Conservatives Mount Expensive Air Assault On Obama

Inside the debate halls, the clash may be Republican versus Republican. But offstage, conservatives are mounting a unified and expensive air assault on the candidates’ common opponent: President Obama.

Nearly a year before Election Day, Republican presidential candidates and conservative action groups are already spending heavily on television advertising aimed at casting Mr. Obama as a failure.

Their tactics, the aggressive and sometimes misleading kind not typically used until much further along in a campaign season, have led to a spat with Democrats in what is shaping up to be the most costly election advertising war yet.

In an advertisement from Gov. Rick Perry of Texas that is now running on national cable television, Mr. Perry looks directly into the camera and declares: “Obama’s socialist policies are bankrupting America. We must stop him now.”

A new commercial from Mitt Romney that ran last week in New Hampshire displays a litany of depressing assertions about the economy. “Greatest jobs crisis since Great Depression. Record home foreclosures. Record national debt.” And it renders judgment on Mr. Obama’s presidency: “He promised he would fix the economy. He failed.”

In the past six months, conservative groups like those affiliated with Karl Rove and the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers, and, increasingly, Republican candidates themselves, have spent more than $13 million on advertisements carrying a negative message about Mr. Obama, according to an analysis by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising.

And it is only going to grow more intense.

“These dollar figures we’re talking about now are going to seem quaint in a few months,” said Kenneth M. Goldstein, president of the analysis group. “And they’ll seem really quaint in eight or nine months.”

$3 billion outlay?
Total television advertising spending on the 2012 election cycle could top $3 billion, up from $2.1 billion four years ago, Kantar estimates, fueled in part by the rise of independent groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns.

Candidates have previously tended to use their early advertising to introduce themselves to voters in gauzy terms. But this time around, Mr. Obama’s opponents are betting they can employ early attacks to define an image of him at the very beginning of the election season, before Democrats fully unleash the hundreds of millions of dollars being raised by the president. Their perceived advantage: airwaves not yet clogged with competing political messages.

But going negative so early also carries substantial risks. One is that many voters are not yet paying much attention to the campaign and will not do so until much closer to next November, meaning the advertising expenditures could be largely wasted. And negative messages now could alienate moderate and independent voters who blame excessive partisanship for Washington’s troubles in addressing the nation’s big problems.

Still, the Republican candidates seem eager to escalate the fight. Mr. Romney and Mr. Perry have both brushed off criticism that they deliberately distorted Mr. Obama’s words in their most recent commercials — controversies that only brought them additional attention.

Mr. Perry took remarks by the president about the need to do more to lure foreign investment out of context to suggest that Mr. Obama believes Americans are lazy. And Mr. Romney edited a video clip to put in Mr. Obama’s mouth a thought actually expressed by a supporter of Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential race, misleadingly suggesting that Mr. Obama believes he cannot win if he talks about the economy.

Democrats responding
The White House and its allies have hardly been shy about going after the Republicans. Democrats have already run advertisements in Arizona, Iowa and South Carolina against Mr. Romney, who, if he wins the nomination, will be the subject of an intense Democratic effort to show him as an unprincipled flip-flopper.

Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama group founded with the help of Bill Burton, a former White House spokesman, has spent almost a million dollars on television advertisements.

Although Mr. Obama is all but certain to have a substantial fund-raising advantage over his eventual Republican rival, Mr. Burton said that in the early going, when outside groups are playing a particularly prominent role in laying out the arguments on both sides, conservatives have a big lead over their liberal counterparts.

“This is asymmetric warfare,” he said, “but we’re pretty confident that we’ll be more effective and more strategic in how we spend our money.”

Crossroads GPS, a conservative advocacy group founded by Mr. Rove and other Republican strategists, has placed the biggest bet so far on negative messages. By its own count, it has spent about $20 million this year on political advertising. Much of it was broadcast during the debt-ceiling debate this summer, when it singled out members of Congress with advertisements that portrayed Democrats and Mr. Obama as fiscally irresponsible and unable to fix the economy.

In recent weeks, the group has taken on Mr. Obama and his economic agenda, spending $2.6 million on a commercial that criticizes his support for an upper-income tax increase and suggests a split on the issue between Mr. Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

It ends with a nod to the Republican line of attack that Democrats are inciting class warfare: “President Obama, it’s time to attack problems, not people.”

Crossroads has been accused of not portraying Mr. Clinton’s words accurately. While he did express doubt that raising taxes in a sluggish economy could be effective, he said he supported the general principle of higher taxes for the wealthy.

Focus on swing states
Many of the Crossroads advertisements have been running in swing states like Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania and have been timed to coincide with presidential trips.

“It creates a scenario where the president’s visit is greeted with a strong counterpoint to the argument he’s making,” said Jonathan Collegio, communications director for Crossroads GPS.

“And in battleground states where the issue framing is going to impact 2012, it’s critical to be making your point there early and often,” Mr. Collegio said. “There may be some value in advertising now that will be impossible to achieve toward the end of the campaign, when virtually all of the advertising on television and radio is political.”

