-- Crossroads GPS, a pro-Republican group founded by Karl Rove, announced this morning that it will spend $9.7 million to air a new anti-Obama television ad in 10 swing states starting Wednesday.
The 60-second commercial is the work of veteran political strategist Larry McCarthy, who is perhaps best known for creating the controversial Willie Horton ad in the 1988 presidential election. The new spot features a mother whose children have grown up and must live at home after college because they can't find jobs. It knocks President Obama for increasing government spending during his first term and expanding the federal debt.
"How will my kids pay that off when they can't even find jobs?" the mother in the ad asks.
In an article breaking the story about the ad, the New York Times noted that the tone of the commercial is noticeably softer than McCarthy's previous work:
[W]hat Mr. McCarthy and Crossroads have produced is not the kind of searing denunciation of President Obama that their track records would suggest. More soft-pedal than Swift Boat, the 60-second advertisement, complete with special effects, is a deeply researched, delicately worded story of a struggling family; its relatively low-key tone is all the more striking, coming at a point in the campaign when each side is accusing the other of excessive negativity.
"This ad drives home the impact President Obama's policies are having on American families and why those policies need to be changed," said Steven Law, president of Crossroads GPS. "We want there to be a serious debate on the real issues people are facing in this country, and this ad expresses the human element of that debate."
The ad buy is part of a larger $25 million issue campaign that Crossroads GPS is launching, and represents a significant expenditure this early in the general election cycle. Crossroads GPS is a 501(c)(4) non-profit that is not required to publicly disclose information about its donors.
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