President Obama's strategists say they want to run a positive campaign underscoring the administration's achievements, but they spent much of their time in a media conference call today attacking Republican candidate Mitt Romney.
David Axelrod, Obama's chief strategist, and Jim Messina, his campaign manager, told reporters that the campaign is now running an entirely positive 60-second television ad arguing that the economy is improving because of Obama's policies and that America is finally heading in the right direction at home and abroad. But they had plenty of negative comments about their GOP rival.
Axelrod said Romney favors policies that have failed in the past, such as cutting taxes for the rich and allowing Wall Street to write its own rules. Axelrod argued that Romney has few accomplishments of his own to talk about, either as a businessman or as governor of Massachusetts, so he is resorting to negative politics. The Obama adviser added that Romney and his allies already have spent tens of millions of dollars "tearing people down"' in the Republican primaries rather than "lifting people up."
Axelrod said he is expecting relentless attacks on Obama from Romney and from conservative groups allied with him, especially a political action committee co-founded by Karl Rove, the chief political strategist for President George W. Bush, and groups founded by oil-industry billionaires Charles and David Koch. Axelrod called them, "the Karl and Koch brothers contract killers over there in super PAC land, who are going to continue to pound away on behalf of Governor Romney."
Amanda Henneberg, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, responded that, "Americans are disappointed in President Obama's liberal policies that haven't made their lives any better. President Obama just hasn't lived up to his promises. It's harder to get a job, buy or sell a home, and those fortunate enough to have jobs often have less in their paychecks."
Axelrod announced that the new commercial will be part of a $25 million ad buy this month, which political professionals consider an unusually large amount with the election six months away.
The ad will run in nine swing states--Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, according to Obama aides.