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N2K Presidential Race: Presidential Ads Are a Theme Party

National Journal

As the general election campaign kicks into high gear, new television commercials and Web videos are coming fast and furious from the presidential candidates and their allied organizations.

This avalanche of ads covers such a wide variety of subjects -- everything from gas prices to health care to auto bailouts -- that it can be difficult to detect any consistent, concrete strategy behind their release.

Yet in recent weeks, a specific (albeit subtle) trend has emerged: political commercials timed to coincide with widely-observed occasions and holidays. There have been ads timed to Mother’s Day and graduation, to Memorial Day and the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s shooting.

We haven't seen the last of these event-observing political ads, either. On the contrary, voters can look forward to a summer filled with politicians' campaign commercials celebrating Father's Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Here's to hoping they get it out of their system before Halloween. Read more

Tim Alberta
@HotlineAlberta 

NATIONAL JOURNAL
’S PRIMARY REPORT

Obama's Last Line of Defense NEW!
[National Journal, 5/24/12] As Ron Brownstein writes, Obama's support among socially-liberal, upscale white women, as well as minorities, could cushion him against a large loss among all other white voters.

Obama's Rush to Define Romney
[National Journal, 5/24/12] Polls this week show Obama and Romney in a dead heat in the contest for president, and the common assumption is that the tie-breaker will be the candidate who ultimately convinces the public he is the more capable steward of the economy. But there is another bit of survey data that confounds the simplicity of the political expectations of 2012.

Romney's Legacy a Key Issue as Obama Visits Iowa
[Des Moines Register, 5/24/12] The president is in Iowa today for both an official White House event and a campaign event, where he’ll likely discuss economic fairness. The Democratic National Committee is sending around a video of Romney’s infamous “Corporations are people too, my friend” comment, which happened in Iowa last summer. Meanwhile, here are the Republican National Committee’s talking points for Obama’s visit.

Why the Election--Once Again--Might Be Out of Obama's Hands
[National Journal, 5/24/12] For the third time in as many years, a spring crisis in the eurozone--the worst one yet--could determine the fate of the frail U.S. economy, and Obama's future, writes Michael Hirsh. All Obama can do is watch the show. And try to get some sleep. 


Obama Campaign Gets Wise to GOP Twitter Tricks NEW!
[National Journal, 5/24/12] Obama announced a seemingly-impromptu Twitter Q&A on Thursday night that actually turned out to be carefully planned, but the last-minute announcement allowed Obama to avoid Republicans taking over the conversation on social media.

On Health Care, Romney Goes Retro
[The New Republic, 5/23/12] Jonathan Cohn takes a detailed look at Romney’s health care agenda -- repealing "ObamaCare," transforming Medicare and Medicaid -- and argues that up to 58 million people could wind up without health insurance.

Romney: Obama Doesn't Get the Economy 
[National Journal, 5/24/12] Romney fired back against Obama’s barrage of attack ads on his work in private equity at Bain Capital, arguing that the president is “attacking” capitalism. 

'President Romney' Evoked in Second TV Spot
[National Journal, 5/24/12] Romney’s campaign released its second ad of the general election season, continuing its theme of what the first day of a Romney presidency might look like. “Day One, Part Two” says Romney will repeal “job-killing regulations” and make China “play by the rules” on trade.

Gingrich: Romney Might Be 'Surprisingly Good President' NEW!
[National Journal, 5/24/12] Speaking on MSNBC, Gingrich praised Romney for his no-holds-barred strategy on the campaign trail, and also explained his love of animals.

Romney Encounters Pushback on Education at Charter School
[National Journal, 5/24/12] Romney visited a charter school in a struggling African-American neighborhood on Thursday and ran into some pushback from educators and protesters who took issue with his ideas. At a roundtable with 11 teachers and administrators, Romney said the achievement gap between minority and nonminority students is “the civil rights issue of our time.”

Biden Lunching for Campaign Cash  
[CNN, 5/24/12] Vice President Joe Biden campaigned in North Carolina this morning while Obama was campaigning in California. For $10,000, donors could attend a fundraising luncheon at a private residence in Charlotte with the vice president.

Obama Not Taking Role in Wisconsin Recall Clash
[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/23/12] Ahead of the upcoming Wisconsin recall elections, Obama’s forces are pitching in with voter turnout and fundraising appeals. But the president himself has avoided taking a vocal role, and there is little expectation of an Obama visit to the state in the homestretch of the campaign. 

Buy Early and Often
[National Journal, 5/23/12] In an era of super PAC geysers, cable coverage, irritable bloggers, and hyper-partisanship, presidential candidates find themselves overwhelmed by distractions, Hotline’s Reid Wilson writes. So imagine how difficult it has become for candidates further down the ticket to control their messages.

Rob Portman: Romney’s VP Pick?
[Washington Post, 5/23/12]  For weeks, buzz about the Ohio senator’s status in the veep sweepstakes has been intense, much of it fueled by theories about how he might help Romney carry a critical swing state. The Post profiles this “regular guy.” 

America's New Swing Region
[National Journal, 5/24/12] The Mountain West region, including Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, should no longer be considered a reliably conservative and Republican area; it is now the new swing region of the country, Ruy Teixeira writes. In the 2008 presidential election, Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico all went for Barack Obama, and these states are all sure to be hotly contested this November.

Political Ads Don't Tell Full Story on Private Equity
[New York Times, 5/23/12] If you ask Team Obama, Romney and the private equity firm he cofounded destroyed companies, jobs, and families. But if you ask Romney’s campaign, Bain Capital’s investments helped job growth. So which version is true? Job creation (or destruction) was never actually part of the industry’s mission statement.  

Romney in Massachusetts: The Lost Years
[Politico, 5/23/12] By choosing to emphasize his business experience running the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and Bain Capital over his years as governor of Massachusetts, Romney is shielding himself from attacks on his centrist governing history.

Romney Faces Latino Challenge
[Wall Street Journal, 5/23/12] Obama maintains a large lead among Hispanic voters, while Romney will have to work to improve his standing with this key, fast-growing constituency. But polls also suggest that the president faces a challenge in actually getting Hispanic voters to the polls. Meanwhile, Romney was notably silent on immigration during a luncheon of the Latino Coalition on Wednesday. 

Search for Romney's Running Mate in Audition Phase
[Associated Press, 5/24/12] As Team Romney evaluates potential running mates, top Republicans with a possible shot at the veep spot are starting to engage in unofficial public tryouts for the traditional vice presidential role: attack dog. 

Hawaii Verifies Obama's Birth; Arizona Says Case Closed
[Wall Street Journal, 5/23/12] Hawaii on Wednesday verified to Arizona that it has Obama's birth certificate, ending a two-month tussle between the states and clearing the way for the president's name to be on Arizona's November ballot. Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who initiated the probe, has apologized.

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