Crossroads is hardly the only conservative group that is spending heavily on anti-Obama advertising, thanks in large part to court decisions that have allowed independent organizations to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. Americans for Prosperity, the organization founded with the backing of David H. and Charles G. Koch, is also playing a busy early role.

The Americans for Prosperity approach has been slightly different, portraying the Obama administration as not just fiscally imprudent but also corrupt. In its latest advertisement, a 60-second spot that has been running heavily in places across Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Virginia, an announcer repeatedly names Solyndra, the government-backed solar power company that went bankrupt and has become a focus of conservative anger over wasteful spending.

Then it suggests that Solyndra’s political ties to Democrats played a role in its winning a government loan guarantee: “Is this the change we’re supposed to believe in? Tell President Obama you shouldn’t use taxpayer dollars for political favors.”

An analysis from Kantar Media showed that in recent weeks Americans for Prosperity has already spent $2.4 million buying airtime for the advertisement, which has been broadcast nearly 4,000 times.

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  • by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 12:39 PM
    Everyhone should! He is a HORRIBLE PRESIDENT!
  • by T Maxx Location: G-vegas on Nov 28, 2011 at 12:09 AM
    Mr. Obama record speaks for itself. We cant spend our way out of this mess or tax the super rich either to get out of this mess. Cuts will have to be made across the board. And control spending and balance the budget, Many democrats fail to remember 6 out the 8 years Bush was in office democrats control house and senate. Now its enough blame to go around. I am sure only a few read Obama book bio dreams of my father, in his book he states he is most comfortable hanging out with socialist and marxist people. We wake up peolpe we are heading down the wrong path, more government control never works.
  • by Barlow Location: Winterville on Nov 27, 2011 at 06:45 PM
    If you liked the Great Recession, you'll love what the country is going to look like if the Republicans get the presidency back. Because they have the same goal as always. Make the rich, richer. It's that simple. And you can't say they weren't successful at that under Bush because the gap between the rich and the poor in America is greater than ever. If that is the America you want then vote for them.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 07:43 PM in reply to Barlow
      Time face up to the facts and live in the present. Barrack Obama's policies have failed. It is time for a new leader to be president in 2012.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 29, 2011 at 08:51 AM in reply to
        Actually...if you're going to face up to facts, you'd know that his policies have not failed, and for the policies that have 'failed'you can ususally find Republicans at fault for basically sabotaging the country and economy.
  • by Whazzup? Location: Ayden on Nov 27, 2011 at 12:41 PM
    All anyone has to do is compare the economy of today to the economy of January, 2009 and BHO makes his own best reason to vote for some one else. And look at the loss of status of America in the world. Any but Obama in 2012. Obama must go...............
    • reply
      by Same old Crooks on Nov 27, 2011 at 02:41 PM in reply to Whazzup?
      All anyone has to do is compare the the record number of Filibusters the GOP has put thru since 2009. What have they did to help stimulate the economy? They have attempted to block any and every bill that was designed to help the middle class. Now on the other hand, If it helped the wealthy, they were all for it.
      • reply
        by Nonsense on Nov 27, 2011 at 05:28 PM in reply to Same old Crooks
        Your post is nothing but nonsense, no surprise, that is all the democrats have done on this site, pure ignorance on the left!!
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Nov 29, 2011 at 08:56 AM in reply to Nonsense
          Nice tactic, how about actually addressing his point instead of taking a page out of the Republicans book on how to whine.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 02:47 PM in reply to Whazzup?
      Yea, the GOP have done an excellent job of controlling the Congress with an approval rating of 9%. Also a bang-up job of the Debt Ceiling and lowering the US credit rating, and most recently destroying the Super Committee with their Glover Norquist pledge(I didn't vote for Norquist, so why was he controlling them?). Do you think we need more of the Gop/Tea Clown show in 2012.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 05:46 PM in reply to
        There are just as many Democrats as there are Republicans representing the super committee. President Obama should have done a better job of motivating the members to take action.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Dec 1, 2011 at 03:54 AM in reply to
          Three cancel out Three any day!
  • by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 09:52 AM
    Sounds pretty liberal to me.. spending all that money on stuff most people never watch. lol
  • by BlackBeard Location: Greenville, NC on Nov 27, 2011 at 08:59 AM
    Is this news or should it be on the opinion page? You and most of the media seem to blur that line.
  • by ralphie Location: ahoskie on Nov 27, 2011 at 08:14 AM
    The elections of 2006 and 2008 prove that the first thing people need to be taught in school is how to recognize EVIL from a mile away.
    • reply
      by True on Nov 27, 2011 at 09:56 AM in reply to ralphie
      And Obama is PURE EVIL!!
      • reply
        by ntc on Nov 27, 2011 at 03:48 PM in reply to True
        You obviously have no conception of evil...
  • by Barlow Location: Winterville on Nov 27, 2011 at 07:50 AM
    Not to worry! The Democrats don't have to attack the Repugs in turn. The Republicans will do themselves in. Check out this video with Nancy and Snoot. Very cute!
    • reply
      by You Better Worry on Nov 27, 2011 at 09:58 AM in reply to Barlow
