AP News

AdWatch: Romney ad on economy short on specifics


NEW YORK (AP) — TITLE: "The Romney Plan"

LENGTH: 30 seconds

AIRING: General election battleground states.

KEY IMAGES: The ad opens with an image of Mitt Romney holding a document, with a crowd and red, white and blue bunting in the background and the title, "The Romney Plan for a Stronger Middle Class." The camera then moves back and the image fades into a tight close-up of the Republican presidential hopeful's face.

"Trade has to work for America," Romney says over images of cargo cranes at a seaport. "That means crack down on cheaters like China. It means open up new markets."

The ad then shows money being printed. "Next, got to balance the budget," Romney says. "You've got to cut the deficit. You've got to stop spending more money than we take in."

The ad ends with images of three women as Romney promises to "champion" small business. One woman is hanging an "Open" sign in a window, another is decorating a cake and third works at a design table.

A Romney administration would "have tax policies, regulations and health care policies that help small business," the candidate says, and putting that plan in place would produce 12 million new jobs in four years.

ANALYSIS: The Romney campaign rolled out the new ad Monday as part of its effort to describe in greater detail the policies the former Massachusetts governor would pursue as president. Recent polling suggests President Barack Obama has opened a clear lead over Romney both nationally and in key swing states, prompting critics to argue that Romney has spent too much time attacking the president's handling of the nation's economic woes and too little time outlining his own vision for what he would do differently.

The Romney ad also makes a subtle pitch to women voters, who polls show favor Obama by a wide margin. Romney's campaign has tried to make up some ground with women, stressing he would pursue economic policies that would benefit them. But while the ad shows images of working women, it does not address in any detail how his policies would help them.

The latest ad accomplishes part of its goal — Romney never mentions Obama.

Romney does try to co-opt some of the president's language in the ad, stressing his intent to improve the economy for the middle class. Polling shows most voters believe Romney's economic policies are designed to help higher-income families — a perception that has taken hold in large part because of the Obama campaign's own TV ads depicting Romney as a corporate raider from his days at the Bain Capital private equity firm.

The rest of the ad breaks no new ground.

Romney first made his pledge to create 12 million new jobs as president at the Republican National Convention last month, and he reiterates that promise here. He says little about how he would accomplish that goal besides unspecified new tax, regulation and health care policies.

Romney throughout the campaign has said that as president he would cut tax rates, reduce regulation and overturn the president's federal health care reform plan, often referred to as "Obamacare." But Romney has resisted saying what government programs he would eliminate in order to allow such a sweeping tax cut, and he said little about how he would reform the health system if the current law were repealed.

Romney has repeatedly accused China of cheating on trade policy — a charge he has leveled more forcefully in recent days in hopes of gaining traction in manufacturing states like Ohio. The new ad pledges Romney would crack down on China for trade violations as president, but does not say specifically what he would do.


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