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Obama’s new ad hits Romney on Massachusetts economy

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
The Ticket

President Barack Obama's campaign on Monday unleashed a new ad hitting Mitt Romney's record on job growth as governor of Massachusetts, targeting voters in nine pivotal battleground states including Ohio and Virginia. The new commercial also pointedly refers to Romney's vast personal wealth.

The minute-long "Heard it Before"ad  will also run in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada and Pennsylvania, according to the campaign. (And yes, voters who watch it may get, as Yogi Berra famously put it, "déja-vu all over again.")

The video takes aim at Romney's core argument on the economy—that as a wildly successful businessman, he's the better candidate to diagnose and cure the country's anemic job growth. The Obama campaign counters that the Republican standard-bearer's record in Massachusetts gives the lie to that claim."I speak the language of business. I know how jobs are created," Romney says onscreen in a moment captured when he was running for governor—but that could come from his stump speech in 2012.

Against the backdrop of a shuttered factory, an abandoned office space and a call center in India, the ad notes that Massachusetts slipped to 47th in job creation on his watch. (The Romney campaign response notes that unemployment fell from 5.6 percent to 4.7 percent over that same period, while the national unemployment rate today is 8.2 percent. The Obama campaign had previously anticipated this counterattack and essentially argued that good data in Massachusetts reflected the national economy climbing out of a recession, while Romney was responsible for the bad news.)

The Obama ad also notes that Romney "cut taxes for millionaires like himself … while raising them on the middle class."

But the latest jobs report has given the Romney camp an easy rejoinder to attacks like this one.

"Having abandoned 'Hope and Change,' the Obama campaign only 'Hopes To Change The Subject' from an abysmal jobs report. We're happy to compare the 4.7 percent unemployment rate Mitt Romney achieved in Massachusetts to President Obama's weak record any day," Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement.

"President Obama's policies have failed to get Americans back to work—it's time for a president who has worked in the real world economy and understands how to get this economy moving again," she said.

The Obama assault on Romney's time as governor came after prominent Democrats, including former president Bill Clinton, expressed unease with the incumbent's barbed attacks on his rival's record in private equity.

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