Turning Mitt Romney's own words against him, President Barack Obama's reelection campaign released a new video on Wednesday that paints the all-but-certain Republican nominee as a "severely conservative" politician who's uncaring about middle class economic suffering and who's determined to outlaw abortion.
The 1'55" spot, entitled "Mitt Romney: Memories to Last a Lifetime," mines some of the former Massachusetts governor's best-known verbal missteps from the past year, teed up with the words: "As Republicans settle on a nominee…let's take a look at some of the unforgettable moments from this unforgettable primary." It seems geared to make it harder for Romney to pivot to the political center for the general election after weathering the drawn-out battle for the Republican nomination.
The video, released just one day after Rick Santorum dropped out of the race, effectively clears a path for Romney to take on Obama. It's not quite a greatest hits release: there's no mention of Romney's casual offer to bet Texas Governor Rick Perry $10,000 or his description of his long-ago worries about losing his job. But it highlights that the Obama campaign is wasting no time to take the fight to Romney, and will likely recycle spats, gaffes and potentially controversial positions from the primaries for its own advantage. The video shows Romney asserting that "corporations are people, my friend," telling an audience "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me" (a comment ripped from its context of wanting Americans to be able to shop around for health insurance.) It also has a clip of him addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February and saying, "I was a severely conservative Republican governor."
The Romney campaign wasted no time in hitting back, with spokeswoman Andrea Saul saying that "It's no surprise -- with the worst job creation record in modern history and a platform of raising taxes -- that President Obama would try to distract Americans from the real issues."
"Unemployment is up, incomes are down and gas prices are through the roof," Saul said by email. "Mitt Romney is running to get Americans back to work and the country back on track."
The Obama video targets some key constituencies -- women, Latinos, blue-collar workers, the elderly -- and recycles Romney's comments on issues dear to them.
"Remember what he said about women's health?" asks the onscreen text, before cutting to Romney saying that the Supreme Court should overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Clips show him saying he hopes to eliminate Planned Parenthood and that he favors exempting religious institutions from a mandate requiring employers to provide health insurance that covers contraception.
The ad follows up with "Remember what he said about housing?" which highlights Romney's October 2011 comments in Nevada, a battleground state with the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. Romney said then that the foreclosure process should "run its course and hit the bottom." It also brings up his op-ed piece "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," his attack on Obama's decision to withdraw from Iraq, his vow to veto the DREAM Act that would give the children of some undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship and his support for Republican Representative Paul Ryan's budget (which the onscreen text warns "ends Medicare as we know it -- remember?")