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Obama campaign goes on the attack, Romney counters

Who will come out smiling after the battle of the attack ads?
Who will come out smiling after the battle of the attack ads?

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Barack Obama’s campaign went on the offensive this week with an ad targeting Mitt Romney’s time running the investment firm, Bain Capital Investments. They’re not alone, the Obama affiliated Super PAC, Priorities USA Action came out with a remarkably similar video as well.

According to the ads, one titled “Steel” from the Obama campaign itself and the other called “Heads or Tails,” from the Super PAC, depict Romney and Bain as heartless capitalists whose huge profits were won on the backs of hardworking men and women in Middle America. “Steel” will air in several important battleground states including Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania in an ad buy that cost the campaign about $4 million dollars. Romney was quick to fight back.

Within hours his campaign released their own video touting the accomplishments of Steel Dynamics, a company that, according to the ad, may not have existed if it hadn’t been for Bain Capital. The campaign also released an earlier ad slamming Obama’s handling of the economy using quick cuts from news stories highlighting the economic turmoil of the last couple of years.

So, how truthful are the ads on both sides? Was Romney a vampire capitalist? Are Obama policies poisoning the economic recovery?

The Obama campaign has made a calculated decision to go after Romney’s record at Bain, meanwhile throughout the campaign Romney has chosen to highlight his business background. Is Romney vulnerable in that area?

And, many have pointed out the incredible similarities between Obama’s campaign ad and the one released from Priorities USA Action. Are the supposedly unaffiliated groups a little too close for comfort? Who will win the political ad wars?


Brooks Jackson, Director of FactCheck dot org, a project of the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center

Tom Hollihan, Professor of Communications, Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism, University of Southern California; Author of "Uncivil Wars: Political Campaigns in a Media Age, Arguments and Arguing"

Selection of ads from the Obama campaign

Selection of ads from the Romney campaign

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