DENVER–The Romney presidential campaign flexed its financial muscle Friday with the release of a national ad blitz, including two Colorado-themed spots taking aim at President Obama’s record on the economy and defense.
The ad campaign targets eight swing states with 15 state-specific messages. In addition to Colorado, the commercials are being aired in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, reportedly at a cost of $4.5 million.
The 30-second spots were unveiled at press briefings Friday in Denver and Colorado Springs. At the Denver event, Rep. Cory Gardner and Hercules Industries president Bill Newland discussed the troubles faced by businesses as a result of excessive government regulations and the choppy economic climate.
“We are struggling to keep the number of hours that our employees work,” said Newland. “We can’t grow the business because we don’t have the demand for products. We struggle to keep the employee base that we have as it is without further erosion. I don’t think it’s turning around.”
The Obama reelection effort absorbed a blow Friday in the form of a disappointing jobless report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed 96,000 jobs created in August, about 30,000 fewer than expected.
At the same time, the unemployment rate fell from 8.3% to 8.1%, largely because about 400,000 people stopped searching for work and thus are no longer listed as jobless.
“That’s the biggest fact-check for President Obama’s past four years,” said Gardner. “The fact is, for everyone person who got a job in this report, three people quit looking for work. The fact is, this president’s cop-outs simply aren’t good enough.”
The White House released a statement saying that the report “provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.”
“It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007,” said Alan Krueger, chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors.
The Democratic National Committee sent out a tweet highlighting Krueger’s statement that the economy has added private-sector jobs for 30 straight months, for a total of 4.6 million jobs.
Even so, Colorado Republicans were quick to trumpet the report as evidence that the president’s policies are sinking the economy.
“We’ve now experienced 43 consecutive months of unemployment above 8% and we’re no better off than we were four years ago,” said Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call in a statement. “Rhetoric is not leadership and words don’t equal action. Obama has failed to live up to his ‘one-term proposition,’ and refuses to hold himself accountable for his failed economic policies.”
Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton called on the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, to take up some of the 30-plus economic-recovery bills passed this year by the Republican-led House.
“We continue to see the weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression, with 14.7% of Americans unemployed, having stopped searching for work, or unable to find full-time employment,” said Tipton in a statement. “We have tried the President’s economic policy, and it’s not working.”
In Colorado Springs, the Romney campaign touted a defense-themed spot saying Obama’s “defense cuts will weaken national security and threaten 20,000 jobs.” The ad was introduced by two military veterans, Don Bendell of Army Special Forces and state Rep. Bob Gardner of the Air Force.
Both spots start out showing Romney speaking at last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa, and both say that his economic plan will result in more than 200,000 new jobs for Colorado.
“This president can ask us to be patient, this president can tell us it was someone else’s fault,” says Romney in the commercial. “What this president cannot tell us is that you’re better off today than when he took office.”
Romney reacted to the jobless report by calling it the “hangover” coming after the Democratic National Convention, which ended Thursday with the president’s nomination acceptance speech.
“If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover,” said Romney in a statement. “For every net new job created, nearly four Americans gave up looking for work entirely.”
Obama is expected to campaign Thursday in Colorado, with details to be announced next week.
Both 30 second spots can be viewed below.