President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney lashed out at each other Tuesday, releasing dueling ads calling attention to recent scandals surrounding their respective policies and political allies.
In a serious, darkly-toned ad, the Romney campaign highlights what it believes is President Obama's waste of taxpayer dollars, citing cases where clean energy firms backed by the White House have failed completely or are under scrutiny.
Meanwhile, in a humorous ad accompanied by a circus-like soundtrack, the Obama campaign criticizes Romney for allying with real estate tycoon and "birther" Donald Trump.
"Obama's Department of Energy has handed out billions of dollars in loans and grants. Now they're cutting jobs and their stock is near all-time lows," the Romney ad's voiceover declares, specifically citing Solyndra, ECOtality and SunPower, three energy companies that have either folded, cut jobs or had significant losses after receiving taxpayer-backed loans from the Obama administration.
"The Inspector General said contracts were steered to 'friends and family'," the voiceover continues, citing a report by conservative columnist Peter Schweizer.
"According to the Department of Energy's own numbers...$16.4 billion of the $20.5 billion in [clean energy] loans granted as of Sept. 15 went to companies either run by or primarily owned by Obama financial backers," Schweizer wrote in a November Newsweek article promoting his new book.
"Obama is giving taxpayer money to big donors and then watching them lose it," the voiceover concludes.
Viewers are then directed to visit ObamaIsntWorking.com, a Romney-backed website focusing solely on the president's economic policies featuring a countdown to the general election.
Also released Tuesday, Obama's anti-birther ad highlights the growing political alliance between the former Massachusetts governor and Donald Trump, a reality TV star and real estate mogul famous for his remarks questioning the president's birthplace.
Called "Two Republican Nominees," the Obama ad begins by showing various clips of 2008 Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., standing up for then candidate Obama when members of his audiences at various speeches would call Obama's credentials as a Christian American into question.
"As Republican nominee, John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party...Why won't Mitt Romney do the same?" the ad asks.
"He's an Arab," one audience member is shown saying, while McCain shakes his head. "No ma'am," he answers, "he is a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with."
As the ad's music becomes more comical, clips of Donald Trump questioning the birthplace of the president are shown.
"The candidate cannot be responsible for everything their supporters say," Romney senior advisor Eric Fehrnstrom is shown telling CNN Friday.
"McCain and Romney: Two Republican nominees. Only one willing to lead," the ad's video text then reads.
Questions have arisen after the Romney campaign publicly announced a joint fundraising event with Donald Trump last week. Some pundits see the event, to take place tonight at Trump Towers in Las Vegas, and the Romney-Trump alliance as being inappropriate considering Trump's birther stance.
When asked about Trump's comments Monday night, Romney told reporters on his plane, "You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me, and my guess is that they don't all agree with everything I believe in...But I need to get to 50.1 percent or more, and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."
Some political pundits have criticized Romney for not further repudiating the Donald.
Former president of Chicago Theological Seminary Susan Thistlewaite, in a guest piece in the Washington Post today wrote, "It does not speak well of the values of the Romney campaign that it continues to associate itself with these views through Donald Trump."
Conservative columnist George Will told ABC's "This Week," "What voter is going to vote for him because he's seen with Donald Trump? The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me."
However, the Romney campaign denies any teaming up with Trump will mean endorsing his views.
As the Obama anti-birther ad runs today, Romney will, like his own ad, focus on the economic state of the country - and his campaign - in his fundraiser with Trump and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
by RTT Staff Writer
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