Dueling ads: Liar in Chief vs the Unfeeling Technobot

posted at 8:41 am on July 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Thank goodness we have the ability to have a reasoned, rational debate over the direction this country will take in the next four years, so that voters can make an informed choice in November.  The campaigns and their super-PAC surrogates have an opportunity to inform us about the real differences in policy between the two candidates, and to treat voters like adults capable of self-government.

Or, er …. not:

Priorities USA Action and the Service Employees International Union are out with a new round of Spanish-language ads attacking former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney with his own (out of context) words in Latino-heavy swing states.

The Colorado ad highlights Romney’s comment that he’s “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” with a man adding in Spanish, “He’s a person without feelings who doesn’t care about people whether they be Hispanic, Latino, white, who are below him.”

This basically doubles down on a one-sixteenth truth, not even a half-truth.  True, Romney did say that he wasn’t concerned about the very poor, but the very next words out of his mouth in that interview were, “We have a safety net,”  and he pledged to repair any holes in it.  Romney told the interviewer that his focus was on the middle class and fixing the economy so that they could prosper once again.  I noted at the time that Obama and his team would replay this clip out of context over and over again; this is just the beginning.  That doesn’t make it any more honest, however.

How about the other side?  Mitt Romney has an advantage in being able to focus on Obama’s policy record, but … instead, he’s focused on Obama’s campaign record.  To be fair, though, while it’s tone is hardly any better, Romney has the right to respond to spurious attacks from Obama:

Just like he did against Hillary Clinton, President Obama now continues to spread dishonest attacks about Mitt Romney to distract from his failed record. Even though fact check after fact check have found his claims to be false, he continues to not tell the truth to the American people. It is no wonder why our country has lost confidence in his leadership.

Team Romney obviously aims for the Hillary Clinton voters who have grown disenchanted with Obama in this ad, but any of them still nursing resentment over 2008 probably aren’t voting for Obama this time around, anyway.  Hillary will almost certainly be campaigning for Obama in the general election, so Romney’s defense of her honor here is going to get negated at some point in time.

Both of these ads are effective to a certain extent, although both essentially just reinforce perceptions within the candidates’ voter bases more than convince anyone to switch their vote.  The extent to which people perceive one better than the other almost certainly speaks to their choice in the race.  Normally, though, we wouldn’t see this kind of personal attack until the final days of the campaign.  It’s a symptom of the moment-to-moment cycle that we’re getting these kinds of ads running in July for a general election in November.

John Dickerson says the fact-checking doesn’t much matter anyway, and I suspect he’s correct:

This is further confirmation of an essential truth both campaigns have embraced about fact checking: The upside from a strong distortion is better than the downside from the hall monitors. If you’re not getting four Pinocchios or a pants-on-fire, you’re not doing it right. Let them boo—as long as the message gets through.

Ain’t politics grand?


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Soon, all we’ll be doing is voting for the best liar.

BobMbx on July 12, 2012 at 10:56 AM

If obama ads say Romney is an outsourcer how should his ad say to fight back.

a. Obama is a bigger outsourcer.

b. Obama outsourcing claims not true.

Not too many ways to fight back on this issue.

gerrym51 on July 12, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Soon, all we’ll be doing is voting for the best liar.

BobMbx on July 12, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Soon?

Dante on July 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Hillary will almost certainly be campaigning for Obama in the general election, so Romney’s defense of her honor here is going to get negated at some point in time.

Then think of this approach as watering down Hillary’s inevitable campaign appearances. Or perhaps these ads could become a disincentive for Hillary to campaign, or at least might encourage her to minimize her involvement and engage in restraint in whatever message she might deliver?

By many accounts, Hillary does not seek a post were Obama to win a second term. So it’s not like the Chicago style campaign has any kind of a weapon to bring to bear against her if she fails to fall in line.

EconomicNeocon on July 12, 2012 at 11:11 AM

…I heard Joe Biteme was Jheri curling his plugs…in rebuttal today!
KOOLAID2 on July 12, 2012 at 8:51 AM

That’s classic. That visual made me laugh out loud.

Cavalry on July 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Nothing but talk. All Republican presidents and candidates have said they’ll cut back government, but none of them ever have.

Dante on July 12, 2012 at 10:44 AM

That includes Dr. Paul, right?

Flora Duh on July 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Team Romney obviously aims for the Hillary Clinton voters who have grown disenchanted with Obama in this ad, but any of them still nursing resentment over 2008 probably aren’t voting for Obama this time around, anyway. Hillary will almost certainly be campaigning for Obama in the general election, so Romney’s defense of her honor here is going to get negated at some point in time.

Wrong. Romney is aiming for the independent and swing voters who would have naturally gravitated towards Hillary in the general, but who voted for Obama as the nominee for whatever reason and are now sorry they did so.

