LENGTH: Two minutes.
AIRING: In the closely contested states of New Hampshire, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, and Colorado.
SCRIPT: Speaking into the camera, President Barack Obama says when he took office the nation was losing 800,000 jobs a month and was mired in Iraq. "Today, I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again. But we have much more to do to get folks back to work and make the middle class secure again," he says. He touts a plan to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs and to help businesses double their exports. He says he'd cut oil imports in half and produce more energy from the nation's myriad resources, including oil, natural gas, wind, solar and what he described as "clean coal." To ensure a skilled workforce, he wants to expand student aid, add 100,000 new math and science teachers and train 2 million people at the nation's community colleges. Obama also says he would reduce the deficit by $4 trillion over the coming decade by asking the wealthy to pay higher taxes and using money now going to the war effort in Afghanistan and apply half the savings to the debt.
KEY IMAGES: The ad begins with a seated Obama, in a dark suit and tie with a table in the background, explaining why he believes the nation is on the right track under his presidency. It cuts to people working at a plant as he explains his proposal to increase exports. Images follow of oil wells, windmills and other energy sources he says need to be tapped to cut oil imports. Next are images of teachers and students as he explains his education initiative. Then comes the American flag and the president talking to voters as he speaks of cutting the deficit. He concludes by asking viewers to read his plan. "Compare it to Gov. Romney's and decide for yourself," he says.
ANALYSIS: With early voting beginning in swing states, the president is already making his closing argument with an unusually long ad that addresses two of voters' biggest concerns: jobs and the deficit.
Obama's pledge to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs faces the headwind of a long-term decline in that sector of the economy. In 2002, there were nearly 15.6 million manufacturing jobs in the United States. That number fell to 12.5 million by the time Obama came into office in January 2009. The latest estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics place the number of manufacturing jobs at nearly 12 million. Obama can point to gains since 2010, but over the course of his presidency, the slide in manufacturing jobs has slowed but not ended.
On the debt, annual deficits have exceeded $1 trillion every year under Obama. There's room for lawmakers from both parties to take responsibility for this. Leaders of the president's deficit commission wrote last fall that they were encouraged by Obama's goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, but his proposal "falls far short of this goal by counting war savings that were already planned." And, because the Afghan war has been largely financed by borrowing, ending it doesn't reverse the flow of red ink, it only slows it. The leaders of the commission also expressed disappointment in Obama's failure to deal with the long-term costs of Social Security and Medicare. "We can't simply cut or tax our way out of this problem," they said.
Romney is running an ad — his campaign won't say where — similar in style to Obama's. In that ad, Romney also speaks into the camera in an attempt to convince voters that he can do a better job fixing the economy than the president.
This type of straightforward candidate-as-narrator ad is more commonly used during the closing days of major races. Both of these ads come as early voting gets under way in some states.
EDITOR'S NOTE _ An occasional look at the claims in political advertising