Campaigns are not won on attack ads alone. A candidate for any office has to roll out a positive vision of their agenda, even when running against a failing incumbent. Alternately, a campaign can do a little of both in the same spot, and that’s what Team Romney tries to do in the new ad rolling out today, “Day One”:
You want positive? The tone of the spot is upbeat, optimistic, and colorful, and it spells out Romney’s priorities for his presidency — jobs, the economy, energy, and more jobs. Competitive? The spot hits Obama on every point: approving the Keystone pipeline, reversing Obama’s policies on taxes and spending, and most importantly, replacing Obmacare with something that works without blowing up an already-disastrous entitlement overhang. It’s a smart, well-produced ad that challengers can run more effectively than incumbents in any cycle. Don’t forget that Barack Obama ran on similar Day One promises in 2008, made effective by essentially running against George Bush more than John McCain, including closing Gitmo and imposing bars on lobbyists serving in his administration. How did those Day One promises turn out? Er ….
I’m sure we’ll see a similar ad in this cycle from Team Obama eventually, although it might be difficult to put an upbeat, positive spin on continuing the status quo while depicting it as a change. That’s the tough part of running for a second term.