Why are the presidential candidates spending so much time raising so much money? To buy TV ads. In Ad Watch, we review the results of their heroic efforts as they come out. Today: Mitt Romney says President Obama's attacks are unfair because Hillary Clinton said so, and the Koch brothers-backed group Americans for Prosperity spends $9 million attacking Obamacare the day after the Supreme Court ruling.
The Ad: Mitt Romney, "Shame on You"
The Issues: Obama's attacks on Romney, and more broadly, his character.
The Message: You can't believe Obama's attacks on Romney, because Hillary Clinton got really mad at Obama's ads during the 2008 Democratic primary. "Shame on you, Barack Obama," Clinton says in her old shorter haircut.
Who'll See It: TV watchers in Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia, Politico says.
Who It's For: The PUMA -- a rare species of voter rarely spotted in the wild but hyped a quite bit after the 2008 primary. PUMA stood for "party unity, my ass," and referred to women who loved Hillary Clinton but would refuse to vote for Obama.
What Everyone Else Thinks: The only thing worse than negative ads is whining about negative ads.
The Effect: The ad doesn't specify which attacks it means. Presumably the target is the ad saying Romney was an "outsourcing pioneer" -- a charge the Romney campaign is clearly worried about. Maybe Romney doesn't want to remind viewers of the charge even when disputing it. The use of Clinton is interesting enough to capture viewers' attention though. C
The Ad: Americans for Prosperity, "Not a Tax."
The Issues: Obamacare is "one of the largest tax increases in American history."
The Message: Obama said it wouldn't be a tax, but the Supreme Court said it was constitutional because it was a tax, and therefore, it's sort of a flip-flop. Clearly the group had ads ready to go no matter what the Court's ruling, but maybe they weren't expecting the tax part. The second half of the ad is dedicated to the old Republican message that Obama wasted too much time on the law. That would have been a more powerful argument if the law had been struck down.
Who'll See It: Starting Friday, the day after the ruling, the group will spend $9 million airing the ad in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Who It's For: The people who don't like Obamacare but aren't sure they're ready to give up on Obama.
What Everyone Else Thinks: The Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare actually reduces the deficit, contrary to the ad's claims that it costs more.
The Effect: It's impressive that the ad will be up so quickly. But as CNN found out Thursday, rushing the product doesn't always ensure top quality. C-
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.