A political action committee that backs President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is starting a social media advertising blitz against Mitt Romney one year before voters go to the polls to choose the next president.
Priorities USA Action, a so-called super committee that takes unlimited donation checks and is run by former Obama aides, is buying $100,000 in ads on the websites of Facebook Inc., Google Inc. and Google’s YouTube.
The ad, titled “Mitt Romney’s America,” asserts that the former Massachusetts governor would favor investors rather than middle-income voters, would deregulate Wall Street and let struggling homeowners face foreclosure.
The Internet video offers a glimpse into how Democrats are trying to define the former private equity executive with attacks that will likely reappear in television ads if Romney wins the Republican nomination.
“By any measure it looks like Mitt Romney is in the lead for the nomination so we felt it important for people to know the consequences of him being elected,” said Bill Burton, senior strategist for the group and a former Obama spokesman.
It’s the third anti-Romney ad that Priorities USA Action has produced and the first it is paying other websites to run. By using social media, the group can also gain exposure from those who see the ad and then elect to “follow” them in the future, building a network of potential activists and donors for Obama’s re-election.
‘The Romney Rule’
The previous ad, called “The Romney Rule,” claimed the Republican presidential hopeful believes that millionaires shouldn’t have higher tax rates than teachers.
The latest ad uses clips from Romney’s appearances at campaign events to try to paint him as someone who favors corporations rather than individuals, and the rich not the poor.
“Corporations are people,” he says in one clip. In another he says, “Don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it hit the bottom.”
The focus on Romney by Priorities USA Action shows that Democrats are convinced he will win the nomination, not Herman Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive officer who is ahead in some polls. Cain’s campaign has been shaken this week by a report by Politico that he faced sexual harassment complaints by at least two women while head of the American Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Cain denied he harassed women and said he was falsely accused. He said one of the claims against him was settled for an undisclosed financial amount.
The focus on Romney also suggests Burton and his allies are downgrading the chances the nomination can be won by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who shot to the top of the polls after he announced his candidacy in August only to slip into single-digits after debate performances that he said were unimpressive.
Priorities USA Action raised $3.1 million in the first half of the year, more than half from Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of Dreamworks Animation who helped found the group. When the super committee’s donations are added to its companion group, Priorities USA, which doesn’t disclose its donors, the combined total raised in the first six months was about $5 million. The group will report its year-end fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission in January.
A pro-Romney super committee called Restore Our Future raised $12.3 million in the first half of the year, including a $1 million gift from John Paulson, a hedge fund manager.