By Jonathan Easley - 09/26/12 11:41 AM EDT
Mitt Romney’s campaign released an ad on Wednesday featuring the GOP nominee making a direct appeal to voters struggling in the economy and pledging that his policies will “make things better for them.”
The new ad, titled “Too Many Americans,” seems to be in response to a surreptitiously filmed video that surfaced last week of Romney telling donors at a private event that “47 percent” of voters are “dependent on government.”
“President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families; the difference is my policies will make things better for them,” Romney continues.
Romney has been dogged by a historically low favorability rating throughout the election cycle, and the new ad looks to personalize the GOP candidate. In the video, he speaks directly into the camera for a full minute, wearing a casual button-down shirt.
The ad also seeks to redefine the debate over welfare reform, with the GOP candidate arguing that while it’s important to have a social safety net, it’s more compassionate to help families move off welfare.
“We shouldn’t measure compassion by how many people are on welfare,” Romney says. “We should measure compassion by how many people we can get off welfare and can get a good-paying job.”
The Romney campaign has hammered Obama on welfare, accusing the president of having “quietly gutted” the Clinton-era reforms by moving to eliminate the work requirement. Democrats and many independent fact-checkers have raised doubts about the attack’s claim, with an Obama ad calling the welfare-reform claims “blatantly false.”
In his new ad, Romney concludes by touting his economic policies.
“My plan will create 12 million new jobs over the next four years, helping to lift families out of poverty and strengthening the middle class,” he says. “I’m Mitt Romney and I approve this message because we can’t afford another four years like the last four years.”
Democrats have seized on Romney’s “47 percent” remark, arguing that his policies had “callously written off” working-class Americans, and running swing-state ads spotlighting those comments.
Romney initially stood by the remarks, but has since said called them “inelegant,” and said he will be the president of the “100 percent.”
A Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times poll released Tuesday, though, suggests that the remarks might have added to a perception that Romney’s policies would favor the wealthy over middle-class voters, a message the Obama campaign has pushed hard.
Asked whom Romney’s policies would favor, 58 percent of likely voters in Ohio, 56 percent in Florida and 59 percent in Pennsylvania said the GOP contender’s proposals would favor the wealthy.
The Obama campaign dismissed Romney’s ad, saying it highlighted the “evasiveness that his campaign has become known for.”
“He pays lip service to working Americans, but doesn’t name a single policy to strengthen the middle class,” said Danny Kanner, Obama spokesman in a statement. “With 41 days left, Mitt Romney has limited time to level with the American people about what he’d do if elected. As each day passes, he continues to fail to do that.”