President Obama's campaign says it is spending $25 million in Pennsylvania and eight other battleground states to air a television ad that touts his accomplishments and reminds voters of the economic mess his administration inherited.
"We're not letting our foot off the pedal," campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters Monday in a conference call. "We have a very simple choice between going forward and going back."
Messina and senior campaign adviser David Axelrod said the new 60-second spot, titled "Go," is part of a broader effort to frame the election as a choice between continuing hard-won progress to climb out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression and what they portrayed as a return to policies that caused the problems in the first place.
The Obama ad emphasizes the bailout of the domestic auto industry, the end of the Iraq war and the killing of Osama bin Laden. It mentions a modest increase in jobs, and a narrator intones, "We're not there yet; it's still too hard for too many. But we're coming back."
Whether voters agree with that assessment remains to be seen. A new Gallup poll found the race tightening in a dozen swing states, with Obama at 47 percent to Republican Mitt Romney's 45.
The new Obama ad is also airing in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, and Virginia.
Though his latest TV spot has a positive message, the president briefly ran an attack ad in Ohio, Virginia, and Iowa that intimated Romney had grown rich by closing companies as head of a private-equity firm.
Axelrod said Romney, the all-but-certain GOP nominee, is trying to blame the administration for every ongoing economic problem without offering a plausible alternative plan. "We're fighting through," Axelrod said of the economy. "There are still significant headwinds."
Amanda Henneberg, spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, said Obama is shirking responsibility for the failure of his policies to turn around the economy.
"After a doubling of gas prices, declining incomes, millions of foreclosures, and record levels of unemployment, Americans know they're not better off than they were four years ago," Henneberg said. "Mitt Romney's pro-growth agenda will get America back on track and stop the middle-class squeeze of the Obama economy."
By the Obama campaign's count, Romney has already spent $55 million on ads this year, with 90 percent of them attacks leveled against his GOP primary opponents.
Axelrod said the Obama campaign was prepared to go negative to counter any attacks from Romney, adding that it would "vigorously" answer ads by super PACS supporting the Republican as if they came from the candidate himself.
He referred to GOP strategist Karl Rove and the Koch brothers, billionaire conservative donors, as "contract killers over there in super PAC land who are going to continue to pound away on behalf of Gov. Romney."