Mitt Romney has a dubious honor as the target of what's being called the first TV ad of the 2012 presidential campaign.
The ad is by Priorities USA, a Democratic group that is viewed as an independent fundraising organization even though it was formed by a couple of former Obama White House aides, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney.
The ad is a twofer in how it hits Romney. It thwacks him for not only supporting the controversial House GOP plan to essentially privatize Medicare but also seeks to reinforce doubts among Republican voters about Romney's steadfastness on issues. It short, it raises the flip flopper issue.
Actually, the ad also seems meant to damage Newt Gingrich and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, too. It has her defending the House GOP Medicare plan which is unpopular with many seniors, a fair number of whom live in her state.
The ad, unveiled to coincide with Romney's trip to South Carolina over the weekend, opens with a photo of Gingrich and mentions his now famous criticism of the plan by Wisconsin Republican, Rep. Paul Ryan.
It then shows a photo of Haley who criticized Gingrich for knocking Ryan's plan.
Then it moves on to Romney. "Mitt Romney says he's on the same page as Paul Ryan who wrote the plan to essentially end Medicare. But with Mitt Romney you have to wonder, which page is he on today?" the narrator asks.
Romney's campaign hit back in a fundraising email, rebuking Obama's supporters for going negative and for allegedly trying to distract voters from the high unemployment numbers and generally unimpressive economic recovery.
An excerpt from the fundraising email that was reproduced by Ben Smith at Politico:
Just this morning, the New York Times posted a story, "Group Unleashes Early Ad Against Romney," about President Obama's reelection campaign machine starting attack ads in South Carolina against Governor Romney. All the while, South Carolina is hurting. Like many states suffering from the failed policies of the Obama administration, the Palmetto State has seen 3,800 more jobs in April disappear than in the previous month; and they are currently experiencing 9.8% unemployment.
After campaigning so famously on "hope" and "change," the President and his team have now resorted to governing on fear and misdirection. Already, former Obama aides and union leaders have been commissioned to lead outside political attack groups — which aren't limited in the amount of high-dollar donations they can receive — and President Obama himself plans to raise an additional $1 billion.