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Monday, September 24, 2012

New Week, Same Ad Themes: China and Taxes

Ad Watch

Tracking and analyzing campaign advertising.

Both presidential campaigns have new ads out today, but the themes are familiar. The Obama campaign is tying Mitt Romney's tax returns to his “47 percent” comments, while the Republican has put out his second ad that attacks the president's China policies.

As Representative Paul D. Ryan heads to Ohio to begin the G.O.P. ticket's bus tour (Mr. Romney joins him Wednesday), the Obama campaign begins running its new spot in the state. “No Taxes” weaves together a critique of Mr. Romney's comments at a fund-raiser about the 47 percent of Americ ans who pay no income taxes with a call for him to disclose returns from before 2010, noting that the candidate “paid just 14.1 percent in taxes last year” and saying he is holding money offshore.

“Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes, Romney should come clean on his,” says the narrator.

The ad also plays a clip from the fund-raiser of Mr. Romney saying,”My job is not to worry about those people.” The narrator responds,”Isn't it the president's job to worry about everyone?”

The Romney camp has maintained that the candidate was speaking as a strategist at that moment, and Mr. Romney has since said his campaign is about “the 100 percent in America.”

Meanwhile, as Mr. Romney tries to steer his campaign back on track after a week marred by secretly recorded video, his new spot amplifies an early attack on President Obama's China policy. In an earlier spot, Mr. Romney called China “cheaters.” This time, the country is “steal ing American ideas and technology,” the announcer says, and Mr. Obama has failed to stand up to China, contributing to continued job losses and stubborn unemployment.

It's unclear to what extent the job losses noted in the ad are directly related to China's actions. “Seven times Obama could have taken action,” the narrator says, a reference to the administration's refusal to label China a currency “manipulator,” which administrations of both parties have also resisted doing. The Obama campaign has taken other actions, however, including a new trade case announced last week in, not surprisingly, Ohio.