He is also shooting for the so-called “Reagan Democrats” who are sometimes comfortable in the Republican Party but who deserted it because of various perceived Republican failures and Bush fatigue.

The point is, a large number of Obama’s voters in 2008 were willing to give him a chance as President, despite the fact that he was a relatively unknown quantity, because he represented, well, hope and change, a new direction.

Now it is important to paint him as the same old thing, which he is. In fact, he’s worse, because his duplicity is not accompanied by competence, as it was, by a greater extent, with Clinton (well, Bill, anyway).

Romney, in order to win, needs to get those voters back. In fact, in order to win, he needs to do three things:

1. Keep his base happy, engaged, and energized.
2. Convince independent and swing voters to vote for him.
3. Demoralize Obama’s base so that they stay home on election day.

Not an easy task, by any means, and not made any easier by the terrible advice Romney is getting (and thankfully ignoring) from the Republican pundit class.

Mr. Arkadin on July 12, 2012 at 11:28 AM

Was it Twain or Churchill? “A lie travels once around the world before the truth puts on its shoes.” That is proven at least once a day by the Obama camp. Always there, firstest with the worstest.

Example: Romney is an outsourcer. He is not. Obama however is, thru his stimulus and close pals like Jeff Immelt/GE.

And yeah, fact-checking is probably generally fruitless. People willing to get their news from headlines and “up next” blips on TV won’t pay attention. So what to do? Romney has to step out of character and attack with an “Obama lies” theme. If he did one of those a day between now and the election he would not run out of material.

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on July 12, 2012 at 11:31 AM

If at first you don’t mislead, lie, lie again.

Red Cloud on July 12, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Did we call it?

Lsm is outraged that mitt called dear leader a liar
…how dare he

cmsinaz on July 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Would you buy a used car from this man, Barack Hussein Kardashian Øbama?

cmsinaz on July 12, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Lsm outrage? Shows Mitt hit the target, doesn’t it. As Caddell says, his lack of trustworthiness is his Achilles heel.

petefrt on July 12, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Just a note to the SEIU: first, your people should learn how to speak English to prosper in this country, and then they wouldn’t feel so “victimized” by people like Romney.

That ad really ticks me off.

PattyJ on July 12, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Careful, Romney campaign strategists: the game is won at the end of the fourth quarter, not halftime. There’s a lot of game left.

..yeah, but it sure doesn’t hurt to go into the locker room after scoring a stinging touchdown from an interception and run back from your own 20.

The War Planner on July 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM

Wonder how much worse Santorum would be doing?

gumbyandpokey on July 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Seriously? Santorum would be getting smoked everywhere. He couldnt get PA to elect him senator again, let alone president. Romneys running a good campaign and he’s essentially tied despite being massively outspent. There are guys poeople who would have been better than Mitt, but they didnt run. Get over it. If you’re not standng with us–and I wasnt a Romney voter– you’re on the other side.

cpaulus on July 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Hillary will “endorse” Obama, but I doubt she will campaign for him.
I think she will stay in her statesman mode till she quits as SecState and then says she is done with politics (kind of like W is doing).

– Unless, of course, if Obama declines the nomination in Sept because of horrible polls and the convention nominates Hillary. I believe this has been Bill’s strategy this spring with the “gaffes” he has made about Obama.

KenInIL on July 12, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Tru dat petefrt

cmsinaz on July 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM

What a POS political system we’ve devolved into. Sheesh!

JAM on July 12, 2012 at 12:14 PM

cpaulus on July 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Yep. Santorum would have had a complete Howie Dean-style meltdown by now. He doesn’t handle pressure well.

slickwillie2001 on July 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM

I think Romney’s ad more than anything adds to the narrative that Obama is not presidential. That he is a liar, whiney, celebrity and not a president. If you can make that stick early, people might actually start to ignore Obama’s claims later, true or not.

PastorJon on July 12, 2012 at 12:36 PM

How are people not tired of Democrats and Republicans blaming each other for all of the ills in the world yet? When will we ask a people start demanding representation of us as individuals not as a party? It’s 2012, are people still suprised that Politicians lie?!?! Do you really think everything that ANY Politician says is the truth? Do people just blindly ignore history over the last twenty years? I truly think we need a legitimate third party who could improve the whole political landscape. What we have now just isnt working.

Politricks on July 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

I prefer Thief in Chief

triumphus04 on July 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Bill Burton is a scum bag.

rubberneck on July 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

That includes Dr. Paul, right?

Flora Duh on July 12, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Good catch. I said candidates when I should have said nominees.

