Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster, said the Republican spots were going after Obama's integrity but also allowed the re-election campaign to deflect the issue and turn the attention to the oil industry's support for Republicans.
"This is kind of like the art of war," Lake said. "You go for your enemy's strength. But if your enemy is smart, your enemy doesn't let you come into their strength."
The Koch group helped energize the Solyndra message last month when it poured $6 million into a minute-long ad in six states crucial to Obama's re-election map: Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. The ad accused Obama's campaign of raising money from Solyndra investors in exchange for the large federal loan, which couldn't prevent the bankruptcy and job losses.
Obama's campaign responded with its own ad — the first of his re-election campaign.
It told voters the president was under attack by "secretive oil billionaires" and defended his record on energy. The ad — at a cost of $2.5 million — ran in the same six states where Americans for Prosperity aired its ad.
Most notably, Obama's team used the spot to rebut the charges of political machinations, calling the president's record on ethics "unprecedented" and claiming that Obama "kept a campaign promise to toughen ethics rules."
American Crossroads, a super PAC connected to Republican strategist Karl Rove, weighed in recently as well. It paid about $500,000 to air a similar spot that called Solyndra a "big government fiasco." It raised the issue of whether Obama supporters benefited from billions in taxpayer money while laid-off workers were "forgotten — typical Washington."
The Koch brothers have said they intend to remain active this election cycle.
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