A crucial phase of President Obama's endangered reelection bid is now underway: the effort to define Mitt Romney in negative terms before voters can form a more positive image of the Republican challenger.
The president's campaign has just released a new attack ad that portrays Romney as "a job destroyer." The two-minute spot is part of an effort to disqualify Romney in the minds of a key group of swing voters -- working-class white men.
As a result, it departs from the usual diverse mix of ad subjects that characterizes the president's politics. In this one, virtually everyone appearing on camera is a white man.
More notable, perhaps, is where the ad buy is mainly aimed: Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Iowa. The electoral map can and probably will change over the next five-and-a-half months, but those states have now been singled out by Obama strategists as the battlegrounds of battlegrounds in 2012. (The new spots are also airing in Pennsylvania, but the Pittsburgh media market reaches much of eastern Ohio, home to many of the voters the Obama camp is trying to influence).