Dante on July 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

I’m going to play a bit of the devils advocate on this Romney ad.
To some extent it’s good to try to paint the opposition as a liar, but people understand that that is the nature of the game with politics. People don’t care that much about whether a candidate is a dirty campaigner, so little mileage will be gotten here.
People care about the issues, and what’s going to affect their lives. So go after O as a radical that endangers our country or our way of life.
Another tack is to incense people on a personal level about Obama. He is arrogant, living the high life, a gay dancer, etc. If you paint him as a liar, make people feel really upset about it, like O is really irritating and these lies are a grave injustice. Ok, this is quick read on my part, but, this ad paints O as a relatively benign “liar.”

anotherJoe on July 12, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Obama team: Romney committed a felony or lied to voters

so obama says lied, its ok
romney says lied, it’s 24.7 outrage

puhleeze

cmsinaz on July 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Supplementing this ad’s theme, here’s a press release from Team Romney: The Obama Campaign’s Top Ten Lies & Exaggerations. I look forward to hearing Andrea “Wawa” Mitchell spit and sputter…

Buy Danish on July 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

cmsinaz on July 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I’m lovin’ how lefty heads are exploding over this ad. It displays pure fear. It tells us they know they’re vulnerable here and the ad hit a home run.

petefrt on July 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Supplementing this ad’s theme, here’s a press release from Team Romney: The Obama Campaign’s Top Ten Lies & Exaggerations.

Buy Danish on July 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Good news. Ride that pony, Team Romney. Looks like you have a winner.

petefrt on July 12, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Thank goodness we have the ability to have a reasoned, rational debate over the direction this country will take in the next four years, so that voters can make an informed choice in November.

The DOTUS has only begun to open up THE GATES OF HELL RE-ELECT MACHINE.

The S.S. Romney better be ready for battle.

PappyD61 on July 12, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Supplementing this ad’s theme, here’s a press release from Team Romney: The Obama Campaign’s Top Ten Lies & Exaggerations. I look forward to hearing Andrea “Wawa” Mitchell spit and sputter…

Buy Danish on July 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

enfin, the Romney I know is back :-).

jimver on July 12, 2012 at 2:20 PM

If you’re not standng with us–and I wasnt a Romney voter– you’re on the other side.

cpaulus on July 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Bugger off. You don’t get to define me.

runawayyyy on July 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Went right over your head, didn’t it?

Flora Duh on July 12, 2012 at 10:23 AM


“SWISH … nothing but net!”

Was a phrase one of my math teachers used decades ago to refer to a concept that, as he phrased it, “… had gone in one ear and right out the other without touching anything on the way through.”

How long ago?

Well, he had also been known to rocket a piece of chalk at someone who dozed off in his class . And only get fear and respect back.

The trolls and mobys we have on here would have been walking the halls with permanent white dimples in their foreheads.

PolAgnostic on July 12, 2012 at 2:32 PM

When will we ask a people start demanding representation of us as individuals not as a party? It’s 2012, are people still suprised that Politicians lie?!?! Do you really think everything that ANY Politician says is the truth?

Politricks on July 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM

too much polarization and resentment in Washington, on both sides of the aisles for that..and that won’t go away soon, it’s human nature…you are deluding yourself if you think a third party will solve anything, it will only exacerbate the polarization and ad more drama and dysfunctionality…I lived in England for about 10 years before relocating to the US, they are the typical example of a democracy with a third party system and more likely the type that we’d get here, in the US, given the strong anglo-saxon tradition…their third party (the lib dems) there is actually more pathetic and scumbag-ish than the two main ones, and I can tell you one thing, based on countless European models, a third party never gets to govern by itself, so, in the process it becomes the ho of either of the two main parties, making alliances with either one of the main parties to spite the other, basically selling’ their votes based on a whim or political expedience or whatever…no idea why you idealize a third party system, but it’s more dysfunctional and chaotic than a 2-party system…

jimver on July 12, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Reinforcing the public’s belief that the President is a proven serial liar, when the majority of the press is owned by the administration, necessary.

Speakup on July 12, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Some on our side cannot make up their damn mind whether they want Romney to address Obama lies or not. When he was not addressing the lies a week ago these people were crapping in their pants and screaming loud that he should expose Obama as a liar. When Romney exposes Obama as a liar this week they are now saying oh no he should rather focuses on Obama record. Well he is doing both, so please critics, shut the **** up already…

mnjg on July 12, 2012 at 4:53 PM

He’s a person without feelings who doesn’t care about people whether they be Hispanic, Latino, white…

Dumb question: What’s the diff between “Hispanic” & “Latino”?

KS Rex on July 12, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Dumb question: What’s the diff between “Hispanic” & “Latino”?

KS Rex on July 12, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Since neither word is well-defined and both are loaded with politics, it’s impossible to describe the difference.

slickwillie2001 on July 12, 2012 at 6:16 PM

If Mitt can get Barry off script during the debate O is toast.

BruceB on July 12, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Dueling ads: Liar in Chief vs the Unfeeling Technobot

I thought Wilbur Huntsman said, he was done with the presidential election SNARK.

Dr Evil on July 12, 2012 at 8:31 PM

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