      The candidates ALWAYS go after each others policies in the primaries Barlow, you are sooooooooo boring. This happens every election on both sides of the isle. You better start worrying because after the primaries are over and the real issues come to the forefront, Obama is DONE, his record stands on its own, total failure in every category!!
      • reply
        by Barlow on Nov 27, 2011 at 11:56 AM in reply to You Better Worry
        You are right, this does happen everytime which is why the incumbent has the advantage. You would think some of the real issues would be talked about now but all the Repugs are trying to do is out tea party each other. $10 in cuts to $1 in spending and they won't agree to that? Who is supposed to build our bridges, roads and schools, the Koch brothers? You'll spend hundreds of billions on roads in Iraq and Afghanistan but none here? You want tax cuts for the rich but nothing for the working and middle class? You need to be glad the real issues aren't being talked about because it'll only expose more Republican hypocrisy. But Snoot the Repug King of Hypocrites is leading the polls so who would be better qualified to lead the party.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil co on Nov 27, 2011 at 02:06 PM in reply to Barlow
          Nice spin Barr low, only problem is the libterds will lose big times in 2012. Its the economy stupid and stuipid doen't understand what that means, however, you in your wisdom will help him out. Since Jimmy Carter, none of the libterds have been this bad and destroyed the economy as bad and I remember clearly. Now you might be proud of your failures, the rest of us chose to keep quiet...of course, we could use another Bush right Jed goning to run? Just thinking, we would vote for him too but it doesn't matter, its anybody but Obama now. Whine, dine and be merry...Obimbo is done. There will be hope for America, its just not with Obama. There will be change for America...its just going to be leadership.
        • reply
          by ntc on Nov 27, 2011 at 03:50 PM in reply to Barlow
          Wow Obama Snake Oil. You sure are stoopid.
      • reply
        by No, you had better be worried on Nov 27, 2011 at 11:59 AM in reply to You Better Worry
        Ummmm, you ever wonder why some of his policies have failed?? Make sure you're tuned in for the forefront of the national debates, then we can hear BOTH sides of the issues, not just the Fox News versions.
        • reply
          by FOX Viewer on Nov 27, 2011 at 03:10 PM in reply to No, you had better be worried
          FOX is the ONLY network that continually shows you both sides of the political isle. I think you need to do your research before your ignorant posting next time. That is the reason FOX has been awarded time and time again. You sheep are so comical, hahahahahaha!!
      • reply
        by ntc on Nov 27, 2011 at 03:49 PM in reply to You Better Worry
        False. Wrong. Incorrect there YouBetterWorry.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil co on Nov 28, 2011 at 03:54 PM in reply to ntc
          I think WITN should only allow posters who are older than 21 post. Man, it really shows with your post. What grade are you in? There is no way you can be an adult and drive a you bicycle broke?
    • reply
      by obamanot on Nov 27, 2011 at 09:58 AM in reply to Barlow
      bralow,can you name them new states pinnochiobama was talking about?Do you know the difference between corps and corpse?Good Grief!!!It is a never ending list and you know it.
  • by Greg Location: Ayden on Nov 27, 2011 at 07:49 AM
    Record long term unemployment, record long high gasoline prices, record debt, high grocery prices, socialized medicen,... enough said; a change of leadership in Washington is the only solution.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM in reply to Greg
      I agree, get rid of the current GOP and bring in some that can work for the country instead of a big companies and greed. Anyone who signs a pledge other than the one to the people of the Unites States should be tried for TREASON against the United States.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 04:12 PM in reply to
        We need a new president in 2012 that lead the country in a positive direction.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Nov 28, 2011 at 10:45 AM in reply to
        Really? Then what should we do with a President who has broken his oath of office more than once?
  • by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 07:10 AM
    That's whats wrong with politics today, too much influence from greedy donors. Put a cap on donations and give the power back to the people. Norquist and the Koch brothers names were not on any ballot I read, why are they allowed to put their influence and greed ahead of the people of the United States?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 11:50 AM in reply to
      G R E E D!!!!!
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil co on Nov 27, 2011 at 02:08 PM in reply to
        I agree, just look at Jeffrey Imelt, one of Obamas biggest contributors...nuff said.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 03:44 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
          Are you dense or what? Didn't you read the article? Does the name Charles and David Koch ring a bell?
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil co on Nov 28, 2011 at 03:56 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
          Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 06:44 PM ahh, who? What does that have to do with whale oil in Zimbawe?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Nov 27, 2011 at 12:03 PM in reply to
      There is already a cap on donations. Also why is it that you leave out SOROS from your list ? Why, because you are a hopeless one sided liberal. You are in the minority in this country and 2012 will prove it. Americans proved they weren't racist by electing an idiot in 2008. In 2012 they will NOT feel bad voting against obama.
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil co on Nov 27, 2011 at 02:07 PM in reply to
      Hmm, seems you didn't have a problem when Obama went over to the lobbies to help him get elected after McCain agreed with Obama not to do that. Is your memory that short?
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