The Obama campaign's first major television ad of the 2012 race targeted… (YouTube )
Reporting from Washington — Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group targeted by President Obama in his first reelection television ad, fired back Thursday by accusing him of "attack[ing] a grass-roots group ... in an attempt to divert attention and shrug off blame."
Tim Phillips, president of the organization, released a statement rejecting the claim in Obama's ad that the group is backed by "secretive billionaires," saying it has nearly 2 million activists across the country and 34 state chapters.
As a nonprofit organization, AFP does not have to reveal its donors, but the conservative billionaire David Koch has said that he and his brother Charles gave money to launch the group. David Koch is currently the chairman of the group's foundation. AFP has been one of Obama's staunchest critics and this week launched a $6-million TV ad campaign hammering the president for his administration's support for the failed solar energy company Solyndra.
In response, Obama's reelection campaign pushed back with its own multistate campaign defending his ethics and energy policy.
The back-and-forth signals how fiercely the campaign will be waged in the coming year, with Republican-allied outside groups joining the GOP nominee in pounding Obama.
"We will not allow the president to run from his record on Solyndra; a stunning example of government cronyism that cost taxpayers over $530 million and cost over 1,000 Americans their jobs — all in pursuit of the president's global warming ideological agenda," Phillips said. "We will not sit back and allow the president to attack large swaths of citizens who believe in the fundamental truth of economic freedom.
"We will continue to support private industry and job growth, even as the president blocks efforts like the Keystone pipeline that would create good-paying private-sector jobs and help our economy recover. Unfortunately, President Obama's idea of job growth is increasing unemployment benefits, which does little other than keep unemployment high while causing our national debt to skyrocket."