YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Obama ad: As governor, Romney 'No. 1' at running up state debt

June 12, 2012|By Christi Parsons
  • A screenshot of the Obama campaign's new ad, "Number One."
A screenshot of the Obama campaign's new ad, "Number One." ( / Los Angeles…)

President Obama’s campaign released a slightly sarcastic new ad against Mitt Romney today, which opens with the assertion that, when the Republican was governor of Massachusetts, the state was “No. 1.”

“No. 1 in state debt,” the voice-over intones, as the screen shows a scrolling list of states and then comes to rest on a large “1.”

While Romney was governor, the ad says, the Massachusetts per-capita debt was highest in the nation.

Technically speaking, the state didn't achieve that No. 1 distinction until three months after Romney left the governor's office. In its 2007 report of state debt medians, published three months after Romney left the governor’s office, Moody’s Investors Service ranked Massachusetts first in the nation in net tax-supported debt per capita.

But that was right after Romney's time at the helm.

Still, the Romney team says the ad is a “distortion.” Romney’s term as governor saw balanced budgets, closure of a budget shortfall and a credit rating upgrade, his team says.

“President Obama will do anything to distract from his abysmal economic record and, despite that record, the fact that he thinks the private sector is ‘doing fine,’ ” said Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman.

The Obama campaign may be looking to retool its message a little right now. The president is traveling to Cleveland this week for a speech that advisors are signaling will make new distinctions between the candidates.

But the new ad tracks with the Obama campaign’s current line of argument. It is expected to air in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Follow Politics Now on Twitter

Los Angeles Times Articles