A new campaign ad from President Obama's reelection campaign reinforces… (YouTube )
Tied to the launch of the public phase of President Obama's reelection bid this the weekend, his campaign is on the air with a new 60-second ad that aims to sell skeptical voters on the notion of progress under his leadership.
It's not quite "Morning in America," the iconic Ronald Reagan ad from the 1984 campaign that declared the nation "prouder, and stronger, and better" than four years earlier. It instead leads with a sober reminder of the "economic meltdown" of 2008.
The Obama spot then pivots to a new president who would not concede that "our best days were behind us," and touts the resurgent U.S. auto industry and 4.2-million new jobs.
There's also a nod to foreign policy achievements — the death of Osama bin Laden, "brought to justice by our greatest heroes," the ad notes. And the return of troops from Iraq.
It closes with an acknowledgment that, "We're not there yet. It's still too hard for many. But we’re coming back. Because America’s greatness comes from a strong middle class. Because you don’t quit. And neither does he."
In an email to supporters, campaign manager Jim Messina said the ad was a sign the campaign was "going on offense." Indeed, the first campaign ads were defensive, responding to attack ads from independent conservative groups.
"This ad defines the last three years, reminding voters in key battleground states about the unprecedented situation the president faced when he came into office — and how his leadership put us on a path forward," Messina writes.
Obama held his first public campaign rallies on Saturday, in Ohio and Virginia. At the end of each, he offered another twist on a Reagan hallmark, the question of whether voters were better off now than they were four years ago.
The real question, Obama said, was whether the nation would be better off in the future without taking the steps that he would continue to fight for in a second term.
Republicans won't allow him to redefine the race so easily.
"After a doubling of gas prices, declining incomes, millions of foreclosures, and record levels of unemployment, Americans know they’re not better off than they were four years ago," Romney spokesman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement responding to the ad. "Mitt Romney’s pro-growth agenda will get America back on track and stop the middle-class squeeze of the Obama economy."