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Obama Campaign Bets Big on Auto Bailout Ads

by on May 14, 2012

Three months before the Republican party has even elected an opponent, the Obama campaign is going on the offensive. Three advertisements were released May 9 as part of an aggressive $25 million media blitz to gain ground in nine swing states, from New Hampshire, Iowa, and Colorado to Virginia, North Carolina, and Nevada. Nearly $10 million will be evenly split to reach voters in Ohio and Florida.

Two of the 30-second spots hail President Obama’s decision to bail out the struggling auto industry in 2009. In the first ad, which is airing only in Ohio, autoworker Brian Slagle thanks the president for making decisions that kept his job from being eliminated. “The auto industry was crashing down, and I was scared to death,” says the young father. “I got laid off. I’m driving in [to work] this morning because of him.”

In “Succeed,” Obama talks about the unpopular decision to intervene in the financial fiasco. “I was convinced it was the right thing to do,” Obama explains. “It was not just the million jobs at stake. It’s what built our middle class – creating products stamped with the words ‘Made in America.’” The commercial will air in battleground states Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa and Colorado.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney has answered back by saying the ads are an “attempt to distract voters from the economy.” As the former governor of Massachusetts, Romney favored a structured bankruptcy settlement for the automakers in 2009, a strategy he continues to endorse.

Romney argues that if GM and Chrysler were forced into bankruptcy without government assistance, they would have restructured and returned to probability quicker. Many have said that this would have prevented the need for the $85 billion bailout, and while the automakers have repaid some of the loans, it is estimated that the government will have to foot the bill for $21.7 billion.

Romney’s campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg told ABC News, “Mitt Romney proposed the right course for the automakers – a structured bankruptcy process to allow them to emerge as sustainable and profitable enterprises. We deserve better from our president than cheap political attacks designed to cover up record-high unemployment, falling incomes, and out-of-control spending and debt.”

But Obama told ABC News on May 10 that had America followed Romney’s advice, “GM and Chrysler would have gone under, and we would have lost probably a million jobs throughout the Midwest.”

The third ad, “Reverse,” touts the administration’s work in helping America recover from a crashing stock market and skyrocketing job losses. Airing in Nevada and Florida, the video credits the Economic Stimulus Act, the auto bailout as well as cuts to small business and payroll taxes with creating 4.25 million jobs.

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