AdWatch: Romney "day one" vows oversimplify

May 24, 2012 - 5:28 PM
Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney participates in a round table discussion at the Universal Bluford Charter School, Thursday, May 24, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

WASHINGTON (AP) — TITLE: "Day One: Part Two."

LENGTH: 30 seconds.

AIRING: Mitt Romney's campaign would not identify states where the ad will air.

KEY IMAGES: Still photos and video of children in a classroom, children playing, Republican presidential candidate Romney in a factory, containerized ship cargo and a welder are followed by footage of Romney appearing before a large crowd. The imagery appears to underscore his campaign's focus on fixing the economy and helping free families from what Romney says are the burdens of big government.

SCRIPT: With upbeat music in the background of this ad, a male narrator asks: "What would a Romney presidency look like?" The narrator says that Romney on "day one" would announce "deficit reductions, ending the Obama era of big government, helping secure our kids' futures." The narrator says Romney would stand up to China on trade and demand "they play by the rules." The narrator says Romney would begin "repealing job-killing regulations that are costing the economy billions" of dollars. "That's what a Romney presidency would be like," the narrator concludes.

ANALYSIS: This is Romney's second ad of the general election and it strikes a positive tone. It's the second of two ads highlighting Romney's claims about what he would do on his first day in office if he is elected president. The ad stresses core themes of Romney's campaign: fixing the economy, reducing the federal deficit and scaling back the size of the federal government.

The ads come as President Barack Obama's re-election campaign attacks Romney's background as a head of a private equity firm. Many voters still don't know much about Romney and his campaign ads are aimed at painting a positive picture of the former Massachusetts governor to blunt the Obama attacks.

But Romney's ad tends to exaggerate how much power he would have as president, particularly on his first day in office. Congress controls federal spending, and any president must deal with lawmakers on cutting the federal deficit. Much of what can be done about deficits is beyond his control. A lot will depend on which party controls the House and Senate after the November elections.

Romney's vow to play tough with China on trade may be difficult to square with what he said about protectionism in his 2010 book, "No Apology." In that book, Romney criticized Obama for enforcing trade laws against China on tires.

"President Obama's action to defend American tire companies from foreign competition may make good politics by repaying unions for their support of his campaign, but it is decidedly bad for the nation and our workers," Romney wrote. "Protectionism stifles productivity."

Romney's vow to repeal "job-killing regulations" that are costing the economy billions of dollars may not be as easy as he makes it sound. He and many fellow Republicans complain that government regulations are a leading drag on jobs, but Labor Department data show that few companies where large layoffs occur say government regulation was the reason.

There's little evidence that the regulatory burden is any worse now than in the past or that it is costing significant numbers of jobs. Most economists believe there is a simpler explanation: Companies aren't hiring because there isn't enough consumer demand. Economists believe high levels of economic uncertainty are a leading complication for business, arising more from struggles over taxes and spending in Washington than from regulations.