The Romney campaign has just released a new television advertisement, “No Evidence,” in which it flatly accuses President Barack Obama of having “lied” in his campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney for “outsourcing” jobs to foreign countries. The television ad points out the fact that Obama’s claim has been debunked by the Washington Post and Factcheck.org–and reminds voters that “Candidate Obama lied about Hillary Clinton” in 2008. The message is: if you can’t trust President Obama to tell the truth, how can you trust him to lead?
The Romney campaign is taking some significant risks with this commercial. One is that it repeats the false charge Obama has made against Romney, reminding viewers that Obama claimed Romney “shipped jobs overseas.” Another risk is that it is deliberately sharp in its language about Obama, telling viewers that he “lied” and is running a “dishonest campaign.” The Romney campaign is showing an increased willingness to encounter these risks, however, in order to take the fight to Obama–and to show its own supporters that it is not afraid to do so, much as Romney showed yesterday in his address to a somewhat hostile NAACP crowd.
The payoff for Romney is earned media, since the ad will be debated by journalists today and for the rest of the week, as well as renewed confidence from conservatives that he intends to take the risks necessary to win.