Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney unveiled his first television ad of the election cyle this week in New Hampshire, kicking off a major media push in the state.
The 60-second spot ignores Romney's Republican primary opponents and strikes directly against President Obama, who is scheduled to visit Manchester Tuesday.
Democrats on Tuesday took issue with the part of the ad that quotes Obama saying, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose," pointing out that Romney took the quote out of context. Obama used the line in 2008, but he was talking about his opponent, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, not his own campaign. What Obama did say at the time, was this: "Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, 'If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.'" In response, the Democratic National Committee slammed Romney, calling him "a serial deceiver."
Apart from the video, Romney also penned a two-page open letter to the president, which three of the state's largest newspapers will publish this week.
"I will be blunt. Your policies have failed," Romney writes. "It is bad enough that they have fallen short even by the standards your own administration set for itself. But things are much worse than that. Far from bringing the crisis to an end, your policies have actively hindered economic recovery. In some cases, they were the exact opposite of what our government should have been doing."
"It is not America's laziness that is the problem, as you recently suggested," Romney goes on to say. "It is your policies."
As the former governor of a neighboring state and a Granite State property owner, Romney--should he become the GOP nominee--would presumably enjoy something of a home-field advantage against Obama in New Hampshire, who won the state against Republican presidential candidate John McCain by nearly 10 percentage points in 2008.
You can read the full letter after the jump.
Dear President Obama,
Welcome to New Hampshire.
I hope you enjoy your visit. In 49 days, voters here will be going to the polls to choose a Republican nominee to run against you. I would like to lay out for you some of what I will be saying on the campaign trail if I am fortunate enough to become my party's candidate.
I would begin by acknowledging that you were dealt a hard hand. You came into office in the midst of an economic crisis that was not of your making. You were asked to face great challenges and to solve difficult problems. The tasks before you would have taxed the abilities of any new president.
But we now have had three years to watch your policies unfold and to assess their results. The evidence is in and it is unequivocal. I will be blunt. Your policies have failed. It is bad enough that they have fallen short even by the standards your own administration set for itself. But things are much worse than that. Far from bringing the crisis to an end, your policies have actively hindered economic recovery. In some cases, they were the exact opposite of what our government should have been doing.
You and your advisors sold your economic "stimulus" package to Congress on the basis of a forecast that it would hold unemployment below 8 percent. There is a reason why this projection was wildly off base and that unemployment soared above 10 percent and is now stuck around 9 percent. Your stimulus bill was filled with special interest giveaways, and eased the way for your administration to shovel loan guarantees out the door to politically connected "green" technology firms, some of which are now in bankruptcy, with the taxpayers on the hook for more than $500 million.
Even where crony capitalism did not get in the way, so many projects were far from "shovel ready" or had absolutely nothing to do with creating jobs. Nearly a trillion dollars of tax dollars was spent, our budget deficit exploded, and some 25 million Americans remain either unemployed, underemployed, or have given up seeking work altogether. You placed a burden of debt on America that will take generations to repay and we got almost nothing in return.
You also failed to grasp the impact of your policies on the American business climate. Investment depends upon a degree of certainty, but your administration made it impossible for enterprises to make accurate forecasts about their future costs. If companies have stopped hiring in America, it is in no small part because of policies, including Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and an astonishing tangle of new federal regulations that have snuffed out investment. If we are ever to get America back to work, they all must be repealed.
I will also be talking about how you have catered to favored special interests, like civil-service unions and environmentalists, at the expense of American workers. Take your decision to "delay" building the state-of-the-art Keystone XL oil pipeline. Some 20,000 American jobs are at stake. You may not regard that as a large number, but every one of the unemployed men and women whose future you have sacrificed to satisfy your political base in the environmentalist left deserve far better. And this is but one of many examples I can cite.
America deserves better.
It is not America's laziness that is the problem, as you recently suggested. It is your policies.
So once again, Mr. President, welcome to New Hampshire. We need a great debate about how best to get our country working again. We can't afford four more years of failure. I believe in unleashing America's potential. That is what my own campaign for the presidency is all about.
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