Ad War Update: The Eye Of The Storm Passes

Now that three full days of relative ad calm have passed since Sandy hit, the Romney campaign is fully back to its negative ways. This ad knocks Obama for supposedly favoring bureaucracy over business (buy size/scope unknown):

The AP points out that “contrary to the ad’s assertion, Obama suggested consolidating nine agencies that deal with business issues as a way of streamlining the federal bureaucracy.” Maggie Haberman notes the ad “represents a news-cycle chase of the variety that Romney’s team had moved away from since the debates.” The Romney campaign is also deploying the kitchen sink in Spanish, using the following far-fetched TV ad to tie Obama to Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara in the minds of Florida’s Cuban voters:

Justin Sink translates:

The ad’s narrator asks in Spanish “Who supports Barack Obama” before highlighting endorsements of the president from Chávez and Castro’s niece, Mariela. … The Romney ad goes on to highlight an internal email exchange at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “And to top it off, Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency sent emails for Hispanic Heritage month with Che Guevara’s photo,” the narrator says. The EPA later said the email was sent mistakenly by a staffer and apologized for its distribution, although Republicans pounced on the issue.

The Romney campaign is also targeting Iowa with Mitt’s newspaper endorsements. From the other side, the Obama campaign is still hammering Romney in Michigan and Ohio over his auto industry lies:

And following Colin Powell’s appearance in a Obama radio spot yesterday, Powell is also starring in a ten-state TV ad:

Over in Colorado, Obama is continuing the war over women by linking Romney to Richard Mourdock in a radio ad:

Romney has cut an ad for Senate hopeful Jeff Flake (R-AZ), while the Romney ad for Denny Rehberg (R-MT) that we mentioned yesterday is here. In general analysis, John Sides explains the life of a political ad’s influence:

The short story is that the effects of campaign ads decay.  Quickly.  This isn’t necessarily surprising, if you think of campaign messages as being delivered in “doses” that, like most medicines, wear off.  And this makes sense if you think that undecided voters are engaging, at least in part, in what is called “online processing“: updating their assessments of the candidates on the fly in response to new information, but not necessarily remembering the specifics of that information and thus making it possible for the next “dose” to affect them as well.

Sides therefore reasons that Romney’s late-term ad strategy may be superior to the Obama’s early-term strategy. However:

[T]he ultimate effect of these late ads depends on whether one side will have a definitive advantage.  As I noted in my earlier post, advertising effects emerge most clearly when one side can out-spend the other—and by a lot.  There are reports that Romney and his allied super-PACs will outspend Obama by 2-1 in the final week of the campaign.  But up until now, the cash advantage hasn’t translated into an ad advantage: Romney and the super-PACs have been paying higher rates and not necessarily putting their ads in front of more viewers.

Looking at another element of Romney’s ad strategy, Maggie Haberman reports that the campaign is claiming its digital efforts to refute the various Bain attacks has been effective:

In terms of the Romney Web strategy, officials with the campaign said there were over 1 billion ad impressions served to people who made Bain-related searches, and that over 1 million people clicked on the videos and other Bain-related content on the business-related website the campaign set up. They said the “vast majority” of the views were in swing states, and that there have been 17 videos featuring Bain testimonials, viewed over 125,000 times. [However, that’s] far fewer than the number of eyeballs on the Bain attack ads on the airwaves. … Romney sources insist they believe the issue is now baked-in for voters and that his business experience remains a net positive in their data.

From the outside spenders, below is one of the Spanish ads that’s part of a previously mentioned final-week buy from Rove’s dark-money Crossroads GPS:

Michael Scherer captions:

This woman is pissed off, much more so than the English version of the same ad… It also hammers social values squarely: “The ObamaCare healthcare law,” she says, “is going to force our holy church to violate our own principles.” “Violar,” the verb for violate, also means “to rape” in Spanish.

You can see a bunch of other Spanish-language ads that Scherer saw last night while watching Univision here. In English, GOP dark-money group American Future Fund is dumping $5+ million into TV and radio spots in a slew of battleground states. The two TV spots in the buy will air in MI, OH and PA; one features parts of Romney’s 1st debate performance (and really terrible music), while this spot is after women:

The radio ads will air in nine states including Minnesota. Over in Virginia, pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future is sending out mailers claiming that Obama’s second term would be a “big government fantasy land.” Looking at how to counter outside spenders, the Wesleyan Media Project’s Michael Franz points out an important element of the Massachusetts Senate race:

[A] Brown-Warren pact [set up] ground rules for trying to prevent outside groups from airing television ads. That’s seemed to work so far. Of course, there are loopholes in the agreement, and outside spending is fairly aggressive in that race, just off the air. We’ve been surprised, though, that the two candidates were able to work out an agreement that made it difficult for groups to air ads during the race. It could conceivably be a model for future races, though it requires both candidates to sign on—and that’s the sticking point.

Elsewhere on the down-ticket, Todd Akin is still trying to improve his standing with women, this time cutting a one-minute TV spot featuring testimonials from two women – one a rape victim who’s had an abortion. But McCaskill uses Romney to hit back:

Lastly, in late-season wackiness, a Super PAC is actually airing a “major revelation for Black Americans”:

Evan McMorris Santoro has details:

Cable viewers in several markets across the state are being treated to ads by an obscure self-described “alternative conservative” super PAC called the Empower Citizens Network. One of the group’s ads accuses Obama and Democrats of imploding the economy by forcing mortgage companies to lend to “unqualified borrowers” while the Soviet national anthem plays. Another promises welfare recipients that “Republicans can save your money source” by reducing regulations on business.

Read the rest of Evan’s piece to find out just how sketchy a Super PAC can be. Ad War archive here.