By Justin Sink - 10/02/12 07:00 AM EDT
Mitt Romney's campaign released a new television ad Tuesday charging President Obama with raising taxes on the middle class as part of the president's signature healthcare legislation.
"Who will raise taxes on the middle class?" a narrator asks, as a picture of President Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pans across the screen. "Barack ObamaBarack ObamaWebb: After the debate Why not Gary Johnson? Donald Trump, the Russian candidate MORE and the liberals already have. To pay for government-run healthcare, you’ll pay higher taxes and more for your medicine."
Romney is shown campaigning with top Republicans, including Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanRyan optimistic about GOP majorities in House and Senate Dems kill more ads in Ohio Senate rivals gear up for debates MORE (R-Ohio), Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteRyan optimistic about GOP majorities in House and Senate Dems gain upper hand on budget GOP senators hit FBI on early probe of NY bombing suspect MORE (R-N.H.) and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. Interestingly, Romney runningmate Paul RyanPaul RyanRyan voices confidence on Flint deal Ryan optimistic about GOP majorities in House and Senate Why Obama needs PhRMA MORE is not among those featured in the ad.
The narrator goes on to pledge that Republicans would "close loopholes for millionaires."
"Obama and his liberal allies? We can't afford four more years," the voiceover says.
The Romney campaign did not disclose where the ad would run, although considering Portman and Ayotte's appearance, it will likely air in their two home states, both considered swing states in November.
While Romney's ad clearly casts the individual mandate — the controversial requirement for Americans to purchase healthcare that was upheld by the Supreme Court — as a tax, Romney has not been entirely consistent on the issue.
Just last week in Ohio, Romney told a crowd, "I admit this, he has one thing he did not do in his first four years, said he’s going to do in his next four years, which is to raise taxes.”
And this summer, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told MSBC that Romney "disagrees with the Court’s ruling that it is a tax.”
The campaign later clarified both remarks to indicate that Romney did in fact believe the insurance mandate amounted to a tax, and advisers have said they believe attacking the president on the issue can help draw a contrast for impressionable swing voters.
But the Obama campaign seized on those discrepancies is a statement rebutting the Romney ad issued Tuesday.
"Mitt Romney’s claim that the President raised taxes on the middle class is false – just ask Mitt Romney," said Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith. "Last week, Romney said at a rally that the President has not raised taxes and he’s right. In fact, the President has cut taxes by $3,600 for the typical family, while cutting taxes for small businesses 18 times. But Romney’s proposing a $ 5 trillion tax cut skewed toward millionaires and billionaires that would require him to raise taxes on middle class families by cutting deductions they rely on, like the mortgage interest deduction. That’s why he’s not telling the truth – his plan would slow our recovery and punish the middle class.”
This post was updated at 10:50 a.m.