Updated: 10:51 a.m. ET
With a presidential foreign policy debate on the horizon, the Obama campaign on Monday released a new ad targeting Mitt Romney's credentials, questioning the candidate's preparedness to lead the nation abroad just hours before he is slated to deliver a major foreign policy address.
The 30-second ad, entitled "Policy," targets Romney's "gaffe-filled tour" of the United Kingdom, Israel, and Poland last summer, and blasts his more recent response to violence in Libya last month as "knee-jerk" and lacking in presidential character. According to the campaign, the ad will air in Virginia.
"When our U.S. diplomats were attacked in Libya, The New York Times said Romney's knee-jerk response showed an 'extraordinary lack of presidential character,' and even Republican experts said Romney's remarks were 'the worst possible reaction' to what happened," a narrator in the ad says. "If this is how he handles the world now, just think of what Mitt Romney might do as president."
The campaign hammered that message home in a memo released alongside the new TV ad, contending that Romney, who will seek to elaborate on his vision for American foreign policy in a speech out of Virginia on Monday, "has already failed the commander-in-chief test."
"Since the beginning of this campaign, we have repeatedly pressed Mitt Romney to outline specific ideas about the biggest foreign policy challenges our nation is facing today. We've asked him to move beyond swagger and slogans to an actual strategy," the memo, written by Obama campaign advisers Michele Flournoy and Colin Kahl, reads. "So far, he has failed to answer any of these questions. Today, when Mitt Romney gives his seventh speech on foreign policy issues, he has a chance to finally tell the American people what he would do as commander-in-chief, and to outline an alternative vision that voters can consider when making their choice this November. We'll see if he's up to the challenge."
Even as the Obama campaign attempts to assault Romney's foreign policy credibility ahead of the second presidential debate - which focuses on the subject - the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action released a separate ad Monday targeting the Republican for his education plan.
"Take away his toys and he'll play with a stick," a narrator in the ad says, as a forlorn-looking child plays stickball in the street. "Take away their bikes and they'll still find a way to get where they're going. But if you take away early childhood education, slash K-12 funding and cut college aid for middle class families they won't go far. Yet that's exactly what Mitt Romney wants to do to pay for a two hundred and fifty thousand dollar tax break for multi millionaires."
"Mitt Romney believes that tax breaks for the wealthy are a bigger priority than investing in our children's future," said Bill Burton, senior strategist for Priorities USA Action, in a statement released with the ad. "But Americans reject Mitt Romney's vision that says the middle class should bear more of the tax burden so multimillionaires can enjoy another tax cut."
The Romney campaign responded to the "Policy" ad by blasting President Obama's foreign policy.
"In every region of the world--and particularly in the Middle East--American influence has been weakened by President Obama's failed foreign policy," said Romney spokesperson Amanda Henneberg. "American security and the cause of freedom cannot afford four more years like the last four years, and Mitt Romney will restore the bi-partisan tradition of American leadership abroad that President Obama has not lived up to."