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Today in Ad Watch: President Obama says "America is the greatest nation on earth" as we get set to demonstrate that by owning the Olympics, the Republican National Committee gives you permission to vote against Obama, and Democrats go for veterans.

The Ad: Barack Obama, "I Believe"

The Issues: Barack Obama, what a guy.

The Message: Obama's campaign will be airing this positive ad during the Olympics, as the whole world gets ready to cry approximately every 20 minutes for the next two weeks as one athlete after another overcomes adversity to win a gold medal for God and country. "I believe that the way you grow the economy is from the middle out," Obama says. "I believe in fighting for the middle class because if they're prospering all of us will prosper. That's the idea of America and that's why America is the greatest nation on earth." But what he's saying doesn't matter so much, because the point of the ad is inspiring images of wholesome families and generic happy rock music.

Who'll See It: The ad will air during the Olympics opening ceremony Friday.

Who It's For: Sentimental Olympics viewers, so Obama can benefit from some of those warm fuzzy patriotic feelings. Polls show his favorability ratings have suffered recently.

What Everyone Else Thinks: The Romney campaign disputes Obama's America-loving credentials.

The Effect: The ad has a pleasing "America rules" message just as we're getting ready to cheer our athletes as they TOTALLY DOMINATE THE OLYMPICS. It's not very memorable, aside from the friendly feeling. B-

The Ad: Republican National Committee, "It's OK"

The Issues: You are hereby given permission to vote Obama out of office.

The Message: Obama had big plans, but he didn't follow through. "He tried. You tried. It's okay to make a change," the ad says.

Who'll See It: The RNC is spending $4 million to air two weeks of ads in eight states, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Craig Gilbert reports. One of those states is Wisconsin, which has voted Democratic for decades but is trending more Republican. The Republican governor recently won a recall election over a law that curbed union power, and Republicans promised to turn that campaign infrastructure into Romney campaign infrastructure. 

Who It's For: It's not clear which ads the RNC will air in Wisconsin, or how much money will go to just that state. But this ad seems like a good choice. Obama is still personally popular, and Republicans are trying to convince voters the economy is more important than how much you like the guy in the White House.

What Everyone Else Thinks: Most polls have shown Americans still blame George W. Bush for the economy, though a recent poll from The Hill found voters now blame Obama.

The Effect: The tagline at the end is simple and clear. A-

The Ad: Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine, "Priorities"

The Issues: Who supports the troops?

The Message: The Democrat accuses Republican opponent George Allen of caring about oil corporations and rich people more than he cares about the troops. The ad text says, "Then George voted to send us to war twice without paying for it. But when it came time to support our troops, George voted against funding for safety equipment: bullet-proof helmets, high-tech body armor, survival gear. George also voted against funding for equipment for National Guard and Reserves." It accuses Allen of voting for 52,000 earmarks but "voting against our troops."

Who'll See It: It's a Web video, so it's for reporters and supporters.

Who It's For: There are a lot of military families in Virginia. But this is notable because the Obama campaign has been working to win over young veterans, too. 

What Everyone Else Thinks: Everyone loved earmarks until 2010.

The Effect: The ad has a powerful message but it's poorly produced. No one wants to read a YouTube for a minute and a half. C+

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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