WASHINGTON -- A new ad unveiled Tuesday by conservative group Crossroads GPS blasts President Obama on increasing the national debt, the latest attack on the administration funded by well-financed outside groups.
Crossroads GPS, the nonprofit arm of the Republican mega-group founded in part by Karl Rove, put $7 million into the television buy, which launched its two-week run Tuesday in 10 key presidential swing states including Colorado, Florida and Ohio.
The ad shows a ticking stopwatch, depicting rapidly accumulating national debt that, according to the commercial, is hampering the country’s economic growth.
“While Europe is in the throes of debt-fueled economic crisis, President Obama keeps spending and charging more on the nation’s maxed-out credit cards,” said the group’s president, Steven Law, in a statement. “We want to encourage a serious debate on the national debt that transcends President Obama’s class-warfare tax hikes.”
The ad is the latest in a month-long, $25-million television campaign by Crossroads GPS. Conservative outside groups -- particularly nonprofit groups like Crossroads GPS that do not disclose their donors -- have been launching the bulk of the on-air attacks against Obama, providing air cover for presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney as he pivots to the general election.
Crossroads GPS’ ads have been dinged by independent fact-checkers for using misleading figures to heap blame on Obama for the national debt. The Washington Posts’ Glenn Kessler said of an earlier ad that the group “exaggerates Obama’s impact on the rise of the debt.”
The Obama campaign did not have an immediate response to the new commercial, but they’ve been watching ads by Crossroads GPS and other outside groups closely, and often weigh in with fact checks of their own. Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter appeared in a Web video last month ripping apart an earlier Crossroads ad. The title of the video: “Get the facts on Karl Rove’s BS.”
Bill Burton, head of the pro-Obama “super PAC” Priorities USA Action, responded to Crossroads’ ad with a quick pivot to Romney.
Burton pointed to Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, where acquired companies were sometimes leveraged with debt, and as Massachusetts governor, where state debt rose where he was in office, as evidence of Romney’s own economic weaknesses.
“In business and government, Romney has always been for more debt at the expense of the middle class, especially when it stood to make the wealthy, wealthier,” Burton said.