Ad War Update: Attacking The Attacks

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 10 2012 @ 6:40pm

by Chas Danner

An absolute mud fight today as both campaigns and even an outside group got out ads refuting other ads. First the Obama campaign hit Romney's welfare attack ad in seven states:

Then the Romney campaign released an attack on Priorities USA's Bain-cancer attack ad, trying very hard to tie Obama to the Super PAC that supports him (size and scope of the ad buy currently unknown):

NPR's Frank James lays out the Romney camp's larger strategy:

The ad goes directly at what has been an area of strength for Obama with voters. Polls have consistently indicated that voters see the president as more likable than Romney. A recent Gallup poll also shows the president with a significant edge on the question of which candidate is more honest and trustworthy. The new Romney ad can be seen as an effort to weaken the president's advantage on that score.

Also today, Karl Rove's Super PAC American Crossroads got into a little Super-PAC-on-Super-PAC action, putting out a new web video in which they edit together as much as they can to imply Obama is responsible for Priorities USA's actions:

Also, regarding the issue of whether TV ads are really TV ads, it appears that Priorities USA is not even airing their controversial Bain-cancer ad yet, as they had indicated; it's just been getting played via the media. Priorities USA also launches another Bain attack ad:

Justin Sink reports on the intention for the ad's run:

Bill Burton, the former White House aide who heads Priorities USA, said Friday that the ad was not intended to replace controversial cancer ad and will ship to television stations next week. The cancer ad has not aired yet but is available online. Burton noted it has seen huge Web traction in swing states, saying that four of the top five states where people have viewed the ad are Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia. has a new TV ad out as well, apparently airing in the cities Romney will be visiting on the campaign trail. The ad accuses him of being a pickpocket:

Finally: "What will stop the madness?" A reader passes along a new web ad:

In 2010, [Florida State Rep.] Mike Weinstein produced what I considered the best-worst political ad of the election cycle. The political gods have smiled upon us and delivered this sequel:

Ad War archive here.