By Michael A. Memoli
12:58 PM PST, November 22, 2011
In his first television ad of the presidential campaign, Mitt Romney intended to use President Obama's words during the 2008 presidential race against him (see below). But Democrats are calling the spot a "deceitful and dishonest attack" because it takes then-candidate Obama's words out of context.
The Romney campaign ad, which began airing in New Hampshire on Tuesday just as Obama came to the state, uses footage from an Obama campaign event in Londonderry, N.H., in the final weeks of the 2008 race, when the Illinois senator and Democratic nominee was making his case to voters on the economy.
Among the lines from that speech recycled in the Romney ad is Obama saying: "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."
But that's just a sliver of what Obama actually said. In fact, Obama that day was quoting an unnamed campaign advisor for Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee.
"Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," Obama said.
Romney's campaign did provide the full context of the quote in a release announcing the new ad Monday night. But for the viewers watching, there is no such disclaimer.
Romney's advisors say the ad is fair because Obama is now "desperate not to talk about the economy," just three years after he mocked his opponent for the same.
But Democrats found that explanation wanting, and have been circulating critical assessments of the Romney spot all day.
"Mitt Romney is a serial deceiver — and his deceptions know no bounds," Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse wrote to reporters.
PolitiFact, a fact-checking service from the St. Petersburg Times, said the ad earned its "Pants on Fire" designation. The editors say the Romney campaign could have made the same argument about the economy "without distorting Obama's words" and taking them out of context in a "ridiculously misleading way."
Democrats also circulated this counter ad from the liberal blog ThinkProgress, which uses the Romney campaign's logic against their candidate. It is a series of short, out-of-context remarks from Romney, like: "Let us just raise your taxes some more," and, "There's nothing unique about the United States."
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