Heavy focus on news shows in White House race ads

Associated Press Modified: June 17, 2012 at 7:30 am •  Published: June 17, 2012
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In Richmond, campaign ads were tucked between commercials for Verizon and Dove soap, as well as spots for local restaurants and businesses like carpet cleaners.

Romney's campaign had the largest ad presence, with media trackers estimating that an average television viewer would have seen a Romney ad 10 times over the course of the week, an Obama ad eight times, a Crossroads ad four times and a Priorities USA ad three times.

Romney's ad, "Strong Leadership," popped up during morning shows and around evening newscasts. It featured upbeat music and imagines of Romney and his wife Ann on the campaign trail and a narrator promising unity and results if Romney defeats Obama in November.

From day one, Mitt Romney's strong leadership will make all the difference on jobs," the ad says.

Crossroads ran ads attacking Obama. "Stopwatch" warned of the growth in federal debt since Obama took office, asserting: "He's adding $4 billion in debt every day."

The Obama campaign responded in kind with a spot that criticized Romney's one-year term as Massachusetts governor, showing a clip of Romney from 2002 saying: "I speak the language of business. ... I know how jobs are created." The ad then ticked through economic statistics and said: "Romney economics: It didn't work then, and it won't work now."

Priorities USA Action focused on Romney's years at the private equity firm Bain Capital. The group's ad, "Loris," featured a woman describing her experience being laid off by the Ampad company in Indiana. "When Mitt Romney did that, he made me sick," she said.

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Tampa is the second largest metropolitan region in Florida and anchors the western end of the I-4 corridor that bisects the central part of the state. The corridor is home to many swing voters and Tampa will host the Republican National Convention in late August.

In Florida during this recent week, the Obama campaign spent just under $1 million to run ads compared with $638,000 for Crossroads GPS. That gave the Romney campaign the luxury of staying off the air and saving money.

Indeed, a day of television viewing in Tampa found a nearly constant stream of negative ads volleyed between the Obama campaign and Crossroads. As in Virginia, both sides focused on running ads around morning and evening newscasts in Tampa.

The Obama campaign has run several commercials in Florida including ads showcasing his support for Medicare and federal assistance for veterans. But the anti-Romney ad "Heard it All Before," which Obama also was running in Virginia, held sway in Tampa that week.

Priorities USA Action was up with its "Loris" ad but the spot ran less frequently than the Obama campaign's own ads.

Crossroads dug in with two ads, including one targeting women who may have voted for Obama in 2008 but are looking elsewhere this time. The ad depicts a mother of two adult children who still live with her because they can't find work.

"I supported President Obama's agenda. But he spent like our country's credit card had no limit. How will my kids pay that off when they can't get jobs?" the woman says.

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Follow Beth Fouhy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bfouhy