LAS VEGAS -- A handful of new advertisements airing this week on KLAS-TV Channel 8 advance the debate between President Barack Obama and Republican foe Mitt Romney on economic issues.
One of the president's campaign ads opens with images of a young Obama with his mother and then an adult Obama with his two daughters. What follows is a montage of women in the workplace, along with the president's signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
Narrator: "The son of a single mom. Proud father of two daughters. President Obama knows that women being paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men isn't just unfair, it hurts families. So the first law he signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help ensure that women are paid the same as men for doing the exact same work. Because President Obama knows fairness for women means a stronger middle class for America."
The takeaway is Democrat Obama's attempt to reach out to female voters by highlighting the Ledbetter legislation, named for a former Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. supervisor who sued the company for paying her less than male workers. She lost her case when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that her lawsuit claiming discrimination wasn't filed in a timely manner. The law signed by Obama loosened the requirements for filing pay discrimination litigation.
The airing of the ad comes at a time when the two major parties are bitterly divided over proposed legislation that Democrats say would strengthen current equal pay laws by requiring employers to prove that any salary differences in the workplace aren't based on gender. Senate Republicans earlier this month successfully killed the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act, with some arguing that it would be burdensome on small employers.
Another Obama ad begins with Romney, as candidate for governor of Massachusetts, addressing taxes. That is followed by an increasingly rapid sequence of photos of what the Obama campaign considers to be recipients of tax and fee hikes under Romney's administration.
Romney: "I'm going to reduce taxes, I'm going to roll back taxes." Narrator: "As governor, Mitt Romney did cut taxes, on millionaires like himself. But he raised taxes and fees on everyone else 1.5 billion, over a thousand fee hikes on health care, on school bus rides, on milk, on driver's licenses, on nursing homes, on lead poisoning prevention, on meat and poultry inspection, on fishermen, gun owners, on nurses, on electricians, on hospitals, on funeral homes, on health services...Romney economics didn't work then and won't work now."
The takeaway is Obama's continued attempt to paint Romney as a man whose economic policies favor wealthy Americans over everyone else. Romney has argued that he cut the state income tax rate in Massachusetts from 5.3 percent to 5 percent, engineered a $250 million tax rebate, made the state's investment tax credit permanent, provided property tax relief to senior citizens and turned a weekend into a sales tax holiday.
A third Obama ad opens with Obama being interviewed and progresses into a sequence of photos showing him greeting constituents. There is also a brief shot of Romney.
Obama: "I talk to folks on rope lines, in coffee shops, people who have been out of work. You can tell it wears on them." Narrator: "He's fought to pull us out of economic crisis for three years and he still is. President Obama's plan keeps taxes down for the middle class, invests in education and asks the wealthy to pay their fair share. Mitt Romney and his billionaire allies can spend millions to distort the president's words but they're not interested in rebuilding the middle class. He is."
The takeaway is Obama's attempt to show he cares about the middle class and its struggles. Romney says his own economic plan would reduce taxes, spending, regulations and government programs while increasing trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility.
Romney is countering with an ad that begins with him greeting supporters and progresses to shots of pipeline construction workers and an array of entrepreneurs. The ad ends with video of Romney addressing a rally.
Narrator: "What would a Romney presidency be like? Day one, President Romney immediately approves the Keystone Pipeline, creating thousands of jobs that Obama blocked. President Romney introduces tax cuts and reforms that reward job creators, not punish them. President Romney issues order to begin replacing Obamacare with common sense health care reform. That's what a Romney presidency will be like."
The takeaway is Romney's attempt to show that he can create jobs immediately, beginning with construction in the United States of a proposed shortcut to an existing pipeline that brings oil into this country from Canada. Although Obama supports extension of the existing pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas, his administration has opposed the shortcut, much to the glee of environmentalists. But Republicans have said the shortcut would help lower gas prices.
Romney's continued calls for tax cuts to help spark economic growth are constantly met with counter-arguments from Obama and fellow Democrats that American corporations have enjoyed enormous profits of late and that wealthy citizens can afford to help create jobs without further tax cuts.
Republicans vow to repeal the health care reforms pushed by Obama, claiming they represent unconstitutional mandates. Obama backers, in turn, have argued that those reforms are modeled after the ones advocated by Romney and instituted in Massachusetts when he was governor. Many political pundits and national news outlets expect the U.S. Supreme Court to address this issue Thursday.
Another ad that is airing comes from Restore Our Future, a super political action committee that can raise unlimited funds to support Romney but is prohibited from coordinating its fundraising and advertising with the Republican's campaign.
The ad shows negative headlines on the economy, an empty warehouse, an unemployment line and a portion of an Obama White House press conference.
Narrator: "America's jobless rate just went up again. But after a record 40 straight months of unemployment over 8 percent, President Obama insists..." Obama: "The private sector is doing fine." Narrator: "Twenty-three million Americans can't find full-time jobs. Thirty percent have been out of work for over a year. And under Obama nearly 800,000 more women are unemployed." Obama: "The private sector is doing fine, private sector is doing fine."
The takeaway is Restore Our Future's attempt to convince viewers that Obama has a poor economic record, one that isn't showing any progress.
Obama and his backers say the economy is showing signs of a rebound. His oft-used press conference quote from earlier this month came in the context of his claim that the private sector created 4.3 million jobs over the past 27 months. Still, Obama has conceded that the economy is not where it needs to be, prompting his call for Congress to increase spending on highway, bridge and other infrastructure projects he says will create jobs.