Crossroads GPS, the independent group founded in part by Karl Rove, today launched a whopping $20 million Summer TV ad campaign assailing President Obama’s economic record.
The first phase of the campaign features a TV ad called “Shovel Ready,” which will be aired on national cable news and in 10 states including battleground states Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, and Virginia.
Crossroads GPS spokesman Jonathan Collegio said the initial ad buy will be for $5 million, running for two weeks. The other $15 million in ads will be spent over the next two months.
Crossroads GPS is not required by law to identify its donors. Officials from the group classify it under the tax code as a “social welfare” organization, spending a majority of its sources on its social welfare mission, and thus not obligated to provide its donor list.
In the 2010 elections, President Obama tried to rally opposition to such groups. Since then, two former White House staffers – former deputy press secretary Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, chief of staff to the former chief of staff – started their own independent group under the same provision in the tax code as Crossroads GPS.
This latest Crossroads GPS ad attempts to damn the president with his own statements about the economy, showing him saying in June 2010 that the economy “is now growing at a good clip,” after which the ad uses graphics attributed to NBC suggesting that since President Obama took office, unemployment has increased 25%, the national debt increased 35%, and the price of gas has increased by 104%
“Obama’s $830 billion stimulus failed,” the ad says. The graphic for this claim cites the Congressional Budget Office.
Actually, the CBO reported in May that the stimulus bill in the first quarter of 2011 raised the real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product by between 1.1 percent and 3.1 percent; lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.6 percentage points and 1.8 percentage points; and increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 3.3 million.
Collegio said the citation of CBO was intended for the total dollar figure of the stimulus bill, not that the stimulus bill “failed.”
The ad then features President Obama from earlier this month, joking with his Jobs and Competitiveness Council that “shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.”
“Fourteen million out of work, American drowning in debt, it’s time to take away Obama’s blank check,” the narrator says, with a phone number for viewers to call to “tell Congress no more blank checks.”
Crossroads GPS spokesman Collegio told ABC News that the group’s research indicates “folks around the country wanted to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. They did that with the stimulus, and now it’s time to bring to light the facts of his economic record and use them as a way to frame the debate as Congress debates jobs policy and debt.”
Collegio said the message is not intended to suggest Congress should vote against raising the debt ceiling. The position of the group, he said, is to raise the debt limit only in tandem with “deep spending cuts and tough spending controls”
“It’s important to note as Democrats are talking about higher taxes and ‘Stimulus – part 3,’ that those policies don’t work,” he said.