The Obama campaign has for the first time launched a TV attack ad against GOP rival Mitt Romney using the now-infamous leaked fundraiser video that shows Romney disparaging "47 percent" of voters as irresponsible government-dependents and self-perceived "victims."
The spot, which begins airing today in Ohio, also goes after Romney for personally paying a lower effective tax rate than some middle income-earners.
"Mitt Romney attacked 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax - including veterans, elderly, the disabled," the narrator says. "Doesn't the president have to worry about everyone? Mitt Romney paid just 14.1 percent in taxes last year. He keeps millions in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. He won't release his tax returns before 2010.
"Maybe instead of attacking others on taxes," the ad says, "Romney should come clean on his."
It should be noted that when Romney told donors in the fundraising video that he did "not need to worry" about 47 percent of the country, he was speaking politically, in terms of trying to win their votes. He did not, in context, suggest that he wouldn't care about those voters as president. The Obama campaign twists that in this ad.
"The Obama campaign and its allies have repeatedly shown a reckless disregard for the truth - all while claiming to be concerned with 'the facts,'" said Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. "Even President Obama himself admitted his campaign has gone 'overboard' and made mistakes. The real test now is whether or not the President will change course and honor his long-discarded promise to change the tone in Washington."
In an unaired portion of a "60 Minutes" interview that ran Sunday night, Obama conceded that ads run by his campaign sometimes may have gone "overboard" in presenting the facts.
"Do we see sometimes us going overboard in our campaign? Are there mistakes that are made, are there areas where there's no doubt that somebody could dispute how we are presenting things? You know, that happens in politics," he said.
"The truth of the matter is, most of the time we're having a vigorous debate about a vision for the country, and there's a lot at stake in this election. So, is it going to be sharp sometimes? Absolutely. But will the American people ultimately have a good sense of where I want to take the country and where Governor Romney wants to take the country? I think they will."
Romney also gave an interview to "60 Minutes," but was not asked about the accuracy or tone of his ads. Independent fact-checkers have scrutinized his campaign, as they have Obama's, for ads that have stretched the truth and made questionable presentations of facts.