Team Romney and the RNC have begun taking up Barack Obama’s challenge about the poor and middle class — and are unrolling a new effort to point out Obama’s failure to improve the economy as needed for both to progress. Romney talks directly into the camera in this new 60-second spot, telling voters that while both candidates care about the poor and middle class, one of them has failed in four years to do anything significant to help either. More Americans now live in poverty than when the Obama recovery began, Romney says, and 15 million more people have become dependent on food stamps. “We shouldn’t measure compassion by how many people are on welfare,” Romney says. “We should measure compassion by how many people get off welfare and get a good-paying job.”
“Too many Americans are struggling to find work in today’s economy. Too many of those that are working are living paycheck to paycheck, trying to make falling incomes meeting rising prices for food and gas,” says Romney in the ad. “More Americans are living in poverty than when President Obama took office, and 15 million more are on food stamps.”
“President Obama and I both care about poor and middle class families, the difference is my policies will make things better for them,” Romney continues. …
In his new ad, Romney concludes by touting his economic policies.
“My plan will create 12 million new jobs over the next four years, helping to lift families out of poverty and strengthening the middle class,” he says. “I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message because we can’t afford another four years like the last four years.”
Meanwhile, Barack Obama visits Kent State University in Ohio today, the first time in four years. The RNC sent out an e-mail that highlighted Obama’s speech in 2008 complaining about the decline in median household income and other indicators for the middle class — and compared it to Obama’s performance as President, especially in Ohio:
FLASHBACK: When Obama Last Visited Kent State University As A Candidate, He Lamented The Fact That Incomes Had Declined By $2,000 And The National Debt Had Increased By $4 Trillion. OBAMA: “When Bill Clinton was president, the average family income went up $7,500; $7,500. Since George Bush has been president, you know what it’s done? It’s gone down $2,000. Think about that. That’s a $9,500 swing; $9,500. That’s money out of your pocket. That’s money going out of this country because we’re borrowing it from China to send to Saudi Arabia to buy oil. That’s what’s added $4 trillion to our deficit. I mean, think about that. You know, so we’ve created a mountain of debt for the next generation that they’re going to have to pay off. This little guy, he’s not too worried about it right now, but, you know, we’ve created $30,000 worth of debt for every man, woman and child in America. That’s going to have to be paid back.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At Kent State University, New Philadelphia, OH, 9/3/08)
Under Obama, Median Household Income In Ohio Has Declined By $4,387, From $50,136 To $45,749. (U.S. Census Bureau, Accessed 9/26/12)
In 2010, Ohio Households Were “Poorer” Than They Had Been In More Than 25 Years. “Ohio households were poorer last year than they’ve been in more than 25 years, and the number of people living in poverty is higher than it’s been in more than 30 years, according to a census report released yesterday.” (Bill Bush, “Median Income In Ohio Hits 27-Year Low,” Columbus Dispatch, 9/14/12)
“The Inflation-Adjusted Figure Hasn’t Been Lower For Ohio Since Officials Began Keeping That Record In 1984, Census Officials Said.” (Bill Bush, “Median Income In Ohio Hits 27-Year Low,” Columbus Dispatch, 9/14/12)
The Republican campaign really needs to hammer on these data points, especially in Ohio and Florida, but also throughout the Rust Belt. We’re going to hear a lot of soft-hearted — and soft-headed — arguments about Romney’s wealth and his lack of connection to the poor and middle class from media analysts. Voters need to see the direction in which Obama has taken both the poor and middle class in three-plus years of recovery. This ad is a good start, especially with Romney speaking directly to voters about these issues. He needs to do more talking over the heads of the media and spend that cash advantage to get his message across.