: Understand

Campaign: Romney For President

Premise: The ad claims that President Obama's bailout of General Motors in 2009 cost the jobs of Ohio car dealerships. Cutting back on automotive production put dealerships out of work.

Airing: Ohio, though the video shows footage of Oklahoma.

The official Romney campaign also has a series of videos targeting Texas, Virginia, Ohio, and Nevada. The series is titled "These Hands" and depict stories from small business of each state that support Mitt Romney.

A more comical campaign ad can be found here, titled "Romney's Gold" made by Priorities USA Action. It depicts Romney as an Olympic competitor and claims that he jumps through financial loops to maximize his personal gain.

Many more videos sponsored by each campaign, and their Super PAC backers, can be found here:

Priorities USA Action

Restore Our Future

Obama For America

Romney For President 

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