WESTERVILLE, Ohio — Mitt Romney stepped up his efforts to repair the damage from his “47 percent" comments, releasing a new television ad on Wednesday in which he speaks directly to the camera about his compassion and tries to reassure voters that he cares about the poor and middle class.
The 60-second ad, “Too Many Americans," was Romney’s most aggressive effort so far to clean up the fallout from his secretly videotaped remarks at a fundraiser in May, where he described voters who do not pay income tax as “victims" who are dependent on the government and feel “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."
But the ad came nine days after the video first surfaced, a period in which Democrats have bashed Romney over the remarks, leaving him on the defensive in swing states like Ohio. The ad reflected a belief among his aides that in addition to trying to move past his “47 percent" comments, Romney can appeal to voters in an intimate, personal way, bonding over their economic worries.
The spot, in which Romney seems to address the viewer, is an attempt, aides said, to reveal the compassion behind the policy. “The goal is to connect with voters over their anxieties over the state of the economy, and reflect the fact that Governor Romney has a plan to fix it," said Kevin Madden, a senior campaign adviser.
The ad comes on the heels of a concerted effort by the Romney campaign to offer up more of Romney’s personal story, after Republican complaints that he has not done enough to sell himself or humanize himself to many voters.
“President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families," Romney says in the ad. “The difference is my policies will make things better for them."
The Obama campaign continued to demand specifics in an effort to link Romney’s “47 percent" remarks to the policies he would pursue as president. “Mitt Romney’s new ad is just more of the evasiveness that his campaign has become known for," said Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman.
— Ashley Parker, New York Times News Service