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Outside group targets Obama in $25 million ad campaign

By Jeremy W. Peters

New York Times


ORLANDO, Fla. >> Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party organization backed by the Koch brothers, is set to begin a $25 million advertising assault aimed at President Barack Obama, its largest effort to date.

The ad is the clear evidence of how the financial muscle of a few wealthy donors is having a powerful impact on the airwaves in key swing states as they use super PACs and other groups not officially linked to the campaigns to make multimillion-dollar ad purchases as the general election campaign heats up. In addition to the Koch brothers, Mitt Romney's presidential bid is also being helped by financial clout of the casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has already given tens of millions of dollars to super PACs supporting Republican candidates this election cycle.

Americans for Prosperity said the first of several ads would begin Wednesday in 11 battleground states, including here in Florida. The campaign will last for three weeks — extending through Labor Day weekend — and includes Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The first ad, titled "President Obama: A One-Term Proposition," hits the president over the rising national debt — an issue that conservative political groups like Americans for Prosperity and American Crossroads, which is run with the help of Karl Rove, believe is particularly powerful with swing voters in this election.

The commercial focuses on an excerpt from an interview Obama gave to NBC News at the beginning of his term in which he pledged to cut the debt. It was during that interview that he uttered the phrase that his rivals now regularly use against him: "I will be held accountable."

The Obama administration has faulted the Republicans as failing to reach a budget deal to help close the deficit, saying the party's opposition to raising revenues through higher taxes and by closing loopholes is the main reason more progress has not been made on this front. Democrats also note that when Obama came into office, he inherited a growing budget deficit from President George W. Bush.

The ad takes a relatively straightforward approach, avoiding hyperbole or over-the-top negativity. An image of the national debt clock appears on screen for much of the ad, ticking ever higher. It ends with Obama's words, "If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition."

The ad goes a step further than Americans for Prosperity's previous knocks against the president. Those ads focused on specific policies of the Obama administration like energy, an important distinction under campaign finance rules. This new ad campaign will take aim directly at the president, forgoing the issue ad approach but perhaps opening the group up to greater scrutiny.

The group is a tax-exempt organization whose ads must be primarily issues-focused, although the efforts of such groups have faced increasing scrutiny by advocacy organizations who accuse them of treading into overtly political activities.

This campaign is the first time the group has expressly advocated for Obama's defeat in an ad.

"We don't take this lightly," said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. "We've always stayed away from express advocacy. But given the president's disastrous record, we felt this was necessary."

Subsequent ads in this campaign will feature the personal stories of Americans who have been hit hard by the economic collapse, Phillips added.

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OldDiver wrote:
Ah, Yes. Oil Billionaire Koch Brothers. The money behind the Tea Party. The money behind building more freeways, The money behind the anti-rail groups around the country. The money behind the anti-rail movement on Oahu. Billions can buy you a lot.
on August 7,2012 | 10:53AM
kainalu wrote:
The entire concept of the Tea Party, once pushed as representing the working-class, has been a front for the Koch Brothers' agenda all along. Did they snooker a ton of working-class fools or what? Hang on tight for this one. We're sure to hear and see challenges to Obama's ethnicity, his birth place, his religion, his right to even exist.
on August 7,2012 | 01:14PM
Paulh808 wrote:
Yeah, wanting lower taxes, what fools!
on August 7,2012 | 08:05PM
AhiPoke wrote:
So let us understand this article better. It implies, by omission, that Obama backers aren't spending $M's to "assault" Romney. Good grief.
on August 7,2012 | 01:51PM
hawaiikone wrote:
on August 7,2012 | 03:10PM
Graham wrote:
Do you expect the media (especially the SA) to be impartial and fair? Welcome to the real world.
on August 7,2012 | 03:53PM
kainalu wrote:
I'd be interested in a single-doner giving Obama as much as single-doners have given Romney. This is $25 MILLION! from essentially, one family. Sheldon Adelson also donated $10 MILLION all by himself to Romney too. I doubt that a single-doner has given Obama that much. You know why? Because swift-boaters would have plastered it all over the air-ways already, if they could find one. lol indeed.
on August 7,2012 | 04:00PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Ever heard of Goldman? Simons? Katzenburg? Didn't think so. If you're really interested, why not do some unbiased research. Of course being only "interested" allows your style of comment. lol again.
on August 7,2012 | 07:45PM
veelc wrote:
Funny how it wasn't an issue in '08 when Barry outspent McCain 3 to 1. Also, could it be that Barry's constituency all of a sudden is not so sure that this was the 'Hope and Change' they had all banked on and as such, are starting the early 'voting' with their wallets?
on August 7,2012 | 06:46PM
loveneverfails wrote:
Another HATE PARTY fueled by none other than satan himself.
on August 7,2012 | 08:52PM
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