On Saturday, the Obama campaign released an ad hammering Romney for opposing the HHS Mandate and wanting to defund Planned Parenthood. The ad mostly focuses on a couple of women talking about how “out of touch” Romney is with how the average American women sees Planned Parenthood, contraception, etc.
The ad is pretty standard fare in most ways, but its rhetoric takes a couple of stretches. First, one of the women comments on how Romney is out of touch because he opposes the HHS contraception/abortifacient/sterilization mandate. In the ad, she says “This is not the 1950s — contraception is so important to women.” Never mind that the mandate violates the First Amendment, and Romney is not intending to prevent access to contraception. If government biases against the individual market, as well as other government interferences in private insurance such as the PPACA, were gone, the individual market would be far more accessible than it is currently. That would leave insurance much less expensive, thus providing the opportunity for cheaper contraceptive coverage for those women who wish to have such products covered.
Of course, the ad ignores the abortion and sterilization parts of the mandate. But that’s a story for another day.
The other stretch by the ad is one woman’s statement that she doesn’t “remember anyone as extreme as Romney,” followed by Romney saying he would cut funding for Planned Parenthood. This is yet another laughable example of the President’s attempt to switch from portraying Romney as a flip-flop moderate to a dangerous right-winger. First, his positions on Planned Parenthood and the mandate are well within mainstream Republican thinking. Second, if the ad is talking about Romney as compared to other Presidential candidates, the contraception mandate was not an issue until January 2012, so there really is no precedent with which to compare him.
As political ads go, this one was pretty mild, but these two over-the-top statements definitely caught my attention. I think it’s also worth noting that the ad says nothing about the economy — the President’s biggest weakness in this election, and the best explanation as to why he’s doubling down on supporting an unconstitutional mandate and supporting the nation’s largest killer of unborn babies.