"He tried, you tried. It's OK to make a change," the ad says.
Republicans say the ad fares well especially with women, who are among the president's strongest constituencies and whom the Obama campaign is counting on to come out for him in large numbers.
"They like him personally, but they don't feel he's done the job," RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said. Instead of taking an us-against-them tone, he said, the message is, "We're all in this together."
Crossroads GPS ran an ad earlier this year that was noteworthy for its direct pitch to women. The ad featured a single mother worrying about her own retirement and the employment prospects for her two children.
"I supported President Obama because he spoke so beautifully. He promised change, but things changed for the worse," the woman said.
Mike McKenna, a Republican who runs an independent polling and strategy firm, told colleagues months ago that Republicans needed to help disappointed voters get over the hurdle of acknowledging that their 2008 support for Obama was a well-intentioned mistake.
McKenna said he and other researchers kept hearing the same thing from voters in focus groups. "They took a chance" with Obama in 2008, he said, "and it was a good chance."
"They just need some permission to say it didn't work out," McKenna said. Ads that made Obama out to be an idiot, he said, "implied you're an idiot for voting for him."
Associated Press writer Charles Babington in Washington contributed to this report.
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