Obama pivots from Romney-Bain attacks with new television ads

President Obama's reelection team released two new commercials Wednesday that pivot from attacks on Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital. 

The ads, which will run in across seven swing states as part of the president's $25 million ad buy, focus on veterans' benefits and Medicare, and strike a different tenor from the spots earlier this month that were highly critical of Romney's time at the venture capital firm. 

The Bain attacks had drawn harsh criticism from Republicans, who said they reflected an anti-business spirit from Obama, but also from some Democrats, who described the ads as unfair. 

While the Obama campaign insists it is not backing down from criticism of Romney's time at Bain — the president said Monday that his opponent's record was "what this campaign is going to be about," while White House press secretary Jay Carney insisted Tuesday "Americans would expect that credential deserves some scrutiny" — the ads are a change of pace, and could represent a reaction to criticism of his attacks. 


In the first of the new spots, which plays off the coming Memorial Day holiday, the president champions his record on expanding veterans' benefits. As the president speaks, on-screen text lists accomplishments like a program that offers tax credits to hire veterans and an expansion of healthcare and education benefits. 

“The sacrifices that our troops have made have been incredible. It’s because of what they’ve done that we’ve been able to go after al Qaeda and kill Bin Laden,” Obama says. “When they come home we have a sacred trust to make sure that we are doing everything we can to heal all of their wounds.”

The second ad is tailored towards senior citizens, and says the president has made progress fighting Medicare "scam artists" and promises "a commitment toward Medicare as personal as yours."

“To you and your loved ones, Medicare is personal. And to a president raised by his grandparents, it’s personal too,” a female narrator says as the camera pans over a picture of Obama with his grandparents. “President Obama is leading the most successful crackdown on healthcare fraud ever.” 

The Romney campaign issued a statement Wednesday accusing the Obama team of trying to "distract" with the new commercials.

"President Obama and his campaign can’t distract voters from three years of broken promises on Medicare and our commitments to our veterans. In a week when his own supporters called his campaign attacks on free enterprise ‘nauseating’ and ‘very disappointing,’ President Obama is now trying to rewrite his record in an attempt to change the narrative on his campaign’s terrible week," said Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.

On Thursday, the president will campaign at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.