AdWatch: Obama’s ‘Trust’ vs. Romney’s ’12 Million Jobs’

The Associated Press AdWatch series breaks down the latest campaign ads. First, Kevin Freking looks at Obama’s new Trust ad:

TITLE: Trust

LENGTH: 30 seconds

AIRING: This ad by the Obama campaign is airing in the closely contested states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.

SCRIPT: Republican nominee Mitt Romney said in the first presidential debate that he’s “not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That’s not my plan.” This ad takes issue with that statement, citing a report from the Tax Policy Center. The narrator asks: “Why won’t Romney level with us about his tax plan, which gives the wealthy huge new tax breaks?” The ad’s answer is “because, according to experts, he’d have to raise taxes on the middle class or increase the deficit to pay for it.”

KEY IMAGES: The ad starts with the clip from the Denver debate in which Romney disputes Obama’s characterization of his tax plan. It cuts to an image of NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell citing the Tax Policy Center report. As the narrator questions Romney’s assertion, it shows images of the GOP nominee talking during the debate as Obama looks down. The ad concludes by shifting from the debate to the Oval Office: “If we can’t trust him here, how can we ever trust him here?” the narrator asks.

Watch the ad:

ANALYSIS: Romney’s debate performance won high marks from across the political spectrum. In it, he forcefully rejected one of the president’s major lines of attack — that Romney’s tax cuts largely benefit the wealthy and would end up increasing the tax burden for middle-income Americans.

To support his charge, Obama relies on a study from the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research group, that found Romney’s proposed 20 percent across-the-board rate cut and repeal of the estate tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax would disproportionately benefit high-income households. The report concluded that it would be impossible for Romney to cut rates as he has promised without increasing the deficit — which he vows not to do — or raising taxes on middle-income households.

The report projected that the tax cuts would decrease revenue by about $480 billion in 2015, which the Obama campaign extrapolates to about $5 trillion over 10 years. Some conservative economists take issue with the Tax Policy Center’s report, arguing that tax cuts allow people to make more income, which in turn creates more revenue for the government.

In effect, Romney is emphasizing the benefits of his tax plan without spelling out any of the trade-offs. Obama may not have gotten that point across as well as he wanted to on debate night, so he’s taking a second crack at it in the ad.

Next up: Henry C. Jackson examines Mitt Romney’s 12 Million Jobs.

TITLE: 12 Million Jobs

LENGTH: 30 seconds

AIRING: Mitt Romney’s campaign did not disclose where this ad is running.

KEY IMAGES: The ad shows GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney getting behind the wheel of an SUV, then cuts to Romney standing and speaking into the camera. As he narrates, clips show workers — a man tinkering with computer wires, a factory worker using a tool as sparks shoot up — and Romney talking to people.

Text on the screen says: “Mitt Romney in his own words” and he says: “Let me tell you how I will create 12 million jobs when President Obama couldn’t. First, my energy independence policy means more than 3 million new jobs, many of them in manufacturing.” He continues: “My tax reform plan to lower rates for the middle class and for small business creates 7 million more. And expanding trade, cracking down on China, and improving job training takes us to over 12 million new jobs.”

Watch the ad:

ANALYSIS: Coming off a strong debate performance, Romney is focusing on the economy in an ad in which he discusses his pledge to create 12 million jobs during his four years in office, if he is elected. While he promises at the outset of this spot to “tell you how,” the ad is decidedly short on details.

Under his energy plan, states would be empowered to control onshore energy development, offshore areas would be open for development and the government would help encourage energy development by the private sector. But the job-creation claim goes unsupported.

Details are missing, too, when the ad says his tax plan will create jobs by lowering rates. Ditto on exactly how trade expansion and cracking down on China translate into specific numbers of jobs.

Romney’s overall job-creation pledge would represent a significant bump from the current rate of job growth, but it falls short of what he has said would be characteristic of a “normal recovery.” Romney has said that in that scenario, about 500,000 jobs would need to be created per month — double the rate he calls for in the ad. Several independent economists, including Moody’s Analytics, also have projected that the economy will gain 12 million new jobs by 2016 — regardless of who is elected on Nov. 6.

Beyond its numbers and plans, Romney’s ad does suggest where his focus will be in the campaigns’ final stretch. With an emphasis on the economy and job creation, Romney is contrasting his own approach with Obama’s.

MORE: Complete Coverage of the 2012 Election from XFINITY

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